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Letters in response to Chris Sheppard's confession
In light of Chris Sheppard's two-year ban for EPO use and admission of guilt, many readers have written to us expressing their support for Chris 'coming clean' on the reasons for using drugs. Here are those letters - all of which are sympathetic and understanding of the reasons Chris gave as to why he took EPO.
Regarding Chris Sheppards letter "I cheated" in Cyclingnews: While I don't condone what he did... it was wrong, I have to respect Chris for taking full responsibility for his mistake. Unlike so many others who whine that they have been wronged, or say they don't know how it got there, or deny it altogether. While the future may be difficult for Chris to be the mentor he would like to be, he has already taught many of us an important lesson... the maturity and humility to admit you were wrong and take your punishment. By the way Chris, that's an important lesson for kids too. I can forgive Chris for having the guts to do that. And I believe him when he says his better days were clean... he earned that.
Thanks for running the letter from Chris Sheppard. I feel bad for the guy, and hope he finds some help to deal with his depression. Send him my support.
Coming clean articles is what the sport needs to help combat the drug abuse problem. People like Sheppard should post periodicals of life after coming clean. We cant all be pro riders, or can we with EPO? People like him make the herd realize being clean is better than being a drugged up pro.
Jeff T Nelson
Rifle, Co. 81650
Thanks for being honest about your situation and not insulting the intelligence of the cycling community. Telling the truth is easy.
...I seek no sympathies, nor need;
Wouldn't it be nice to receive a similar letter from Hamilton; Different, but at least an acknowledgment of mistakes made.
Thanks so much for your letter to all the fans of professional cycling. This letter must have been very hard for you to write. Thanks for your honesty. As an amateur road biker, it is refreshing to hear some honesty in a time when so many who say that they are trying to protect the sport from organizations framing pro riders are really tearing it down by covering up what so many know is true. You made a mistake and now its time to move on. I wish you well in your journey to rediscover what it was all about in the first place: having fun. Good luck.
October 7, 2005
The mea culpa posted on cyclingnews.com "the final Shep Report" was harrowing and gut-wrenching to read. It really made clear how a good person could fall into this sort of temptation (doping). Chris made a bad mistake but did the right thing by admitting it. By so doing he exhibited an all too rare virtue these days, shame. This reader hopes that having come clean he can put the past behind him and move on now. He's still a young human being (if no longer a young athlete) and there are many more worlds to conquer and things to do he can excel at!
Allan Snavely, Ph.D.
La Jolla, California
I don't know you young man, but you have my sympathy and respect. Show me a person who says they have never made a mistake and that is a person that I would feel very uncomfortable around. Yes you made a big mistake. Yes you are human. Yes you are taking responsibility. Please don't beat yourself up too much. Enough. Get on with your life. The people who love you and respect you will still love and respect you. It's not like you killed someone, or set a policy whereby thousands are now suffering. I believe you can know much more about a person when they are down than when everything is going great. Again, what I know about you is impressive.
Paul Bernstein (Age 60..active athlete for 45 years)