Former celebrated American cyclist Lance Armstrong now must pay $10 million in damages to a former sponsor. This fine comes from losing a lawsuit with the insurance firm SCA Promotions Inc. Armstrong had received $7.5 million in payment from SCA during his cycling career.
The SCA and Armstrong used to have a contract that stated if Armstrong was the "official winner" of the Tour then he would be payed a bonus by SCA. SCA refused to pay the bonus after Armstrong's sixth win in 2004.
Armstrong took SGA to court for failure to pay his bonus in 2004. He lied under oath during his proceedings, saying he never used performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong was awarded $2.5 million in damages and costs in 2006.
As we all know, Lance had seven Tour de France victories but his titles were stripped off after he admitted to doping. SCA and an arbitration panel in Texas reopened the matter and handed down a $10 million penalty, thought to be the largest sanction against an individual in American judicial history.
"It is hard to describe how much harm Lance Armstrong's web of lies caused SCA but this is a good first start towards repairing that damage," said Bob Hamman, SCA Promotions president and founder.
Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman, stated that he would be helping his client fight in court to have the decision nullified. Herman argues that the court had no right to reopen a matter which was fully and finally settled voluntarily. Herman also stated that SCA repeatedly affirmed that it never relied upon anything Armstrong said or did in deciding to settle in 2006.
I know Lance did wrong by cheating, lying, and throwing people under the bus. However, this seems like a money grab to me. I guarantee you that Lance's sponsors were making good money while they supported him in his career, yet when he turned out to be a cheat everyone wants money from him? I think he should repair the $2.5 million he won in court in 2005. That is what he gained while lying under oath, so why not fine him the same amount (including interest). That would be a much more reasonable fine (albeit still staggeringly high).