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With the Help of Friends

When the reputation of bicycle racing hero Lance Armstrong came to grief during October, 2012 in revelations of the doping practices that enhanced years of results, the disappointment touched more than one celebrated athlete.

According to the report of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Mr. Armstrong had the assistance of other team members, of couriers and medication dispensers as well as compliant partners in his bicycling, marketing, and foundation relationships. When Mr. Armstrong’s failings came to light, so did the intricate relationships of a cabal of team members and partners benefiting from the protection of Mr. Armstrong’s reputation.

New York Times columnist David Carr, in a October 29, 2012 article “Chasing Armstrong With Truth”, admired the persistence of a small group of athletes and bloggers who pressed and pressed for objective examination of the practices followed by Mr. Armstrong and all his allies.

In sports and in corporate life, isn’t there always a cabal? Aren’t there always subordinates making meeting arrangements and knowing little secrets? Partners who become engaged in prolonging a ruse? Observers who simply become used to the normality of actions that once seemed bizarre and dishonest?

Something similar may be occurring in the unraveling of a BBC cocoon surrounding a deceased television host now broadly accused of decades of predatory sexual behavior. What began as interest in the late Jimmy Savile spreads each day into an examination of the reasons for BBC neglect of accusations and, recently, for BBC squelching of a news program dealing with the suspicions.

If the pattern of such tragedy holds, there will be a pattern. After the fall of a titan such as golfer Tiger Woods or CEO Mark Hurd, those who sift through the facts of a disappointment find more than the titan coming to light. (posted October 29, 2012)