McQuaid tries to airbrush Armstrong out of history books

October 22, 2012, 4:57 pm
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Im starting to think that too much time on a bicycle seat makes you stupid. And no, this is not an extension of my general position on exercise.No, the news that the International Cycling Union has stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles has inspired my inspiration re: bikes and brainlessness. And in case you are cyclist who has to date felt no ill effects from your avocation or hobby, let me present this for your consideration, from UCI president Pat McQuaid.Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling, he deserves to be forgotten in cycling.Hurray! Another stride toward revisionist history! More institutional cowardice! Pretend it didnt happen! Progress!Of all the stupid things said and done by, for and about Armstrong over the years, this might be the most laughably ignorant. Forgetting ones history not only dooms one to repeat it, but it shows that the only lesson the UCI, or at least McQuaid, wants to learn is how to deal with a public relations problem.Because thats the suggestion he is making here. To turn Lance Armstrong into Leon Trotsky. To airbrush him out of the history books for the crime of inconvenience.Armstrong is a blight on the sport, but he could never have been so if the sport werent already up to its neck in acts of looking the other way on PEDs. Armstrong is perfection of drugging and its closest scientific phenomenon, bullying. He is a brute as well as a cheat, a towering unpleasantness that is getting everything thats coming to him.But the people who ran the sport and run it now have to live with the work they helped condone, and this forget stuff is every bit as dishonest and contemptible. The UCI and McQuaid in particular have to own Armstrong because they helped make him and surely benefited from him.Besides, they cant keep their sport free from the Armstrongs of the world if they are worried about trying to disappear the Armstrongs of the world. All theyll do is provide a blueprint for the next Armstrong one who is better about keeping his friends close and enemies closer, one who is a bit more generous about credit and a bit less thuggish in his personal character.The McQuaid argument is the same one that baseball Hall of Fame voters employ when refusing to consider PED users. PEDs are part of the sports history, and no improvements have ever come to any organization or society when its darkest moments are eradicated.Besides, while you do the time when you do the crime is a noble sentiment, the logical corollary you face the wreck when you cash the check is equally true. The UCI is up to its eyelids in Lance Armstrong, and it doesnt get to un-know that fact just because its president says so.In fact, I think wed all be more comfortable and better off in the long run by forgetting Pat McQuaid an easy enough task, since almost nobody knew he was before he decided to be a history book editor.Or, if not forgetting him, then taking him along for a pint and a quick discussion of what happens when history isnt acknowledged.Specifically, you end up looking stupid. And then some wrongheaded people think its because you like bicycles when its something else entirely.Its that you like fiction, sanitized for your protection. Which is another bucket of meat entirely.Ray Ratto is a columnist for