“I wonder if Lance Armstrong apologized to Sally Jenkins,” journalist Jeff Pearlman wrote on Twitter this morning.
The answer: He did.
Washington Post columnist and Armstrong biographer Jenkins told Charlie Rose last week:
He said he was sorry for misleading me. He was sorry — and this is a very small thing — but he expressed that he was sorry that my reputation had taken a hit because of my association with him, which I appreciated. It wasn’t a very long conversation, but it was a meaningful one to me. …
You know, I’ve been hearing all this [doping] stuff from other people, and I’ve expressed to him that what has disappointed me most is to hear it from others and not from him. I belong in the category of friend and associate, and I think that he’s been doing a lot of apologizing to people like that in the last couple of days. For better or worse, this is his moment to sort of let people hear it from him rather than read it in a report or hear it in a broadcast.
Is Jenkins angry that Armstrong wasn’t clean? “I don’t rise to the level of anger that I think a lot people want me to,” she told Rose. “I think there’s a level of anger at Lance that is, I think, out of proportion to the offense of doping.”
“Why do you say that?” Rose asked her.
“Well, because you know, let’s face it, he’s a bicyclist. I don’t condone doping, I don’t condone breaking the rules. What I have to said to him, and what I have written is that I forgive him. … I think doping is so endemic in cycling apparently that it was the price of competing in that era. Do I agree with it, do I like it? No. I don’t have the heart to be full of rage at him, I just don’t. People are going to have to accept it that I don’t feel that for him. I feel disappointment, but he’s my friend.”
ROSE: “There’s also this aspect of intimidation, and threats that people have stepped forward to say, that is to many people believable.”
JENKINS: “I think that’s what he’s going to have to address with Oprah. It’s certainly equal to the doping. Quite honestly, I thought that was the most damaging stuff in the USADA report. I think those are the toughest questions for him. The Lance Armstrong that I know and that I have dealt with has never been threatening.”
Earlier on JimRomenesko.com:
* Why Sally Jenkins hasn’t written about Lance Armstrong lately
* Will Lance Armstrong’s downfall hurt Sally Jenkins?