Sport

The man behind Lance's plan to come clean on drugs scandal

Oprah Winfrey (R) speaks with Lance Armstrong during an interview regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career on January 14, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Oprah's exclusive interview, 'Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive', has expanded to air as a two-night event on OWN.
Oprah Winfrey (R) speaks with Lance Armstrong during an interview regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career on January 14, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Oprah's exclusive interview, 'Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive', has expanded to air as a two-night event on OWN. George Burns - Oprah Winfrey Network / Getty Images

DISGRACED cyclist Lance Armstrong is on a contrition tour every bit as emotionally gruelling as the seven he won in France.

On Monday, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey to be broadcast tonight in the US, he is said to have confessed in broad terms to the doping charges of which he was accused by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) last year.

This round of self-flagellation is believed to be the beginnings of a "years-long" strategy to publicly rehabilitate Armstrong, an attempt to salvage both his own brand and that of LiveStrong, his cancer charity.

Winfrey has revealed that the interview the world wanted was secured relatively easily, that Armstrong appeared ready to face the music.

The pair both have homes in Hawaii, and after an email exchange initiated by the TV star they met for lunch where she talked him into owning up.

The confession may help him to rebuild relationships with the cancer community, secure book deals and speaking engagements, even compete in the triathlons he now favours.

But it will also lead to legal difficulties: Armstrong faces potential lawsuits from his sometime-sponsors SCA Promotions, fellow ex-cyclist Floyd Landis and The Sunday Times, which is suing for the libel settlement of around $500,000 that it paid Armstrong in 2006.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has also stated that if he wants to compete again as an athlete, he must confess under oath.

The man behind Lance's plan is lawyer and public relations strategist Mark Fabiani, whose services Armstrong has retained since July 2010, when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation into the Texan's doping first began.

Fabiani and his business partner Chris Lehane are known for tackling some of the world's trickiest reputation management challenges, and in 1996 were dubbed the "Masters of Disaster" by Newsweek, for their part in defending Bill and Hillary Clinton from the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals.

The pair worked on behalf of Goldman Sachs when the bank faced public fury over the sub-prime loan crisis and advised its executives as they were called to testify to Congress.

They represented Michael Moore as the film-maker navigated the controversies of his documentaries Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko.

They took on Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al Qasimi as a client after he was deposed as the deputy ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, a minor Emirate, in 2003.

They crafted Al Gore's aggressive anti-Republican messaging when Gore ran against George W Bush for President in 2000.

And they massaged Madonna's image in relation to Kabbalah and her charity work in Africa.

The pair, having worked together in Washington, founded their firm Fabiani and Lehane in 2001 in California.

Fabiani has been described by the LA Weekly as "by far the least irritating and more gentlemanly of the team".

But when the firm represented the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers as the film studios fought striking screenwriters in 2007 and 2008, the picketers gave them a less flattering nickname: "Fibs and Liars."

Speaking to the Financial Times during the Goldman Sachs furore last year, a source said Fabiani's strategy was to form a "counter-narrative" to deflect criticism.

"What has happened, has happened. You can't put the genie back in the bottle.People will evaluate you by how you handle the issue going forward, and that is why maintaining one's credibility is critical," the source said.

Usada's October 2012 report offered detailed testimony to support its claim that Armstrong led the "most sophisticated, professional and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

Fabiani and Armstrong seem to have finally decided the genie is well and truly out of the bottle.

Fabiani was brought up in Pennsylvania and went on to study at Harvard Law School.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, he was chief of staff to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and was at his side in 1991 in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and the riots that followed.

He reportedly masterminded his boss's strategy in the subsequent showdown with the city's police department.

"I think he's calling about all of the shots," one council member said at the time.

He was also instrumental in the decision to suspend the city's police chief Daryl Gates after the attack, a decision Gates derided as the work of "a slick-haired… young kid" of unproven experience.

Despite his callow years Fabiani was a powerful force in Bradley's team, and his reputation was such that in 1996 he was appointed a White House special counsel to respond to the Whitewater affair.

In the end the Clintons were never prosecuted.

Armstrong may end up with a similar playbook, but whether Mark Fabiani's strategy will win the day again, only time will tell.

 

Topics:  cycling, drugs, editors picks, lance armstrong, lawyer, oprah winfrey, public relations, sport, tour de france, tv


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

All class for music performance in Roma

OPERA STARS: Violin virtuoso Attilla Sautov will be joined by guest pianist from Germany, Oleg Poliansky.

Experience world-class classicl music right here in Roma.

Gallery: St John’s Roma students celebrate their formal

Elliot Lewis and Hope Ferguson at the St John's Formal in Roma.

Check out our exclusive gallery of the St John's Formal.

Latest deals and offers

Local women complete Australia’s toughest challenge

In a gruelling challenge that rendered 640 people unsuccessful, two local women have come out triumphant.

All class for music performance in Roma

OPERA STARS: Violin virtuoso Attilla Sautov will be joined by guest pianist from Germany, Oleg Poliansky.

Experience world-class classicl music right here in Roma.

Gallery: St John’s Roma students celebrate their formal

Elliot Lewis and Hope Ferguson at the St John's Formal in Roma.

Check out our exclusive gallery of the St John's Formal.

Toxic ash being 'illegally stored' in Gympie, Brisbane

The Tarong North power station, west of Brisbane. (Google Earth)

MP says Environment Minister should have known earlier

Prices fly in Roma at Ultimate Bloke Auction

AND SOLD: One of the auctioneers at the Ultimate Bloke Auction from Hassalls on Saturday.

Farmers, drilling contractors benefit from auction sale.

Migaloo the albino whale spotted at Byron Bay

Migaloo spotted off Byron Bay on July 27, 2016.

Quick: Get out the binoculars. He's coming.

Shannen Doherty shaves hair during cancer battle

Shannen Doherty has completely shaved off her hair

Brian McFadden makes daughters pay for own Christmas gifts

McFadden makes his daughters pay for half their presents

Lady Gaga is a godmother

Lady Gaga has become a godmother to her friends' daughter

Will Turbo be taken off TV?

Memes about Turbo are flowing on Social media.

PEOPLE want Turbo taken off TV, but will Prospero Productions the ma

Police charge in after Lohan claims fiance tried to kill her

"You tried to kill me. You're a f*****g psycho".

Prince Harry regrets not talking about Diana's death

Diana, Princess of Wales, enjoys a ride on the Maid of Mist in Niagara Falls, Ont., in this Oct., 1991, with her sons Prince Harry, then 7, and Prince William, then 9.

The royal was 12 years old when his mother was killed

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles