I felt nothing. That was my reaction to watching the much ballyhooed two-part Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong. The big frenzy turned out to be a little fizzle.
Yes, Armstrong admitted to doing wrong, very wrong, and to doing it often.
He told how he systematically, over the course of many years, duped his family, fans, sponsors, most of the media, and even his critics. All the bad stuff came tumbling out. Confessions of the lies upon lies he had told over and over. Confessions of protecting himself at any cost, no matter it meant destroying others in the process. Confessions of thinking most people are suckers. Confessions of doing anything to win.
He conveyed it all with little emotion.
Oprah seemed to be trying hard to make Armstrong relatable in some way. She wanted him to show his feelings, rather than just say the right words. Feelings make for excellent television.
As the clock kept ticking on the lengthy interview, Oprah seemed to sense that her viewers were probably not feeling much compassion for the fallen hero. She gave Armstrong the spotlight and asked the right questions, but she never got any signature “aha” moments. Oprah could only do so much, and Armstrong couldn’t save himself.
With a matter-of-fact demeanor, Armstrong relayed his wrongdoings. He said he felt bad about his actions.
Yet, even as he said he “lost his way,” I couldn’t help thinking Armstrong still appeared calculated and in control. Once again, he is doing what he has to do to save himself. Even using his kids to that end.
I cannot help believing he came clean because he was cornered and the only way out was to do the big interview. Next, will come many more television appearances, print interviews, tweets and blog posts, and, of course, a book. It will be confession overkill.
Watching the interview, I wondered: Can Armstrong ever be forgiven when his confession feels as though he is simply duping us once again?
That’s when I realized, I simply didn’t care. I felt nothing.