Ethical Dilemmas: Lance Armstrong

Over the past week it was hard to ignore Lance Armstrong.  Interviews, articles, threats from the USADA, Armstrong’s “I give” statement.  All of it was a constant reminder that heroes are capable of failure or worse that heroes might not even exist.  I still felt sad and I never wore a yellow LIVE STRONG bracelet.

Doping isn’t new.  An athlete disappointing his fans isn’t new either.  But the moral and ethical dilemma of an event like this is a good place, as many of you begin the year, to have your students discuss the role of sports and “heroes” in our culture.  It offers students the opportunity to read, critically think, construct essential questions and wrestle with their own opinions.

Use Lance Armstrong to frame the discussion.  Ask that they construct their own essential questions about athletes, sports and our cultural relationship to both.  Then have them read Linton Weeks’ piece on NPR entitled “When a Hero Lets Us Down.”  Ask that they SOAPSTone and then discuss as a class the “complexity” of sports heroes within our culture.

Later this week we’ll talk about how to take this opening discussion and turn it into a writing assignment, classroom debate or AP Language and Composition style exercise.  For now, poll your students.  Determine if moments like this really still make us feel sad.


  1. Kara says:

    Can you ladies link your blog up on the AP English board from the College Board on their resources page? I would do it for you, but I wasn’t sure if you would prefer to do that yourself. I think this site is an amazing resource for any AP English teacher and want more people to know about it!

    • Aubrey & Emily says:

      Hmmm…I’m not sure how to go about doing that but will certainly look into. Thanks for the feedback about the site. We strive to provide suggestions that are creative and inventive while still being rigorous.

      • Nicole says:

        Sarah Palin was so successful as a govrenor, she graduated early “Bitter Quitter”, she real is a “Dan Quayle” in heels. She clearly loves “dishing it out” but real can’t take it because she loves playing the victim card. Poor thing she fail as a VP candidate (her lie that her daughter was engaged was such a farce), her stand-up comic fiasco on the Jay Leno Show, please, her TV show canceled after declining rating, I guess running for Prez is the only thing she can look forward to, but since she is a coward she will only throw small minded rocks, poor thing. Since we already had an idiot “W” that caused our current economic debacle, America knows not to trust in fools who think they are brilliant. One of the reason for “W” failure was his drinking, Palin just has bad genes.

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