Admitted PED Using Athletes Struggling with Public Image - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Admitted PED Using Athletes Struggling with Public Image

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Lance Armstrong's ride to the top took years, but now that he confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he was doping should he be ready for a fast fall from grace?

"Reputation is something that results from who you are and how you behave," said Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business Reputation Management Specialist, Professor James S. O'Rourke. "In that respect what we would say about Mr. Armstrong is who he was a drug user."

People who idolized the man who survived cancer to go on and win seven Tour De France titles are now questioning if they have any respect left for him after learning he used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

"It tainted my image of him and made me think of him as less of an heroic person," said Kendall Sharpe, an Armstrong fan struggling with the recent news.

Armstrong is not the only former athlete who has been thrown into the public gauntlet recently because of performance enhancers. Several baseball players, including former Chicago Cubs star Sammy Sosa, were scrutinized heavily last week when they were denied by the Baseball Hall of Fame thanks to their admitted use of PEDs.

"Now they can't even get into the Hall of Fame because of what they've done. It's disappointing and embarrassing to me being a Cubs fan the way I looked at Sammy Sosa as my hero," said Joe Schmanski.

O'Rourke believes these recent stories will leave even more sports fans questioning which athletes might be using PEDs.

"The question is really about trust," said O'Rourke. "Can we trust that those numbers are achieved. Was that all done because of skill or muscular ability or did you just have better drugs than the other guys?"

Some fans however are willing to just accept PEDs as part of today's sports.

"You just want to see [records broken]. You don't really care how they got to that point, you just want to see the excitement of it," said Curtis Morey.

For the fans who are less forgiving though, it could be awhile before those athletes could earn their trust again.

"The American public are genuinely forgiving of bad behavior," said O'Rourke. "They have to believe that you're not going to do it again, they have to believe you're penitent for having done it in the first place and that you're committed to making the world a better place."

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