Sally Jenkins, who wrote two books with Lance Armstrong and had been a staunch defender, appeared on the Charlie Rose Show Tuesday. Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Blog transcribed the interview.
Here are some excerpts:
Rose: Did he apologize to you?
Jenkins: He did. He did.
Rose: And what did he say?
Jenkins: He said he was sorry for misleading me. He said he was sorry — and this is a very small thing — but he expressed that he was sorry that my reputation had taken a hit because of my association with him, which I appreciated. And it wasn’t a very long conversation, but it was a meaningful one to me. I had hoped he was clean. He’s not. Am I angry about that? You know, I don’t rise to the level of anger that I think a lot of people want me to. I think that there’s a level of anger at Lance that is out of proportion to the offense of doping.
Rose: Why do you say that?
Jenkins: Because let’s face it, he’s a bicyclist. I don’t condone doping, I don’t condone breaking the rules. What I have said to him and what I’ve written is that I forgive him. I don’t condone it, but I forgive him. I think that doping is so endemic in cycling, apparently, that it was the price of competing in that era. Do I agree with it? Do I like it? No. I don’t have the heart to be full of rage at him. I just don’t. People are going to have to accept that I don’t feel that for him. I feel disappointment. But he’s my friend.
Rose: But there’s also this aspect of intimidation and threats…that is to many people believable.
Jenkins: Right. I think that that’s what he’s going to have to address with Oprah. I think it’s certainly equal to the doping, to be honest. Quite honestly, I thought that was the most damaging stuff in the USADA report. I think those are the toughest questions for him. You know, the Lance Armstrong that I know and that I have dealt with has never been threatening. He’s certainly complicated. He’s certainly flawed. He is certainly angry, at times, and combative. He’s never been menacing. Now, that’s my personal experience with him, and I’m a friend. I would not want to meet him as an adversary, I can say that. I think that he’s got some work to do to persuade people that that Lance Armstrong – the threatening, the intimidating Lance Armstrong that’s been portrayed – he’s got some work to do to convince people that that’s a mis-portrayal.