Mar 7, 2013|
Michael McCann of SI.com had a unique meeting with Lance Armstrong in which the ex-Tour de France champion made several accusations that McCann says could make headlines.
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Over the years we've had a number of interesting and informative conversations with Michael -- Michael writes for SI dot com all things legal he's also -- -- pointed -- the director of sports and entertainment law institute. At University of New Hampshire law school. Joins us on the AT&T hotline AT&T forgy LTE good morning mr. recap how are you my friend. Are. About to find beat it seems strange bedfellows does that not -- you when your new best friend Lance Armstrong had a that's come about Mike. Well I don't do my new best friend -- I confess I concluded that I was surprised about a month ago what I looked dead. I got a new Twitter follower and it was at Lance Armstrong and I thought well this must not be Israel account. And I -- -- and it what is verified account that I battle he must that must be a hoax maybe somebody took over his account. I sent to the message is confirming that it was him. At any that it wasn't I had no reason to think otherwise and -- -- started a Twitter correspondents that led to. Meet proposing that we meet up because -- I thought well you know I've written about your career often in critical way is that. I have written -- -- and he conveyed that he thought that was relatively fair. In it however about him and and the issues that he's based. And that was that that piece that the site we talked about dates and places and we decided on Austin eventually. His home in Austin and I flew down there last week and met with him for a few hours and as Allison and I won't forget it that's for sure. His motivation being what do you think now it's been done and back into the details -- a little bit what do you think motivated him to do this other than he'd read what you wrote and thought it was relatively fair. I think what is just to talk about. He's like hey I think and the different voice and I'm somebody who doesn't work for him on somebody who. It is he knows about his career that he could talk to me and I agreed that it would be mostly off the record. And because of that I felt that he he could trust me in that regard and he also I think expected that I would be able to write about him in a way that. Wasn't slanted against them but he also do that because I hate my job is really to be as fair as possible I will criticize the man and I think my piece reflects that. And you spent hours with -- Mike. Yes I generally differ about three hours -- -- they have Realogy wrote six paragraphs when do we get the rest of the story. That's that the very question -- I think as time goes on moral be revealed. But that have to be worked out. What do you mean would your editors how is well. Editors obviously a lot of things he said that -- have to be notified of the -- before we can really run with them that you know what he's. Talking about other people I have to really keep those people a fair shake in terms of the an opportunity to respond so you know part of -- just take my own due diligence to to confirm or or. -- invalidate what he says. You got nothing else to do you can eat a plant how many hands -- you do owners like running three different law schools but tell me this. Comic will -- is objective Mike did you feel like you were being used. I I was concerned about that have been that's concerned about a couple things one is that this whole thing was a hoax. That you know men -- KL all of that I was gonna fly down there and it was going to be no one forced somebody saying we've got you. My my family was definitely concerned that they thought about the whole anti testers say you're down their -- gonna be there. I thought look at that's true so what you know people go on business trips all the time and don't get business if that's you know in that regard. Going down to Austin first flight coming back at the end of the world I think that was such a big deal but I was worried that that this is gonna be some type of PR vehicle. Two good to express his views about everything but I wasn't as worried about that at the conversation went on because they did ask some questions that. I think we're relatively tough and that it is some of his answers were were believable others I think have to be checked out. The off the record stuff obviously you can't share with us but can you tell us the nature of it was is is it is notable stuff is -- draw dropping stuff if you were able to release is and point fingers at people. Yeah -- they didn't suffer a bit is accusations of others and I think some of the accusations could be. Pretty and -- newsworthy if in fact they're true but. You know we don't want to run stuff and then those people -- why -- we get an opportunity to respond obviously gonna deny it. But it will take some time to sort of on route all those aspects of the story. As your opinion of him changed as a result of this three hour meeting. It really has been that much I expect him to -- John really intense driven and focused on the conversation. Abdicating. His point of view and and all of that. Was apparent when I met with them. I could see why he's so driven that this is you know part of his success and part of its failure is that he's he's so zoned into what he's doing that. -- that came that definitely came across from the meeting him and I know on Oprah people criticized him for being sort of unnatural or robotics. I imagine part of that was because you're talking Oprah Winfrey was on national TV and it was being recorded in this conversation -- definitely more human. And I and I didn't feel like he was being unnatural or anything like. The cry. Now I know me all the UK you must very good job that's an Oprah made him cry you could've done that Mike has -- -- that the right nerves. Then that the we have to go into the the emotional side as much there really was trying to get -- as many facts as as I could find. Mike you write that while Lance Armstrong refused to lay blame elsewhere pursuing people who spoke truthfully about