CNN’s Piers Morgan talks with Bob Costas about the doping controversy surrounding Lance Armstrong.
MORGAN: But I want to ask you about Lance Armstrong, because there is a man who, for a long time, was put up as the great American sporting icon, the most inspiring, the most formidable, the great champion —
MORGAN: — the seven time Tour de France winner. And then it all came crashing down. But what was the moment for you when the blinkers maybe came off and you realized he is a cheat?
COSTAS: Well, I think the evidence was accumulating year after year and there was so much smoke, you figure there had to be fire. But at one point last year, he dropped the case. He just said I’m — it’s gone too far. And his statement was, I can’t put up with this witch-hunt anymore.
MORGAN: And for him to quit was —
COSTAS: Yes, for him to quit, because he was always, in contrast to a lot of guys who were involved with performance-enhancing drugs, he was always quick to challenge anybody to take them to court, to call them a liar, to say get me on the air. In fact, one time several years ago, I was in that seat filling in for Larry King for a week. And one of these acquisitions — accusations came out in “L’Equipe,” or “L’Equipe,” the —
MORGAN: Yes, yes.
COSTAS: — the French newspaper. MORGAN: French, yes.
COSTAS: And he actually called me. He was savvy enough. He called me. He knew that a sports guy was going to be sitting in this seat and that it was seen internationally, it would be seen in Europe. He said, I want to go on for the full hour and refute these allegations. And I asked him every challenging question I could think of, every skeptical question. He was very smooth. He never wavered. He was very, very assertive.
MORGAN: He just lied — he lied to you over the air.
COSTAS: He — right, he lied to me and he — he — he lied to everybody else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSTAS: So, again, for those may not be clear on this, you are flatly saying, regardless of the fact that you have criticisms of the protocol, even if the protocol was correct.
LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: Right.
COSTAS: There’s no way they could have found EPO in your urine because you’re flatly saying you never used it.
ARMSTRONG: When I peed in that bottle, there wasn’t EPO in it. No way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And he was a good liar, wasn’t he?
COSTAS: He was a very good liar, because he was intelligent and he had a series of facts, or what he purported to be facts, rather than evasions, and he did have the one thing going for him, that he had been tested repeatedly in and out of competition and never failed a drug test.
MORGAN: And we now know all that had happened was he — he had gone to ever more elaborate scientific ways —
COSTAS: That’s correct.
MORGAN: — the testing.
COSTAS: And then, of course, with the Live Strong Foundation and all the good work that he did on behalf of cancer research and the victims of cancer.
MORGAN: Yes, but —
COSTAS: That won him sympathy.