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John Profumo vs Lance Armstrong

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 5 February 2015

John Profumo’s political career ended in disgrace in the early 1960s. By the standards of today his crime – lying to the House of Commons about an affair – was minor. But he did not look back. He headed off to the East End to work to help poor folks from Toynbee Hall and worked there until his death. He did not seek a comeback or forgiveness. However, his humility and kindness meant that when he died few had a bad word to say about him. He was a good man who appeared to have accepted that he had sinned and wanted to make amends.

Lance Armstrong was a serial drugs cheat and a bully to anyone who tried to call him out whether a journalist or a fellow cyclist. He amassed great wealth but eventually was caught and given a life ban from a sport whose reputation he had ruined. The other day, two years into his ban Armstrong gave an interview to the BBC.

Armstrong reckons that he has served his time and should be allowed to cycle again. Asked if he could live his life again if he’d cheat, he said that he world. His biggest regret appears to having been caught.  Armstrong thinks the world would be a better place if folks forgave him so that he could run marathons and raise money for charity.

There was no sign of genuine remorse. And the arrogance was still blinding. The reality is that if Lance does not run a marathon for charity some other bozo will. The world can live without you Lance. It is only when he accepts that and stops asking to be forgiven that – like Profumo – he has a chance of gaining forgiveness.  Right now he remains unloved, unrepentant and unforgiveable.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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