Should We Sue Lance Armstrong for Inspiring Us With His Lies?

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About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is the type of working mom who opens her car door and junk spills out all over the ground. She serves as Executive Editor of The Good Men Project and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites like xoJane,, and The Huffington Post. Joanna loves playing with her sons, skateboarding with her husband, and hanging out with friends. Her dream is to someday finish her almost-done novel and get some sleep. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. wellokaythen says:

    Oh, for heaven’s sake, are we regressing now? Or are we just litigious idiots?

    At some point unknown to me the reading public became naïve fundamentalists. If an autobiography appears on the shelf, it must be totally true and unbiased, or else it is a work of fiction. People are suing him because they assumed that since it was in the nonfiction section the book must therefore be word-for-word true. No one is ever allowed to lie in their autobiography, and memoirs must not have any self-serving or self-promoting falsehoods in them.

    If that’s the new standard, then you will need to move ALL the biographies and autobiographies into the fiction section. Americans have lied and exaggerated in their autobiographies at least as far back as Benjamin Franklin.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      This all reminds me of James Frey but I didn’t really have the time to get into it here, and it’s dicey. Authenticity and truth in memoir are different. Mary Karr dealt with this when The LIar’s Club came out, and has talked about it a lot.

      I think the distinction about “truth” matters when we start implicating others. Armstrong’s lies were clearly terrible, worse, the enormous cover ups and lawsuits. But the worst is how he and his team threatened others so extensively. He needs to be held responsible for those things, but all of the good he did isn’t erased by the bad.

  2. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    When it came to light that Greg Mortensen’s books Three Cups of Tea and the other one were kinda sorta made up to tell a pretty story, I did ask the publisher for a refund. Never got it. I think someone started a class action lawsuit sometime afyer that. I expect the main result if it is won will be to enrich some lawyers.

    Suing Lance is also on the ridiculous side, but I also think it’s funny that after he bullied people via fraudulent lawsuit, he is now maybe going to get a taste of his own medicine. :-)

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Can we ignore Armstrong?

  4. It’s just a matter of time before someone sues God, via its religion, for the bad things that happen.

    The false belief in a clean Lance was, at least for me, born of ignorance of the sport. I was not very aware of the depths of conniving that permeated the sport and how testing can be manipulated by bags full of various tricks. The inspiration is real. It’s an emotion that lives and can’t unlive itself. Regret over being falsely inspired is as pointless as it stings.

  5. No. He’s a man enough to admit it. Peace!

  6. Mark Radcliffe says:

    As someone who can’t seem to go a month without writing about Lance, myself, I’m about as conflicted on him as anyone. One part mortified by his duplicity and vengeful tactics, one part in awe of his athleticism and the lengths he went to for cancer victims. But yes, my reaction to this story the other day, too, was “C’mon, people. Don’t you have better things to do with your lives?” For one, it’s not that the book was fiction–he did get cancer, he did train 6 hours a day, he did re-double himself to his cause, but just that he left out a pretty crucial part of the story–that he had joined the doping movement in what he felt was a necessary move to compete on a level playing field. And two, regardless of the immorality of the “ends justifies the means” rationalization he banked his life on, the bigger issue to me is: have you really been so harmed by this book? Isn’t this the act of someone who loves to play the role of victim? Why do we as a culture have to pretend that a book we read by a man we’ll never meet (which was 95% true) has served us so much injustice that we have to devote countless hours of our lives to get our $15 back? What does that kind of self-pity truly get us?

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