First, this claim is being picked up by some of my Facebook friends in a very articulate but completely misleading editorial in the Washington Post by Lance's biographer, Sally Jenkins. In reading this article, one should note that Sally Jenkins is a business partner with Lance and she doesn't want her books to be viewed as fairy tales.
Here is my response to this editorial and all those who buy into Lance's PR campaign.
Sally wrote the following:
Anyone who thinks an athlete has a fair shot in front of CAS should review the Alberto Contador case. Contador was found to have a minuscule, insignificant amount of clenbuterol in his urine during the 2010 Tour de France. After hearing 4,000 pages of testimony and debate, CAS acknowledged that the substance was too small to have been performance-enhancing and that its ingestion was almost certainly unintentional.Response: To say that Alberto Contador's sanction was improper is ridiculous. Contador, like Lance, agreed to follow certain rules. They entered into contracts saying they would not have Clenbuterol in their urine--even in miniscule amounts. Just because there is one line in the case that says Contador didn't have enough Clenbuterol to be performance enhancing ignores the fact that there may once have been enough Clenbuterol to be performance enhancing and the other evidence in his case showing the guy was almost certainly doping.
Even with this in mind however, we need to remember that Contador signed his license to race and, in doing so, agreed to accept sanctions by anti-doping authorities if he was found to have even miniscule amounts of some PEDs, including Clenbuterol, in his body. Contador was responsible to make sure he didn't accidentally or intentionally get Clenbuterol in his body. Tour de France athletes are very diligent in eating the right stuff. Anyone who buys Contador's story that he ate some bad beef that a friend gave him is also probably looking for Bernie Madoff to get released from prison so he can invest with him. The anti-doping authorities that Contador agreed to be subject to ruled he should be sanctioned. Case closed.
Sally Jenkins also goes on about the former prime minister of Spain stating Contador was innocent. This part of her editorial is completely naive or biased on her part. Contador was a hero in Spain and Spain has some of the worst, if not the worst, doping problems in cycling of anywhere in the world. The country has a completely bogus process for sanctioning its athletes and they have teams and athletes getting caught out of the country all the time.
In any case, who cares if the former prime minister thinks Contador should maintain his national hero status? If President Obama said that OJ Simpson should be considered innocent since he was never proven to be a murderer would that be reason to believe OJ's story?! If you answer yes then buy into Sally Jenkins' argument. If not, recognize it as equally absurd as the OJ analogy!
USADA and WADA are Unfair
Here is another press release for Lance that Sally Jenkins wrote:
...(P)rofessional basketball player Diana Taurasi...has called the international drug testing bureaucracy “one of the most unfair processes you can be put through,”Well, if that's the case then the athletes should refuse to agree to follow the rules of the international testing bureaucracy. The players' unions have say in these matters. The way to change this is to change the contract, not to change the rules after you were found to have done something that violated the contract.
But of all the claims that the process is unfair made by Sally Jenkins, this one gets top honors for naivety:
How does an agency that is supposed to regulate drug testing strip a guy of seven titles without a single positive drug test?This is the silliest statement in the whole column. Is she really that ignorant? I doubt it. She's banking on most of her readers being ignorant though. Here's why.
First, Lance agreed to the rules he is being held to. The rules say that athletes can be sanctioned on "non-analytical" grounds such as convincing testimony of others. Lance has over ten teammates who are willing to sacrifice their own reputation by admitting to doping on his team and seeing him do the same. One more apparently came forward this week and offered to testify even though nobody asked him to. He, like many of the others, will, presumably, get no significant benefit out of doing so while damaging his reputation and standing among friends and family by admitting to being a doper and a fraud.
In addition, it appears Sally Jenkins hasn't read this article, published yesterday in the same paper publishing her editorial. The article spells out how athletes can easily avoid being caught doping. In addition, Lance isn't the first one to be sanctioned without ever failing a doping test. Marion Jones used to offer the fact that she never failed a doping test as evidence she was innocent before she confessed to doping.
Is USADA Unconstitutional?
Ultimately, some are picking up on claims by Armstrong that USADA's process is unconstitutional and unfair. Lance's multi-million dollar legal team (a team that has a history of defending the toughest cases), could not convince a federal judge that USADA's arbitration process was unfair. But what about the statements the judge made that were critical of USADA? Remember, he ruled that USADA's case can proceed. That should be the bottom line. Again, taking things out of context and grabbing a few lines makes it sound like USADA was abusive.
What Lance doesn't want people to know is why the judge spoke harshly toward USADA. That is, the judge was concerned that USADA hadn't made their evidence known to Lance. They charged him but didn't tell him many details about what they had for evidence. This sounds pretty bad. How can Lance defend himself if he doesn't know what evidence they are claiming?
