By Dan Bernstein
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist
Hey, folks. It’s me, Lance. How’s it going?
First, I just want to say thanks for buying all of the yellow bracelets and all the products I’ve endorsed. I really appreciate it, because it’s been, like, hundreds of millions of dollars. And thanks for not noticing or caring when the American Institute for Philanthropy reported that my foundation spent as much as $45 to raise each $100. I’m sure you understand that charity work can be expensive!
I appreciate how you believed all the misinformation about how Livestrong has been raising money for cancer research, while instead has been lavishing its resources on marketing, promotions, public relations, legal fees, advertising and salaries. It has been a very successful branding effort: getting my name and logo splashed across the world, allowing me the chance to cut all kinds of personally-lucrative deals, and creatively monetizing the very idea of “hope.” We couldn’t have done it without you.
Thanks for not looking closely at the difference between livestrong.org and livestrong.com, since any money that comes through the for-profit latter is mine.
Anyway, I’ve spent more than a decade telling you and everyone else that I won all my races without the help of any performance-enhancing drugs, that my Tour de France titles and inspirational life story have been powered only by hard work, inspiration, belief, and my god-given abilities.
In fact, I have used every avenue available to destroy any doubters of my greatness, and anything’s available to someone with unlimited funding, the best lawyers, legions of willing protectors, iron-fisted control over cycling’s nominal governing bodies and sophisticated methods of outflanking even the most dogged drug testing.
Cross me, and your life would be ruined. Ask former teammates like Frankie Andreu and Greg LeMond for example. I ran Frankie out of the sport because he refused to lie on my behalf, and I made sure Greg’s bicycle business failed because he spoke out against me. I even attacked Frankie’s wife, Betsy, smearing her publicly as jealous and crazy.
Talk to Christophe Bassons. You can find him working in his native France, now, as a regional administrator of youth-sports drug testing. Funny how that works out, huh? He had to quit competitive cycling after he questioned my amazing Tour performances and I instructed every other rider and team to blackball him forever. Good times.
There’s also Emma O’Reilly, my masseuse and assistant who made the mistake of talking to the authors of “LA Confidentiel.” I did what any former boss would do, and called her out as a drunken whore.
I even successfully squeezed money out of the Sunday Times of London for merely daring to reprint claims that anything I did was not entirely on the up-and-up. We came down on them like a ton of bricks, and they settled for the equivalent of half a million bucks. They should have known better.
But now I’m kinda bored, just wandering around the house ever since I made the decision to stop challenging all the baseless allegations from bitter liars and sour-grapes losers. As I said then, enough was enough. The fight against the unconstitutional witch hunt was taking valuable time away from my charity work.
So I want to do some triathlons and stuff, but I can’t because they won’t let me after I quit protesting the unfair, biased campaign against me that never afforded me the due process entitled to any citizen of this great, great country, the United States of America.
I’m considering saying whatever anybody wants to hear. I’m sure I’ll be able to cut a deal to get back to competing. After all, I raised awareness of cancer, remember? You had never heard of cancer – ever – before I finally exposed this obscure, unknown disease.
Actually, I’ve made up my mind. I’ll just say it.
I did it. All of it. There.
Ok. So we’re good now, right?