It's the great hypocritical divide that's been going on in the country for nearly half a decade. Ever since the Mitchell Report was released and names were officially named, as well as admissions were made, the lines have been split.
Meanwhile continued denials by the likes of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds drives them further towards villainy with every moment that they don't admit to juicing. One would figure that their admissions, at this point especially, would be largely met by the same reaction an admission from the likes of Alex Rodriguez was met with: negative press and worse reaction. Except the outcry from the public would remain.
This is the ugly truth: It doesn't matter if you take steroids, HGH, or any other synthetic PED under the sun while you're playing a professional sport. If you're busted you'll serve a suspension and pay a fine, big deal. What matters is how the public perceives you.
And yet no one cares. Why? Because we all know Armstrong's story. He's the underdog that managed to make it. He survived testicular cancer to become the seven time champion of one of the most physically grueling events in all of professional sports, the Tour de France. He became famous for his accomplishment, one that nearly everyone looked up to.
With his fame he become a symbol. Not just a symbol of perseverance but of surviving one of the worst diagnosis that one can receive in their lifetime. He gave hope to millions who had none and become one of the biggest and most important figures of a generation.
All this came about after Armstrong's first Tour de France victory. A victory that may now officially be tainted by the stain of PEDs and people will care. Indeed, there will be a small pocket of people who will feel cheated, and rightfully so. They will pale, however, in comparison to the vast amount of people who don't care whether he used steroids, HGH, testosterone, or any kind of other artificial performance agent.
Why won't they care? Because like Giambi, McGwire, Pettite, and Ortiz he's looked at as a good man and a good man is easily forgiven.