Breaking news was reported that the Justice Department is seeking to sue Lance Armstrong for “damages”. Read ESPN’s account of the preliminary posturing here.
The suit will seek damages for fraud, claiming that Armstrong was “unjustly enriched”. Armstrong will counter with the argument — and I think it’s a valid one — that how can you claim damages and fraud when the person you sponsored made money for you?
Several questions should come to mind when we develop opinions about where we should stand on subjects like these: How is performance enhancement in cycling different from other sports? That is to say, if Alex Rodriguez or Lyle Alzado took PEDs but helped make your club money, should a lawsuit for fraud prevail against them? What would make this case any different? Should the Justice Department even be suing?
Corruption often does not rear its ugly head in obvious ways; instead, it is more likely to manifest in the actions of powerful institutions that have no oversight or accountability. The Justice Department is such an entity. Why are they spending taxpayer dollars on a frivolous complaint of fraud? Why are they gambling with our money to seek damages?
Further, why is a money-losing quasi government function like the USPS sponsoring athletes and teams to begin with? On some level, isn’t that a frivolous use of taxpayer subsidy?
Speaking of powerful institutions with no oversight — can we say “NCAA”?