During the interlude when O.J. Simpson, having gotten away with murder, was at large before committing another felony, a friend and I used to speculate that he could rehabilitate himself with one simple action; specifically, entering the Oprah’s confessional, shedding a few tears, and unburdening himself. Sadly for the former football superstar, he didn’t do it, and now he’s cooling his heels in a Nevada jail cell.
Now, here comes Lance Armstrong, who, having lied repeatedly to millions for years about his use of illegal performance enhancing drugs, chose that route. Will it work? Is redemption available for someone who has hurt and disappointed so many people?
It depends what we mean by redemption. Certainly, he needs cash, and his inevitable tell-all book will probably sell. If, however, by redemption we mean forgiveness and the chance to regain the admiration and respect of the public, I think that ship has sailed. People are thoroughly disgusted with his incessant lying, but that’s nothing compared to the revulsion that they will feel toward him once he starts ratting out other people, which apparently he is prepared to do.
The Oprah notwithstanding, he is still in a lot of legal trouble. From CBS News:
Senior Justice Department officials have recommended that the government join a lawsuit filed by one of Armstrong’s former teammates that accuses the disgraced cyclist of defrauding the federal government. Armstrong’s U.S. Postal sponsorship prohibited illegal doping.
All things considered, O. J. probably has a better chance of being forgiven. He is black, after all, and he didn’t use a gun to kill his ex-wife and her friend.