Maybe some day, Jerry Burnstein says, he can again wear the Livestrong wristband. But not now.
For now, the yellow bracelet stays off. And all those Lance Armstrong monuments on Burnstein's wall — the autographed Armstrong jersey, the autographed poster, the autographed Sports Illustrated cover — are coming down.
“I can't look at 'em the same way,” Burnstein said. “It was a con game. One of the biggest cons of all time.”
The 48-year-old cancer survivor was more than just an Armstrong fan. He was a Livestrong volunteer. Organized events to raise awareness and funds for Armstrong's foundation that has been a blessing to countless cancer victims.
“Disappointed, angry, betrayed,” Burnstein said. “Those three (words) really come to mind.
“A hero that you look up to all these years, then you find out it's just a big lie. Very disappointing, I'd say.”
A lot of Americans feel the same way. Though many are torn as to whether to continue to wear the wristbands, most are in agreement with Burnstein concerning Armstrong. Massive disappointment in the man who won seven Tour de France championships after being diagnosed with cancer.
Burnstein's disgust didn't just fester a few days ago, when word leaked that Armstrong's Oprah interview would include confessing to doping en route to those Tour de France victories.
When the world cycling federation, U.C.I., in August stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France titles, the public outrage was soft. In fact, Livestrong donations rose. But when the U.S. Anti-Doping Association issued its 1,000-page report in October, Burnstein came to realize that his faith had been misplaced.