The changes of Lance Armstrong coming clean to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency just took a nosedive. In an interview with 60 Minutes Sports set to air Wednesday night, U.S.A.D.A. chief executive Travis Tygart says Armstrong, by way of a surrogate, tried to make an ethically dubious donation to the group, the L.A. Times's Lance Pugmire reports.
Tygart reveals to Scott Pelley that someone representing Armstrong tried to make a donation somewhere in "the ballpark" of $250,000 to the U.S.A.D.A. some time in 2004. An athlete donating to the agency in charge of checking and enforcing said athlete is clean of performance enhancing drugs — now that's some conflict of interest. Tygart, who has been at odds with Armstrong for years but whose agency stood a lot to gain by meeting with Armstrong, told Pelley he was "stunned" at the donation offer, and said he had no problem rejecting it.
This isn't the first time Armstrong's been accused of trying to bribe his way out of trouble. Armstrong was accused of offering cyclists in Australia $50,000 to throw a race so he could easily win a $1,000,000 bonus prize.
It would also help if this statement from Armstrong's lawyer didn't sound so strange:
“At some point … I thought around the mid-2000s … someone was seeking some money for testing equipment and Armstrong offered to help. I don’t know for sure what happened. I only vaguely remember someone in the enforcement community needing some new testing equipment.
“There was some request to us, I thought. I can’t recall exactly, but that’s my recollection.”
The U.S.A.D.A. conducted the investigation alleging Armstrong ran a highly-sophisticated doping ring during his cycling career that led to him being stripped of his major sponsorships and losing any record of his seven Tour de France victories. There were reports late last week that Armstrong approached the agency about negotiating a deal — essentially a confession to Tygart in exchange for a reduced penalty, so that Armstrong could resume his triathlon career. But now that Tygart is telling people Armstrong essentially tried to bribe him, we suspect that option is off the table.