January 23, 2013

Lance Armstrong never had a chance.

Though Kathleen Parker [“An absence of false contrition,” op-ed, Jan. 20] concedes that we as individuals grieve and experience guilt in our own ways, both she and Dave Kindred [“Fantasy league,” Outlook, Jan. 20] added to all the public criticism of Mr. Armstrong’s confessions to Oprah Winfrey. In the coming weeks, I will celebrate the fifth anniversary of my own remission from testicular cancer and am poignantly reminded of the hours I spent receiving chemotherapy with Mr. Armstrong’s autobiography in my lap. Reading that book, I related directly to the trials not of a world-renowned cyclist but of a young man facing a life-threatening illness. It gave me hope when I needed it and inspired me to compete in the New York City Marathon on behalf of the Livestrong Foundation — for which I very proudly raised more than $7,000 — exactly one year after my diagnosis.

Am I angry about the deceit? Of course. Do I believe that everything Mr. Armstrong said in his discussions with Ms. Winfrey was genuine? I’m not sure. Do I believe his character and legacy ought to be condemned? Perhaps.

But what truly bothers me is the manner in which his apology has been received. It takes a strong person to say “I’m sorry” and a stronger one to forgive. I recoil at the seeming inability of Mr. Armstrong’s critics to absolve him of his transgressions. Though I do so with apprehension, I have chosen to forgive Mr. Armstrong, and I hope that he, his family and his former and current supporters find peace and consolation through the reconciliation he deserves.

Kyle C. Burr, Arlington