Source Newsroom: University of Indianapolis
Lance Armstrong’s decision to admit his doping transgressions in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey may prove to be a smart public relations tactic, but it seems likely to fall short in terms of personal ethics, says a philosophy professor at the University of Indianapolis.
Recent news reports, as well as Armstrong’s long history of denial, suggest that the cyclist is acting not from genuine regret but as part of a calculated campaign to salvage his lucrative athletic career, says Associate Professor Jonathan Evans, who teaches ethics courses in UIndy’s Department of Philosophy & Religion.
“Based on what I've seen, he does not appear interested in being repentant but in putting his obstacles behind him,” Evans says.
In mainstream religious and philosophical traditions, Evans says, confessions and apologies merit forgiveness only if accompanied by sincere remorse and concern for others affected.
“There’s got to be some act of contrition,” he says. “It has to be more than just a public display.”
In some ways, Evans says, Armstrong’s story reflects broader concerns about a world in which people are all too willing to sacrifice their principles, health and personal relationships at the altar of success. This “win-at-all-costs strategy” can be seen not only in professional sports, he says, but in the risky investment schemes that have shaken the world economy and even the mundane decisions of ordinary people who rely on fast food and coffee to fuel their busy lifestyles.
“Performance enhancement is pretty prevalent in our society,” Evans says. “We have to ask ourselves, are we part of the problem?”
INTERVIEWS: Jonathan Evans, Ph.D., is available for interview on this and related issues. To schedule, contact Scott Hall, UIndy media relations, at (317) 371-5240.