Lance Armstrong steamed over photoshopped Outside Magazine cover: Is it, in fact, 'lame [expletive]'?

LANCE-ARMSTRONG-OUTSIDE-MAGAZINEWell, this is refreshing: After what seems like years of folks complaining that women on magazine covers are getting the Photoshop treatment — therefore distorting the image of what “real” bodies look like and leading to all sorts of horrible disordery-type stuff in women — there’s finally a dude stepping up to complain that he’s been victimized, too. Granted, Lance Armstrong’s Outside cover, on which a plain blue shirt was apparently tweaked to read “38. BFD.”, is hardly equivalent to the elimination of love handles or wrinkles or cellulite or other facts of physical life, but it’s still an example of altered reality. As Armstrong tweeted yesterday: “Just saw the cover of the new Outside mag w/ yours truly on it. Nice photoshop on a plain t-shirt guys. That’s some lame bulls—. #weak.”

His response certainly seems to sum it up, but what do you think, PopWatchers? Does Armstrong have the right to complain? Is slapping a manufactured slogan on a shirt the same as shaving off a few years/pounds? (Not that Armstrong’s whippet physique needs any shaving, mind you.) Have you lost all trust in your own eyes? Or have you given up and accepted our computer-enhanced future? Also, when do we get jetpacks?

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Comments (249 total) Add your comment
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  • homelessgirl

    God he looks so haggard on the cover

    • eman

      Thats what years of steroid use does to you.

      • Billy


      • DKN

        Or, you know, HAVING CANCER.

      • Ace

        Only LOSERS call people loosers!!!

      • Stegs

        Who names there frickin kid Billy? What a dumb a** name.

      • veganman

        Funny how his particular testicular cancer is extremely common amongst athletes who dope. Connection anyone?
        Maybe he got a bad blood transfusion before a race? Better yet, WHO CARES?

      • Ashtrash

        @veganman – you can’t get cancer through a blood transfusion. Give me a break…

      • waldo

        He looks like a skeleton because that’s what bicycle racers have to do to be successful. Bicycle manufacturers spend millions and charge thousands for bicycles that save a few ounces in weight over the competitor versions. Lance (and all bicycle racers) have to keep their weight at an unhealthy level to compete (especially in the mountains). Lance often has said that the main reason he was a winner is because the cancer took so much muscle weight off him that he had built up in his younger years as a swimmer.

      • Nerdista

        @veganman, I bet you think vaccines cause autism too! Only natural mother Earth can heal these manmade diseases! Death to science!

    • Jeremy

      Yeah, really, they should have photoshopped some flesh on those bones.

      • mark

        Any world class athletes out there commenting who have won the most grueling endurance event 7 times?? And had cancer?? Thought so. Shut the #$% up. You know nothing.
        Shouldve asked to change the pic. Thats it.
        You cant read his mind…and dont know his reasons for being upset.

      • jesse

        only people who call people that call other people losers for calling other people losers are really losers.

    • Mike

      How do you know he did steroids? You’d be much better served if you didn’t guess so much in life.

  • Shaun G

    Here’s a dead-easy way to determine whether you’ve crossed a line: Ask yourself, “Would the subject have rejected the proposed alterations if given the opportunity?”

    • yogi

      Well its better than their alternative version: “HGH. User.”

      • Em


      • snarkalucious


      • Lisa

        Perfect. Awesome.

      • Leslie


      • Ashtrash

        Prove it. Please, we’d love to hear how YOU have proof yet no one else in the world seems to have any conclusive proof beyond their own speculations and circumstantial evidence.

    • KikiShea

      Yeah, but they did put a caption on the cover saying that it wasn’t his real shirt. You can see it on the left bottom side in small print.

      • Nacho

        Even so, they should have gotten his permission first. It’s a pretty bold statement that they’re indicating that he was saying, and the vast majority of people would assume that LA was voluntarily wearing the shirt. Athletes (and all celebs) make their living off their image, and LA being seen as being crass could hurt his sponsorships. Also, I wouldn’t even know that the caption said that unless you pointed it out. Huge letters that say BFD can be seen in most photos of the cover, tiny caption letters can’t.

      • Julia

        They shouldn’t photoshop or airbrush unless the model/actor wants it. In the contract.