The answer is simple: USADA explained that they were temporarily withholding their evidence because of concern for witness intimidation. If you know what happened to Tyler Hamilton, you'll know that Lance has done that previously. USADA wanted to protect their evidence until they were certain to follow the due process that ensures they can arbitrate the case. They didn't want to let the world know what their evidence was if they weren't going to be allowed to be the prosecutor. Doesn't sound so bad now does it?
In the end, the judge ruled that USADA's process would lead to a fair outcome; what more can USADA ask for! This should be hard to argue with! He didn't rule against USADA because USADA's process IS fair. He was warning USADA to reveal their evidence and they said they will give Lance and his legal team several months notice to review the evidence before they have to defend him. You have to know the whole story--not selected tidbits.
Who's the Bad Guy and Who are the Victims?
The bottom line is that Lance Armstrong gave up because he was guilty of doping for several years and there is overwhelming evidence that he could not fight in the end. This case is not about USADA being the bad guy! Lance was one of many in that era who doped; there is virtually zero doubt among those who know this sport that Lance cheated and broke the rules and was likely the worst cheater of them all. He should be punished and the truth revealed.
If you want to consider who is the bad guy, think of the many people whose lives were damaged because Lance didn't want the truth revealed. Think of Betsy and Frankie Andreu and the many others.
Those hurt by him include some who lost millions by his actions to protect himself including Greg LeMond. Others lost millions including SCA Promotions who lost $7.5 million that they are due since Lance doped. Incidentally, Lance is hoping the evidence against him is never validated by a court of law so that SCA and others can't sue him and get their money back. I'm pretty sure that is one reason Lance called it quits before going through arbitration.
Anyone who makes USADA out to be the bad guy in this is basically either a fairy-tale hero worshipper, naive or has some money or fame in the game that they want to protect.
What are you talking about?? You said, "Lance is hoping the evidence against him is never validated by a court of law." A court of law is exactly what Lance has been saying he has a constitutional right to.ReplyDelete
Will, he had his day in court. The court said, to dispute this, go to arbitration, as you agreed. He chose not to go to that arbitration to contest evidence. Its like not showing up to contest a speeding ticket. They find you guilty, and you don't get to say you were innocent and the cop was lying and have anyone believe you. You didn't show up to contest it in the proper forum.Delete
lol wow. just b/c someone says they "have" a "right" to something doesn't mean that they have any intention of exercising that right, nor would it make sense for them to do so!Delete
Small quibble - hack columnist Sally Jenkins writes for the Washington Post.ReplyDelete
Thanks for pointing that out--I've updated the post accordingly.Delete
I love it when people use the phrase "bottom line" in a way that indicates they don't actually know what it means. If you TRULY want the "bottom line", here it is: "INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY". "Nuff said.ReplyDelete
He conceded guilt by not disputing the charges. If a defendant in a court of law pleads guilty, that's the end of it. What Lance did was the equivalent. Also, before you point out that USADA's process isn't a court of law, let me note that the process was sanctioned by a federal judge and is considered an appropriate legal alternative (also Lance made a legal commitment to be subject to that process).Delete
Lance agreed to accept sanctions IF he tested positive. The USDA can't have ut both ways. If they use positive tests to convict, they have to use negative tests to exonerate.Delete
No, Lance agreed to subject himself to WADA, UCI, and USADA authority. A federal judge ruled that USADA is acting in a manner consistent with its own rules (thus, Lance's rights to due process are not being violated).Delete
Court of Public Opinion! Lance 1, USDA 0, Lance wins where it counts! Your reasoning is flawed btw!ReplyDelete
Where is his reasoning flawed? Also, I've seen a few surveys in the last 24 hours or so that indicate that the majority of the public now believes that Lance doped--sounds like you have got the score wrong.Delete
Then you haven't been on Twitter or Facebook!Delete
Right, since Twitter and Facebook comments provide representative samples of public opinion...Delete
....as do you "few" surveys? Post them.Delete
Here is a non-representative survey, but despite being non-representative it still provides a clearer picture that an attempt to tally facebook/twitter comments: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=sportsnation&pollId=145298Delete
I haven't yet found the more representative survey(s) that I remember seeing. However, if anything, the ESPN survey would likely be biased in Armstrong's favor...
I totally agree with this analysis. I think it's kind of embarrassing that the Washington Post would publish an editorial by Jenkins, who obviously has too much skin in the game to be objective. Is she really going to admit that she was totally duped by Armstrong?ReplyDelete
Not very convincing. Off course USADA is not looking very good from a justice point of view.ReplyDelete
Just the fact that they condemn "suspect" in public before there is a final, public verdict motivated and supported by evidence is rather unusual, also in US law.
