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What Is Post Columnist Sally Jenkins’s Take on Latest Lance Armstrong Charges?
Jenkins has written two books with Armstrong—but what will happen if he takes a fall is unclear. By Harry Jaffe
Lance Armstrong in August 2012. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Comments () | Published October 12, 2012

Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins has been Lance Armstrong’s most steadfast supporter. How will she respond to the latest reports that Armstrong relied on performance-enhancing drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France titles?

When the US Anti-Doping Agency accused Armstrong in August of ingesting drugs to fuel his climbs in the mountains of France and sprints toward Paris, Jenkins took to the pages of the Post.

“First of all,” she wrote, “Lance Armstrong is a good man.” She added: “I do know that he beat cancer fair and square, that he’s not the mastermind criminal the USADA makes him out to be, and that the process for stripping him of his titles reeks.”

Three paragraphs into her August 24 column, she mentioned she has written two books with Armstrong. Her defense is well founded.

What now? How will Jenkins defend Armstrong from the reams of documents the USADA released this week? The agency backs up its damning dossier with financial records, laboratory results, and witness testimony. Eleven former teammates testified that Armstrong employed a variety of ruses to evade blood testing that might have incriminated him. Among them are veteran cyclists George Hincapie, Tyler Hamilton, and Floyd Landis, who himself was stripped of the 2006 Tour title on doping charges.

When USADA first announced its charges in August, Jenkins attacked the messenger. She asked, “How does an agency that is supposed to regulate drug testing strip a guy of seven titles without a single positive drug test?”

The USADA appears to have answered that question. It recounts how Armstrong deliberately avoided testing through a warning system. On one occasion, according to the USADA, Armstrong dropped out of a race when a teammate alerted him that drug testers were at the team’s hotel.

Sally Jenkins is one of the Post’s most brave and incisive columnists. In the case of Lance Armstrong, she has tied herself to his fortunes, to his veracity, to his worthiness as a champion. If he takes a fall, will she write about it? Will she take one, too?

Jenkins has yet to respond to questions about whether she would write about Armstrong’s latest travails. Her readers deserve her take.

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  • Jimbobogie

    She was clearly guilty of conflict of interest in the "Armstrong Saga" and therefore her entire body of work must now be considered suspect.

  • Bernard Shaw

    She rode the gravy train. She is an accomplice to a major series of crimes, cheating, fraud, witness tampering and intimidation, perjury, drug trafficking, and destroying many people on and off the bike. Shame. Shame. She should be fired. No one should read anything she writes from here forward. Shame. He lied to millions of kids, and cancer victims and survivors. Shame. Livewrong, the worst possible role model, doped pre and post cancer. Shame

  • Reid Neureiter

    Sally Jenkins became of shill for Lance Armstrong and even when it was clear to nearly everyone in the sporting world that Armstrong was a bully, a thug, the biggest enforcer of the cycling mafia's omerta, and the destroyer of decent and truthful people's lives, Jenkins remained his apologist. He is a "good man," she said, attacking the USADA, Travis Tyart and implicitly every rider who was courageous enough to actually tell the truth. His Anti-Cancer foundation was a shield against criticism and became a sword that he used (along with his influence in the cycling industry) to attack and detroy people who were prepared to and tried to tell the truth (Lemond, the Andreus, Walsh, Kimmage, Bassons, Simeoni). Jenkins was his aidor and abettor, if not active co-conspirator. She and other sportswriters and commentators, Rick Reill...y, Jim Rome, John Wilcockson and others were manipulated and used by Armstrong. I am of the opinion they were manipulated knowingly. They saw Lance as a meal ticket--someone who was too big to fail and by casting their lot with Lance, they calculated they would likely succeed -- more book sales, more blog hits, better access. Got news for you -- I put drug dealing conspirators and mafia enforcers right up there with chlid molesters in the pantheon of people who are not "good." Lance fits in the same category with Jerry Sandusky. They both had their charitable foundations. And both are scumbags. Sally--we are waiting for your mea culpa. But I'm not holding my breath.

  • DougMH

    I've seen a lot of this from those who continue to support Lance. There's something about being taken in so completely and for such a long time that keeps people from admitting it. You see this also in people fail to report it to police when they've been taken in by various scams because it's embarrassing and is a reflection on their judgment. In the case of Lance Armstrong, they often just double-down and become more supportive. When you ask them if they've bothered to read the USADA's reasoned decision, they shoot back with I don't need to read that garbage. I'm willing to bet that Sally Jenkins can't bring herself to read it either. (Ms. Jenkins?).

  • Jace489l

    She's lost all credibility. She chooses to see what she wants to see always, and she lacks integrity, but also nuance. It's not just Lance Armstrong she coddled Joe Paterno also. I'm not interested in her thoughts of today's stripping of Lance's seven wins. She'll just focus on what she always focuses on...the USADA abuses. So, I'm thrilled to NOT see any articles by her on Lance. It's over now, it's been proven he's not only guilty of using, but he DID in fact distribute and strong arm others into using. He's not a good man. He used his cancer and the foundation to hide behind. In the end he was nothing more than a bullying, doping, cheat. So vile and disgusting. I agree with ICU's Pat McQuaid when he said that Lance Armstrong deserves to be forgotten in cycling. No doubt Sally is working on a long piece about the good Lance has done and how his memory should be about how he fought cancer...blah, blah, blah. He probably wouldn't have had to fight cancer if he never used all those drugs to begin with. I won't read any piece Sally Jenkins writes on Armstrong, ever again. Gross.

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Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 10/12/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs