Everyone knows that Lance Armstrong will apologize and explain himself in an interview with Oprah Winfrey this Thursday (and Friday) night at 9 p.m. As crisis experts, AKHIA will be glued to its television sets and many of us will be tweeting our reactions. Lance, in case you are listening, here is my expert pre-show advice:
Forget Oprah. I would have read a statement admitting guilt and apologizing to those I hurt or defamed as a result of my cheating and then lying. I would read this statement to a select group of media, those who investigated me the most and one or two cycling bloggers/magazines/influencers. Oprah lets you tell your story more fully but it looks like you are being thrown a softball and ducking. Apologies should be brief, to the point, heart-felt and face-to-face with those you’ve hurt. Leave the posturing for the follow-up talk show circuit. You will seem more credible
Don’t cry. That will seem insincere. Use a tone that is both remorseful and accountable. Something like: I did this to myself; I want to rebuild my reputation but I can’t do that until I am at peace with forgiving myself and being forgiven by others – this starts with an apology. America is willing to give second chances and I hope I get one.
Do not blame your behavior on your cancer. There are many people with cancer who live truthful lives and compete honorably.
Do not offer to give a lump sum to charity – yet. This will look like you are trying to buy forgiveness. There’s plenty of time for that later. Instead, offer to spend the next year soul searching about those you have hurt and volunteering with kids who have physical challenges. Dig deep.
Immediately after Oprah airs, grant interviews with the hard-ball hitters. They deserve it and so do you.
And finally, I just want to tell you…good luck. We’re all counting on you (to tell the truth).