Tyler Hamilton has started a coaching company. He also recently earned his second doping violation while holding the US National Road Championship.
The internet has been abuzz with people tittering and scoffing at Tyler's new venture. Why? Do people doubt his talent as a cyclist? People forget that dope only makes you marginally faster. You still need talent and to train hard to race at the Protour level, even with dope.
Americans are puritans. We want to see people punished for their transgressions. We want them to suffer and express genuine remorse because of that suffering. Tyler hasn't suffered enough. Never mind that he lost his pro cycling career (which meant the world to him I'm sure). Never mind that he recently was divorced. Tyler needs to suffer more and then redeem himself before the cycling community will embrace him again, if ever. The people demand blood and Tyler has not shed enough.
This is the absolute wrong approach to take with someone who has violated your mores. Recidivism is often a direct result of criminals' and addicts' difficulty in finding acceptance in society after their transgressions. Ex cons aren't readily offered employment upon release from prison...how do you think that they end up making ends meet? I am not saying that Tyler will become a convict. But if you are prepared to expel Hamilton from the cycling community, are you also ready to expel all former drug users too?
Why is David Millar acceptable, while Tyler is a pariah? Is it because Tyler seemed so innocent and pure? Perhaps we felt taken in and betrayed by Tyler's seeming innocence.
Tyler doped. But by all accounts he's a pretty good guy off the bike. I have never met Tyler, but someone who I trust recently wrote "[Tyler's] an approachable, humble, nice, genuine, and knowledgeable guy." These attributes, along with his past successes (remember, they may be tainted, but he still worked very hard to achieve them) and his knowledge of training techniques seems like they would make him a good coach. His rates should be reasonable too, considering how most of the community is intent on shunning him.
Since Tyler lives in Cambridge now, I am sure that I will run into him sooner or later. I know that I will be trying to make friends. You should too.
** Adam Myerson has been reading and commenting on this blog (I've been commenting on the Verge series). Since he has raced against Hamilton while Hamilton was doping, Adam has a legitimate right to be upset. I look forward to his comments on this matter.