Time will tell whether self-described "bully" Lance Armstrong 's interview with Oprah Winfrey can repair the good name he lost when the United States Anti-Doping Agency revealed the truth behind his carefully crafted "narrative" of survival and sports glory. Armstrong’s fall illustrates how effectively we regulate Olympic movement athletics in the United States -- and how that model for regulation could enhance the integrity of college and professional sports as well.
Scholars have said that sports incorporate a society's values. Indeed, Armstrong's description of his "ruthless" desire to win could apply to many of our beloved sports figures, and they'd be respected for it. In the United States, sports are considered an individual, private-sector affair, guided predominantly by the demands of the market. We are unusual in that we do not have a government ministry for sport. Our professional leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association enjoy considerable deference from courts and Congress , which hesitate to get involved in their regulation. The desire to win, coupled with a laissez-faire approach, often reflect U.S. sports at their best and worst.
Read Prof. Dionne Koller’s op-ed here.