If you are planning a heartfelt admission and apology, you do not float a trial balloon first to see if it will go over OK. You do not look for the softest landing possible. You do not wait until there is nothing to lose by doing it, and every personal thing to gain.
You do not plan to take down everyone around you.
Something heartfelt, by definition, cannot be calculated, hurtful and self-serving. But that's just what Lance Armstrong's lie has always been. And now his truth will be the same?
No way. Armstrong, according to the Associated Press, confessed to Oprah on Monday -- in taping for a show to be aired on Thursday -- that he did take performance-enhancing drugs.
Reports are that it was an emotional moment. I'm sure it was, with Armstrong and his handlers figuring out beforehand exactly when was the best moment for tears.
And now, Armstrong reportedly will turn snitch and offer up evidence of other doping cheats, theoretically officials and guys in suits who made money off of him.
Which one do you think is more likely? He is turning others in to clear his conscience? Or he's doing it because of a rule that says a suspension can be cut down dramatically if evidence is given to help bust others?
This is sickening. Armstrong must be sick, missing a part of the brain that calls for empathy and thoughts about others. That's exactly why his big doping lie all these years, which led to such belief in him and his Livestrong charity, makes him the worst sports cheat in US history.
All those people Armstrong threatened and hurt. Greg LeMond? The London Times? The woman, a flunky, who worked for the U.S. Postal Service team and was threatened and bullied by Armstrong for telling the truth?
His ex-teammates, one after another, admitted -- some under oath -- that they had cheated, and so had Lance. And Armstrong used the warm feelings from his charity to attack their names, too.
They all claimed that Armstrong was running a calculated, highly elaborate scam over doping, and about keeping his name clean. His self-defense, when it all came crashing down, was calculated, too.
Now, his admission is, too.
And now Armstrong isn't a Tour de France winner, but rather a former Tour de France winner who has lost all his endorsements, even lost his own charity and lost his ability to compete in anything.
So now he comes out and says, well, yeah, I did it.
I should be careful here, because I haven't seen one report yet that says he will apologize on Oprah. Only admit. In limited amount.
The trial balloon came earlier this month when the New York Times cited unnamed sources in saying that Armstrong was considering fessing up. Then Armstrong's lawyer said it wasn't true. That bought Armstrong a little time to see how people would react. Then, reports were that his admission would be limited.
Armstrong was negotiating with the public, seeing what you need from him.
Apparently, you reacted favorably enough. Armstrong then picked Oprah, not where you go for hard-hitting interviews, but rather for forgiveness.
Look, Armstrong's crime is that he cheated to win a bike race, the bike race, several times. Most everyone around him was cheating, so he cheated and lied.
Perspective: That is not the worst thing in the world. It does not make him the worst person in the world. He still helped a lot of people, gave hope to people, with his charity.
The problem is the fraud, as LeMond put it. That word led to the attack from Armstrong that allegedly ended some of LeMond's endorsements.
All along, Armstrong nestled comfortably in public opinion over his charity and his personal story of overcoming cancer. The way he used that charity, and all the cancer-stricken people it was designed to help, was beyond mean-spirited.
It provided his safety.
Many of his accusers talked about Armstrong's threats and strong-arming. He threatened to kick them off the team, expose them, and attack their names, their finances, their futures.
He got away with it because enough people believed in him. Never again.
It will be interesting to see him on Oprah's show, to see if he's believable at all. We do love our apologies.
It's unclear why he's doing this, actually. I don't think it's to get back at the people who brought him down. He doesn't actually think about other people.
Could he need money? This can't just be so that he can run triathlons.
It's hard to know what he's after. Is it even possible that he seeks forgiveness for his conscience?
Nah. His calculations haven't included one of those.