Contrary to the popularly held opinion of media bashers everywhere, those of us in the Ink-Stained Wretch Brigade wave no flags for raining on parades. We get rained on enough ourselves, for one thing. And if we sometimes come off as overtly cynical, it's mostly an act.
The unvarnished truth?
We're suckers for happy endings. We even root for them when we think nobody's looking.
That's why it's with little surprise but no pleasure that I saw this come down today. Nike booting Lance Armstrong is one thing, but the real blow here is Armstrong stepping down from Livestrong, so that its focus can remain on all those cancer patients it's inspired over the years.
No happy ending there. And no sympathy, really, for Livestrong's founder, who has demonstrably brought all of this on himself by perpetuating the greatest fraud in sports history. And he did it in such a dark way -- if you've got the stomach for it, Gwen Knapp reveals all the ugly details here -- that it makes you wonder if Armstrong went into the wrong line of work.
He should have been a Mafia leg-breaker. No one seemed more fitted for the job.
As such, Armstrong becomes the classic example of a principle every grownup knows to be true: That pedestals are ill-fitted for human habitation. None of us are angels and very few of us are truly devils; our true natures almost always reside somewhere between.
And so with Armstrong. On the one hand, he and his foundation have done immense good works on behalf of cancer patients everywhere. On the other, he's apparently an exceptionally nasty human being who covered his own cheating by bullying teammates and associates into complicity and intimidating anyone who resisted.
Two sides, one coin. And one legacy, stained forever.