DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl says it’s “sad,” but he understands why Lance Armstrong used performing drugs.

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Throughout the years, Karl has voiced his strong support for Armstrong’s efforts to help fight cancer, and he says that while he doesn’t necessarily support him as an athlete, he said Friday still supports Armstrong the person in light of Armstrong’s admission to Oprah Winfrey this week that he doped during every one of his seven Tour de France victories.

“Do I support him as a person who has done a tremendous job for cancer research and cancer navigation? Hell yes I do,” said Karl, a recent throat cancer survivor. “I want Livestrong to survive. I don’t know if he’s going to be a part of that but I want his mission to continue. If I can help him do that or the Livestrong Foundation do that I will do that.”

Karl said he still respects Armstrong for his leadership and being an ambassador for all those who struggle against cancer.

“Livestreong is in my mind the No. 1 cancer navigation system for patients in cancer care right now,” he said.

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Karl says that he thinks it was when he was playing basketball professionally in the 1970s that he first heard about steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. He told CBS4’s Vic Lombard he’s not sure if he had been offered to take them he would have “had the ethics to say no.”

“Most of the information I have is that about 90 percent of the people were doing the same thing he was doing, and maybe it was a business decision more than it was an athletic decision,” Karl said. “But I don’t want to sit here and say that I totally support what he did, either.”

Karl said he still remains impressed with Armstrong’s ability to overcome a very threatening cancer and then to go on and become a world-class athlete.

“He must be a tremendously disciplined individual to do what he did,” Karl said.

Karl said he hasn’t yet watched the report on Winfrey’s OWN Network.

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