"It" was about the person on the bike and that we admired his talent, courage, and ability to overcome adversity (cancer, aging). Now "it's" whether we like this fallen hero enough to allow him a comeback.
According to LA TIMES writer Paul Thornton it's thumbs-down on Armstrong post-Oprah interview. The letters he is receiving from readers are negative about Armstrong. The reality, in the human heart and the court of public opinion, is that we have to like someone to give that person a chance to come back in a career.
We like former McKinsey head Rajat Gupta and wish him well, despite his conviction for insider trading. He is classy guy who probably had a midlife crisis regarding how much money he had made and could make continuing to do what he had been doing. Another comeback we are allowing is that of Wall Street analysis Henry Blodget who is operating the publishing homerun BUSINESS INSIDER.
On television with Oprah Armstrong came across as less than human. Guarded, not properly contrite, not recognizing what he had done was so wrong. The court of public opinion is judging him harshly.
The lesson here is that those planning to come back from whatever have to appeal to the human in all of us. Despite centuries of evolution and the embedded capitalist ethos in America, the human heart is the ultimate decider.