So Rick Reilly wrote this utter piece of garbage yesterday. He somehow made the Lance Armstrong story the Lance Armstrong/Rick Reilly story. Classic Reilly, making a major sports scandal more about him than the actual story. Hypocrisy at its finest. So I watchdogged him. Because shit like this can’t stand to go unnoticed.
Italics his, bold mine.
Among my emails Wednesday morning, out of the blue, was one from Lance Armstrong.
Riles, I’m sorry.
All I can say for now but also the most heartfelt thing too. Two very important words.
Please Note everybody, Rick Reilly and Lance Armstrong have NICKNAMES for each other. This is important. Why? Because even when Rick Reilly is about to “blast” someone, he still can’t help but drop a subtle hint that he has ACCESS and is COOLER than you. He is literally name dropping the guy he is about to reprimand. Riles, so hot, Riles.
And my first thought was … “Two words? That’s it?” Two words? For 14 years of defending a man? And in the end, being made to look like a chump? Wrote it, said it, tweeted it: “He’s clean.” Put it in columns, said it on radio, said it on TV. Staked my reputation on it.
“Never failed a drug test,” I’d always point out. “Most tested athlete in the world. Tested maybe 500 times. Never flunked one.”
Why? Because Armstrong always told me he was clean.
Annnd we’re off. Hey Reilly if I told you I was the King of Zanzibar would you believe me? What if I told you the Earth is flat, Would you believe that too? Do you believe everything everyone tells you even when there is INSURMOUNTABLE evidence to the contrary? Lance Armstrong told me he was clean. That’s what he told me, and then I found out he lied, boo hoo. Grow up Peter Pan.
On the record. Off the record. Every kind of record. In Colorado. In Texas. In France. On team buses. In cars. On cell phones.
I’d sit there with him, in some Tour de France hotel room while he was getting his daily postrace massage. And we’d talk through the hole in the table about how he stared down this guy or that guy, how he’d fooled Jan Ullrich on the torturous Alpe d’Huez into thinking he was gassed and then suddenly sprinted away to win. How he ordered chase packs from the center of the peloton and reeled in all the pretenders.
Hmmmm, Riles (do you mind if I call you Riles?), you don’t see anything wrong with this? That you 1) have a nickname with Lance Armstrong and 2) have such incredible access to him that you’re sitting in his hotel room shooting the shit while he gets a massage? Do you think that may have had something to do with you believing his bullshit? That in your own simple narcissistic mind you and Lance Armstrong were actually friends? That you scratched into your little notebook “L + Riles = BFF’S” with a little heart around it? Nah, that couldn’t have been the case, Lance is just a liar.
And every time — every single time — he’d push himself up on his elbows and his face would be red and he’d stare at me like I’d just shot his dog and give me some very well-delivered explanation involving a few dozen F words, a painting of the accuser as a wronged employee seeking revenge, and how lawsuits were forthcoming.
And when my own reporting would produce no proof, I’d be convinced. I’d go out there and continue polishing a legend that turned out to be plated in fool’s gold.
Even after he retired, the hits just kept coming. A London Times report. A Daniel Coyne book. A U.S. federal investigation. All liars and thieves, he’d snarl.
So let me see if I understand this. The Feds were investigating him. The London Times was investigating him. Someone wrote a book about this. And you still think him denying the rumors was the truth? Holy shit man. EVERYONE thought he did Steroids. Literally EVERYONE. This isn’t breaking news. People have spent the past decade of their lives investigating him, do you think they would do that without at least some inkling of guilt. Oh no I forgot. Rick Reilly went on Google and did a quick Lexis Nexis search so he investigated it as well.
I get it. He’s ruined. He’s lost every single sponsor. Nearly every close teammate has turned on him. All seven Tour de France titles have been stripped. He could owe millions. He might be in a hot kettle with the feds. Even the future he planned for himself — triathlons and mountain biking — have been snatched away. He’s banned from those for life.
Riles “GETS” it you guys.
So I get it. The road to redemption goes through Oprah, where he’ll finally say those two very important words, “I’m sorry,” and hope the USADA will cut the ban from lifetime to the minimum eight years.
But here’s the thing. When he says he’s sorry now, how do we know he’s not still lying? How do we know it’s not just another great performance by the all-time leader in them?
And I guess I should let it go, but I keep thinking how hard he used me. Made me look like a sap. Made me carry his dirty water and I didn’t even know it.
Hold the fuck on! MADE YOU. Lance Armstrong MADE YOU carry his dirty water? Is this real? Is this actually something Rick Reilly thinks? Is he honestly this delusional? Rick, you’re a grown man. No one MADE you do anything. It’s not like Lance Armstrong was your mother telling you to go clean your room/write a story sucking his cock. You loved that Lance Armstrong called you “Riles”. You loved that he let you sit in his hotel room during the Tour De France and shoot the shit. You Loved that he would talk to you on the phone for hours on end. Don’t then tell ME that you were MADE to carry Lance Armstrong’s dirty water.
It’s partially my fault. I let myself admire him. Let myself admire what he’d done with his life, admire the way he’d not only beaten his own cancer but was trying to help others beat it. When my sister was diagnosed, she read his book and got inspired. And I felt some pride in that. I let it get personal. And now I know he was living a lie and I was helping him live it.
Wait, did Riles just admit it was his fault? Nope, nevermind, it was just Partially his fault.
Oh and way to drop your sister’s cancer in there to further your story, scumbag.
I didn’t realize that behind those blues was a bully, a coercer, a man who threatened people who once worked for and with him.
“Those Blues”. You just can’t quit him can you Riles?
The Andreus. Emma O’Reilly. Tyler Hamilton. Armstrong was strong-arming people in the morning, and filing lawsuits and op-ed pieces in the afternoon. We’d talk and his voice would get furious. And I’d believe him.
And all along, the whole time, he was acting, just like he had with Ullrich that day. So now the chase pack has reeled in Lance Armstrong, and he is busted and he’s apologizing to those he conned.
I guess I should forgive him. I guess I should give him credit for putting himself through worldwide shame. I guess I should thank him for finally admitting his whole magnificent castle was built on sand and syringes and suckers like me. But I’m not quite ready. Give me 14 years, maybe.
And this is it right here. This is where Reilly truly shines. The fact that he thinks anyone gives a flying fuck about his Feelings. The fact that he thinks anyone cares about his apology to Lance Armstrong or Vica Versa. This is the problem with the media today and people like Rick Reilly. They blast the guys that don’t talk to them and write masturbatory puff pieces about the athletes that give them Access, their “Friends”. Fuck you Reilly. You’re an absolute joke. You can’t pretend to be a journalist one second, trying to break news and investigate, then be best friends with the biggest athlete on the earth the next. Go back to writing dad jokes and being the laughing stock of American Sports because this article was complete and utter bullshit. To imply that anyone gives a flying fuck about your hurt feelings is one of the most out of touch things I have ever read.
You’re sorry, Lance? No, I’m the one who’s sorry.
Oh fuck off.