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Letter: No Redeeming Qualities?

To the Editor:

On Feb. 26 Don Mahler wrote about several Upper Valley schools jointly raising an estimated $10,000 toward cancer awareness during this basketball season, a commendable effort worthy of praise. What I don’t understand, however, are his comments (Jan. 20) about another ongoing effort that has raised more than a half billion dollars to benefit cancer victims and their families. That’s a billion with a “b.” Mahler called the person responsible for this effort “yesterday’s garbage” and someone with “no redeeming qualities” and “no benevolent pursuits.” Excuse me?

He refers to Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor, founder of the Livestrong Foundation and author of the book It’s Not About The Bike, which Sports Illustrated columnist Steve Rushin recently credited with saving the life of his brother, a cancer victim. In that column, Jim Rushin is quoted as saying, “The good that Armstrong has done for cancer research and cancer patients far outweighs anything he did in enhancing his performance.”

Yes, Lance Armstrong cheated and lied about it. Apparently, so did all the other riders in his seven Tour de France victories, as no one has been proclaimed victor in any of these races. And, as we know, the use of performance-enhancing drugs has pervaded every single sport where added strength and endurance means better performance (more money) — even golf (Vijay Singh).

Yet Mahler — and certainly many, many other sportswriters and news commentators — seem fixated on bashing Lance Armstrong. At $10,000 per season, it would take local basketball teams 50,000 years to raise the amount Livestrong has raised.

Curiously, many of these same sportswriters are falling over themselves to lionize loudmouth linebacker Ray Lewis, who was involved in a brutal double stabbing murder, is the father of six children by four women and also a suspected PED user (deer antler velvet extract spray). He’s lauded as a “valiant warrior” and “sure Hall of Famer.” He was even seen recently waving the green flag at Daytona, whatever that is. Maybe if Lance were to “find religion,” as Lewis supposedly did, all would be forgiven.

Dick Nelson

Lebanon

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