      • Mo

        Yeah, I just got the impression that they wanted to use the headline (or title, or caption, or whatever those things are called on a magazine cover) “38. BFD.” but chose to do it in an “artistic” way and incorporate it into the photo. So now Lance Armstrong is making a big deal out of it. Really, is it such a big deal? Is he scared he will lose sponsorships if the sponsors suddenly realized he is (oh no, **gasp**) getting older just like the rest of us? Yep. BFD.

    • ron

      He would have wanted the sponsorship $$$. That’s all he cares about.

      • Mike

        How would you know that he wanted the sponsorship money? Not sure why you would guess and then make a statement.

    • Jack

      Yeah, that’s a great way to assess it as long as you’re a mind reader. How about you just ask first?? How hard is that??? “Hey, Lance, we’re thinking about… you OK with that?”

      It’s absolutely no different that making up quotes and attributing them to him. The shirt is a statement. And it was not his. Fraud.

      • Dave

        But what if he had made that or a similar statement in his interview? It certainly sounds similar to statements I’ve seen or heard him make regarding his age. I agree with those who say this is a publicity ploy. Regardless, the whole fuss makes me say “BFD!”

  • okay…

    BFD indeed.

    • BFD

      Exactly. I’d bitch and moan more that the photo makes him look like a skeleton.

    • Silv

      I’d think this is minimal and agree w/Ron that it may be about the $$$. I wouldn’t mind being photoshopped in my pics, and yes, I’ve been waiting for those jetpacks since I was in middle school. Weren’t they due to be commonly available in the 1980s?

      • Deandre

        Well put, sir, well put. I’ll cetiranly make note of that.

    • sdm

      BFD, WC and GALLA!

  • Barry

    Altered reality? It’s a friggin’ sign on a t-shirt. If they had used it as a normal, non-creative headline, there would be NO issue.

    This really isn’t a problem. Just TEAM LANCE trying to control his image instead of just LIVING, man!

  • Dan

    Pardon my ignorance. What does 38 BFD mean?

    • Kathy

      38 big effing deal.

      • Meg

        But what does 38 have to do with a BFD?

      • Iona

        He’s 38. So it’s like “yes, I’m 38, who cares?’

      • they’re saying that he’s 38 but that doesn’t matter as he’s still a good athlete. just a shorter way of saying ~age ain’t nothin’ but a number.

      • snarkalucious

        Come on Meg…..seriously????

      • Strepsi

        Wow, Meg, you’re even too stupid for MAGAZINES. Guess it’s back to Bazooka Joe for you.

      • KaOs

        Don’t beat up Meg. I think anyone over 25 who didn’t grow up txting on cell phones would probably not know that one — pretty obscure.

      • Jake

        I am 25 and I had no idea what it meant

      • texan

        I thought it was a fire department, “Belton Fire Department” or something. You know, something that actually makes sense on a t-shirt.

      • Cricket

        Meg, I had no idea what it meant either and after learning what BFD stood for I had no idea what the 38 was for…he certainly looks older than 38! When they said “photoshopped” I thought they had done something weird with his eyes. What on earth did Sheryl Crow see in him?

      • Ben

        I’m 24 and scrolled through the comments to find out what “BFD” means. Some of us still use words.

      • Ashtrash

        I knew he was 38, but had no idea what the BFD was. And I’m 30…so you’re not alone…

      • Suzanne

        Meg, no worries. Ignore the mean comments! I am 24 and I had no idea what BFD meant. I like to use the English language to get my point across, not easily misunderstood shorthand.

      • Dan

        Why is Meg getting all the heat? I asked first.

    • pop

      he’s 38! he looks 53!

      • Stacie

        At first I thought it WAS his age, but then I thought, “He can’t be that young.” He reminds me of Christian Bale in the Machinist.

    • Jelana

      Holy crap! How did you get that word past the censors? I have expect them to block out “crap” from this reply. I’m impressed!

      • mcsquared

        who are you talking to?

    • Jelana

      meant to say “half” expected

    • JCK

      Me = impressed times a million. I’m embarrassed to even admit that I did a double-take and kind of dropped my jaw that it made it through.

    • RMW

      I’m impressed, too. One can’t even write “Dick Tracy” on this site without getting censored.

  • Kylie

    I would have complained they didn’t do enough photoshopping to his face.

    • pastafarian

      I thought they enlarged his head, or shrunk his body. Guess his melon is naturally that big.

      • McEvilOne

        His head is that big…gotta cram that ego in someplace!!!

