Thoughts on Lance, and "Defending Lance"

update: As you may have noticed the shirt is no longer available on the site. I think the post below will explain why. I really don't feel strongly enough about the topic to involve my business in such a divisive topic.  The Pedal Pushers Club is a company that values having fun on a bike, anything beyond that is just noise.  That being said, I will be selling remaining stock here: 

So here at the Pedal Pushers Club we have a "defend Lance" shirt that seems to be garnering a little more attention than seems appropriate. While generally speaking I (as a person) am pretty ambivalent about the whole Lance Armstrong controversy, as a business I figure it is worth explaining our position in light of the many many ridiculous emails we have received on the topic, as well as the 2 or 3 actually well thought-out and articulate messages. 

To the heart of the matter: yeah, I think we can all agree at this point that Lance was probably dirty when he was riding, and I think most people knew that even before the Usada report last week.  This isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff. That being said, there is some context to the doping, it isn't just a matter of him cheating and everyone else playing by the rules. Does it excuse the cheating because everyone else was doing it? Probably not, but I also don't think his actual doping is reason enough to vilify him in light of the fact that it was the norm of the day. (His behavior trying to defend his legacy might be another story, but that is a topic for someone else.)

So if you think he was dirty, why "defend" him?  As with everything, there is more to the story than just did he or didn't he?  First of all, there should be no doubt that Lance Armstrong has done a tremendous amount of good for both the sport of cycling and millions of people who were inspired by his story and the efforts of Livestrong. As a direct result of his efforts, cycling is more popular in the United States.  More people are riding bikes and more people are following Pro Cycling.  While there may be plenty of valid criticism concerning the management of Livestrong, it is hard for me to believe that the motivation behind it is anything but the result of Armstrong's genuine personal desire to do something to help people fight cancer. 

To keep it short, the point is that Armstrong is an enormous figure in cycling, and he carries a lot of really lousy baggage with him, but that is not his entire legacy. I think the fact that we have sold so many of these shirts is a testament to the fact that there is more value to his story than just a professional athlete that took performance enhancing drugs to get an edge.

Oh yeah, and it is just a t-shirt.  

Below is my favorite email exchange on the topic:

Brett Novick <>

Defend Lance T Shirt
4 messages

Thepink sugarmouse <> Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 1:45 AM

If you're selling Defence Lance T Shirts then you're a TWUNT!!!!
I'll just have to make sure that no one buys from your site and tell everyone that you are quite happy to worship a Drugs Baron. What a waste of time you are and how much bad reputation you're gonna get from such a stupid publicity stunt.
If they say All publicity is good publicity then watch out because you're gonna get it!!!!

Brett Novick <> Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 1:42 PM
To: Thepink sugarmouse <>

Thanks for the email. We take random unsigned criticism from the internet very seriously.  I am sorry to hear about your impending boycott, but since you have never actually purchased anything from us, I can't say you will be particularly missed. I am glad to hear however that you are using your time constructively. Please feel free to let me know if you would like to add any further anonymous commentary on how I should run my business. 

Brett Novick

[Quoted text hidden]
Clothing for people who like bikes

Thepink sugarmouse <> Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Piss off TWAT!!!
I'll make sure that your e mail is printed everywhere and get lots of people to boycott your site.
Trust me. It won't hurt me a bit


Brett Novick <> Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 9:44 AM
To: Thepink sugarmouse <>

Thank you again for taking the time to email us your concerns.  If your command of the English language is any indication of your boycott organizing skills, trust me, it won't hurt me much either. 

Kind regards,