Is Lance Armstrong finally going to admit he doped?
He is expected to do just that at 9 p.m. ET on the Oprah Winfrey Network Thursday night) in an exclusive, 90-minute interview with Oprah. While most sports fans probably have no idea where OWN is on their dial, I imagine quite a few folks will tune in for this.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 8:20 a.m. ET by Timothy Rapp
Apparently, there was enough juicy content in Monday's taping of the interview that Oprah has decided to broadcast the material over two nights. That, or her network really needs the ratings.
Or both. From CBS This Morning:
Oprah announces she will air the Lance Armstrong interview in 2 nights, because it’s “impossible” to cut it down #OprahThisMorning— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 15, 2013
The broadcast will now take place on Thursday and Friday nights. Friday night's broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET.
---End of Update---
From the Associated Press (via USA Today):
He would not divulge what he will tell Winfrey in Monday's interview that is scheduled to air Thursday. He said from the side of the road: "I'm calm, I'm at ease and ready to speak candidly. I hope we'll talk for a couple of hours."
International TV crews are arriving in the hilly neighborhood in West Austin.
A person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that Armstrong plans to admit to doping throughout his career but probably will not get into great detail about specific cases and events.
It's hard to believe that Armstrong would choose to visit with Oprah and put on a 90-minute show just to continue his defiant denial of doping. If Armstrong was going to continue to assert his innocence, his best bet would be to stay out of the spotlight, not to court it.
So why now?
For one, many believe he would like to return to competing, something that won't happen until he admits his guilt and accepts his punishment. For another, the more than 1,000 pages of evidence compiled by USADA in October have left Armstrong with little ground to stand on in his own defense.
The USADA report was damning, no two ways about it.
And while Armstrong is likely doing just fine financially, his legacy has been tarnished. He had to disassociate himself with the charity he made famous, Livestrong, and the organization has taken a major hit since.
He lost multiple sponsorships, costing him millions of dollars. It didn't take long for the empire to fall at its feet, and one imagines he wants to give himself the chance to at least rebuild some of it. Sure, he may never be the king again, but he would at least like to be invited back into the kingdom.
It's still possible Armstrong will never be allowed to compete again. He is facing a lifetime ban, after all, though an admission of guilt may soften that.
The upshot of a confession, however guarded and controlled that confession will be, could simply be the chance to restore some honor and earning potential to his name. The public tends to forgive those who admit their mistakes and apologize; continuing to deny your transgressions in the face of overwhelming proof is a fast way to remain publicly blacklisted.
On Thursday night, Armstrong's interview with Oprah will air and America will have to decide if its opinion of Armstrong has changed. Armstrong would be wise to apologize and admit his guilt in no uncertain terms.
He's lied for long enough.