him. He asserted that companies with which he signed endorsement contracts expected him to refute those allegations. Does he think that exhibited good like that that somehow gets brownie points for him that the companies may be lied because that losing endorsement. Well you would say that that this. Sort of -- part of the context of this is people are portraying white you -- people who told the truth about him -- as kind of he was meaner vindictive. And that big Vista at least. -- that doesn't excuse what he did by no means but I think Italy's get inside his -- -- -- Or maybe in the back of his mind he was thinking I'm gonna lose all of these contracts if I don't do this again -- justification but. It's building a little more strategic or tactical. Than just pure -- means. Perhaps nobody is more well equipped to enter this question then you Michael McCann. How much trouble is -- in legally. A lot John I mean he's worked reportedly 125 million and if you if you do the math and total up these lawsuits that. All of them break against that he could lose all of well he probably. That the United States Justice Department whistle blower lawsuit could cost them over ninety million. And he has a handful of other lawsuits that have. Emerged and they'll be other lawsuits and he knows that. That he's basically just a variety of legal claims some more insurance based there's the government's case there's breach of contracts. And their people basically saying you lied about your success and you made money somehow offered me. And I want. You're you have the money back out the big case there was the Justice Department whistle blower case and I thank god that one. Some of his legal defenses that his lawyers will raise may work it one of them that a lot of these claims. Occurred along time ago beyond the statute limitations. And the others at the United States Postal Service invested thirty million and their own studies according to Armstrong's lawyers. Suggest that they made three times that they put in so even if later on it was probably still made. Much more than they put in sort of an actual damages and David of those arguments work I think. I think they if they do that would certainly help a lot because right now he's he's in some tough shape. -- -- he thinks there are some things there that would have him win that case he probably wouldn't wanna settle but at a -- this is even technically possible with the Department of Justice strike a deal for you know half. The money your third of the money. Yeah I mean I think it's settlement John has probably noticing -- by the deafening. Eventually. Be just just how these cases break but often many of them sort of began. In a very acrimonious way and then as time goes on both sides realize that. That they can cut a deal where everyone goes home and they both sides can claim victory on some level right. As if you have a 125 million you can play around a bit in terms of this facility can -- it. Where and when you got home and and sat down with your wife what did you tell her about it what what weird thing. Stuck with -- -- to -- something weird that he says something weird. We're just before giving it to that after I left and I called my wife. And her first question whether an addict or what do -- say it's so it was real and I think she really. Was seven -- imaginary but. I I told her that yes he was what what she expected that he was you know obviously focused and 88. He his house was magnificent. In terms as. How was decorated at all that -- eighty immediately we just he literally -- grabbed the water so there was no opportunity to show any kind of eating here. Or anything like that but -- he's definitely fit and I think. You know if I were facing. 125 million or whatever the ultimate amount of liability I don't think -- look. Like he has but he is he's still working out quite a bit. Was there an -- -- their brother handlers there were there attorneys there was the family there. No not really when I got there I'd I'd. I got to -- gate and the gate wouldn't open and I was actually kind of mistake as a soccer here a minute ago the look. You know they did a pretty good job. But. -- open after that I called a housekeeper and I and I went into the home and and that it was just -- initially I was there early I was obviously. You know I don't wanna be late for this and she directed me to his his home office which was just. You know incredible like out of a magazine. Their -- that the desk and hit literally everything was was was incredible that I waited for a few minutes he came down on. He was wearing. You know running shorts and sort of or riding. Jacket then we just talked for -- literally went to went right into it wasn't. You know -- related and there were some other people on the house but I I didn't really speak with the -- at any blank it was a pretty much just mean in the all time record now. Now that was and that's obviously concerned that they -- that was recorded it either way you wouldn't agree to them or BEE -- set -- and I think that's. Taxes and that's the trade -- -- and a lot of people can criticize and say well what's the point of this interview I recorded -- I understand their concern but. He is facing the Holbrooke -- lawsuits and the fight was a lawyer to somebody in a position I wouldn't want them making comments on the wreck. It is one hire you -- does he might. Now I think he had the team of lawyers. That. Really elite law firms send. You know look at -- I think I'd be a good lawyer in some regards that I wouldn't hire him and if you're facing 125 million I think you need. A seasoned litigator. Somebody who really knows millions of ballots you know I could probably comment on what they're doing that. But not to be overly self deprecating but -- he needs to heavy hitter later. A final question for me my thumb -- week. Be reading more about this at a later date. I think so I think it's I'm more power to take cooperation from the a variety people vote but hope is that you -- Is Michael look at thanks for the conversation interesting stuff. Are we talk together about Michael McKenna doesn't Callahan on the AT&T hotline.