    • D

      Unkind, but I had the same thought.

  • Scottie

    BFD indeed! I think, based on the rectangular teaser box next to his head that starts with “His Age,” it is obvious that the t-shirt is part of the headline. I think it is a fantastically creative way to use otherwise wasted space on the cover to sell what is inside.
    I would think, however, that they would have/should have informed Armstrong that they were going to do that before going to press.

    • Erin

      Why would they do that? Now ‘Outside’ has tons of free press from his complaint about it…

  • Callie

    I wouldn’t like it if a magazine made me appear to be wearing clothing that I didn’t and wouldn’t wear.

    • paula

      I agree, Callie. And it’s not like he’s suing them or he called a press conference; he just tweeted his irritation on his personal Twitter account. He’s entitled to that, so all this backlash here is ridiculous.

      • Jalene

        And I was just wdoenrnig about that too!

  • Randi

    I thought they messed up his face; it looks contorted.

  • Brian

    I would think that the magazine would want you engaged in how you’re image is going to fit into the story and therefore be upfront with you about what it’s planning. And if the decision is made later, then tell the person after the fact. it’s certainly not a heinous crime that they committed, but I’m just at a bit of a loss as to why they didn’t notify camp armstrong.

  • Heather

    Why not just make up the shirt and ask him to wear it? Why fake him actually wearing the shirt? Him ‘wearing’ the shirt makes it seem that it is his opinion, not the photographer’s or the editor’s. I agree that he should be miffed that they put words into his mouth, so to speak!

    • Jenn

      I think you hit the nail on the head, Heather.

    • daisyj

      Exactly. It’s hardly an offensive statement, but it isn’t one he chose to make. If they had put it next to him as a headline there would be no issue.

    • caryn

      I agree, Heather. Wearing the shirt makes it seem like he’s insecure about his age, even though it says BFD. Just bringing up age makes it seem like he wants to prove something, not just race. My guess is Lance wants to be judged as an athlete, not an ‘old’ athlete.

  • nodnarb

    I subscribe to Outside, and considering they put Lance on the cover about 3 times a year, they probably don’t want to tick him off. It would be like Robert Pattinson refusing to work with Entertainment Weekly.

    • Deb

      You mean all it would take to end the Pattinson oversaturation would be a cover featuring him in a photoshopped “I ♥ Vajayjay” shirt?

  • Rumilover

    It’s trickery and adding an editorial content that he didn’t submit, they did. AND they objectified him… thus using him without regard to better themselves fiscally. Which, as he said, is lame bulldookie and weak, indeed.

  • Juls1314

    His face looks contorted because he is only 3 weeks from the Tour de France. the goal is to be about 4% body fat or less. He will look even skinnier as the Tour goes on.
    The sunken cheeks are a dead give away to the fitness level of a cyclist.

    • D

      To me, cyclists are amongst the least attractive athletes out there. The professional ones anyway :)

      • chris

        you’ve only seen the continental riders – check out the europeans. i bet you’ll change your mind.

      • Jelana

        The Columbians look pretty good too.

      • yuck

        like 340 pound nfl linemen are attractive? cyclists are true athletes.

      • Ashtrash

        Yeah but they are arguably some of the best athletes in the world…

  • Lisa Simpson

    Jetpacks are nice, but where’s my robot maid?

    • Jana

      Yes! And the thing that gets you out of bed and dresses you and styles your hair every morning. I want that!

      • Chuck O’Ceallaigh

        You people are lame AND stupid. Almost all high level competetive cyclists get very lean during the season. Those of you suggesting drug use…. get a life. I bet that not one of you knows anything about cycling AND you condemn a man who has NEVER tested positive for illegal substances. His own competitors in the peleton for the most part greatly respect him. Most of you couldn’t dream of competing at the level he does. You are all jealous. The person explaining the 4% body fat seems to be the only one knowing what they are talking about. As to is the photoshop ethical? No it is not no matter what the content. It should NEVER be done without consent period!

      • Ashtrash

        Well said, Chuck I completely agree. Funny, I bet if you asked a majority of Lance-bashers here to name another elite cyclist other than Lance, most would be hard-pressed to come up with one, let alone a team. (“What? Cycling’s a team sport? Huh?”) I find it ironic that people who know very little about the sport all of a sudden become experts when it comes to Lance and any doping allegations.

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