Professional athletes are often seen as heroes – defying all the odds stacked against them in terms of playing a sport for a living and getting paid a large some of money. However, when heroes fall, they often fall pretty hard in society. As we have seen in the past and will continue to see in the future, when professional athletes overcome obstacles, they may get rewarded. Conversely, professional athletes are highly scrutinized by the public when the athlete may have cheated to get to the top of his/her profession. Roger Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young-award winning Major League Baseball pitcher was acquitted of all charges that he lied to Congress, when he told them he did not ever use performance-enhancing drugs. All the backlash that Clemens received, including public perception that he cheated and was guilty, will not absolve him from public scrutiny, however, if he once again pitches in the Major League, public perception may change and the fallen hero may once again rise to the top. Like Clemens, seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong has been scrutinized that he has cheated, and denied the charges, and Armstrong has recently been stripped of his tour accomplishments, but Armstrong may rise to the top once again because of the good he has done through his cancer group, Livestrong. It is safe to say if Armstrong’s foundation continues to prosper, Armstrong, like Clemens, could once again rise to the top.

Steven Olenick is a lawyer, educator, and leading authority on various sports law issues. His work has appeared on Bloomberg, Fox News, Al Jazeera English, MSNBC and has given numerous radio interviews across the nation. He has earned national recognition from such organizations such as Crain’s Business Journal, Athlete’s Quarterly, ESPN, Bloomberg, and the NYU School of Law.

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