Perhaps in the accounting business not commenting equals pleading guilty, but "you have the right to remain silent" isn't just a cliche but does have some significance if I am correct.
Lance chose to avoid having a final, public verdict by not proceeding with the process. I can only say this so many times: A federal judge ruled that USADA's arbitration process was the appropriate place to dispute these claims AND that the proceedings would not violate Lance's constitutional right to due process. Lance didn't choose to "remain silent", he essentially pleaded guilty.Delete
There's no point repeating even once the basic facts and OBVIOUS realities that those who're too emotionally invested (or otherwise) in the myth are hell-bent on ignoring/denying/avoiding.Delete
Their response though does at least prove the validity of LA's approach - refuse to admit (directly) guilt and continue to attack (unjustly/falsely) the character/ethics/legitimacy of your accuser, and a whole gaggle of useful idiots will continue to worship you and defend you past all reasonable limits...
Lance Armstrong doped? WE DON'T CARE!ReplyDelete
Obviously you care enough to 1) have found your way to this esoteric blog and 2) comment accordingly.Delete
I find it strange that a man can win 7 Tour de France & stand tall in the saddle after every one of those wins, yet when the time has finally come to put the rumours of doping to bed once & for all, he capitulates & loses everything he ever rode for.ReplyDelete
Stand up for yourself Armstrong or you will be forever tainted & everything you sacrificed to reach the top of the pyramid will count for nothing. If I were innocent of these allegations I would fight tooth & nail to clear my name forever. Why won't you?
Here is something a little more level-headed from The Post...ReplyDelete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Worshipping and witch hunts come from the same subjective domain.ReplyDelete
(Pseudo) Legal offices who comment on cases before there is a public, motivated verdict - as USADA did - are not credible in my point of view.
(Pseudo) Legal offices who file inadequate charging letters aren't too credible either.
Judge Sparks: "Though USADA's woefully inadequate charging letter makes it difficult to say with certainty, it appears USADA's evidence will revolve more around eyewitness testimony than lab results."
Furthermore the role of prosecutor and judge appears to be combined in this case which is quite dubious.
And last but not least USADA didn't pay attention to the period of limitation for the cases. Going back to 1998 is beyond all reasonabilty and completely out of proportions.
Adding this up USADA does't portray itself as an unpartial authority, but as rather pre occupied with bringing down Armstrong.
You do realize that the only times anyone from USADA commented on the case was in response to Armstrong's public shrieks and vilification of USADA and the process, don't you?
The charging letter is irrelevant. I have read every word of it several times and it is obvious what Armstrong and five others were charged with. The minutiae the judge was looking for is called evidence and evidence doesn't get spelled out in a charging letter. Beyond that, the judge was satisfied that USADA would give Armstrong's team all the evidence as customary.
Your assertion that the prosecutor and judge are the same is false. USADA/Tygart is the prosecutor. The judge would be a three-person panel from the American Arbitration Association. USADA would pick person for the panel, Armstrong would pick a second, and those two would then agree on a third.
As for the statute of limitations, USADA believes they can be tolled for conspiracy. The fact is they were going to have to prove this to be the case in front of the AAA board before proceeding. Again, that is a protection.
Finally, if USADA were preoccupied with bringing down Armstrong, why didn't they charge him while he was winning his Tours, something that would've been far more devastating?
Here's some hot news for some of you to enjoy (others, maybe not...):ReplyDelete
"You have the right to remain silent" in USADA interpretation: if you do remain silent we take away 7 Tour victories instead of 5:ReplyDelete
Does that sound constitutional to you?
To me it sounds as yet another flagrant breacht of fair trial principles.
The "right to remain silent" is not at all applicable to this case. A better analogy is the "right" to not show up in court to dispute the charges against you, in which case, a default verdict would be filed against you. To repeat what has been said multiple times, a federal judge in Austin ruled that USADA's process would be fair to Lance and that it wouldn't violate his constitutional right to due process. Lance, by choosing not to proceed is not exercising his "right to remain silent," he is, in effect, pleading guilty.Delete
Correction 7 instead of 2.ReplyDelete
The judge didn't rule in advance that the process would be fair to Armstrong. Off course he didn't. No judge would do that in advance.ReplyDelete
Although the judge ruled the charging letter - which usually is the foundation of a criminal case - to be woefully inadequate, the judge ruled that a priori there are no major breaches of the defendant's rights and that there were sufficient means to appeal for the defendant afterwards if he would find his rights were violated. These possibilities fortunately not only include sports tribunals but also Swiss national judges.
The "pleading guilty reasoning" of Aaron to me seems irreconcilable with basic principles of criminal law. Also the fact that a defendant has the possibilty of "not proceeding" is quite remarkable in itself.
Today's statements of the USADA CEO that USADA would have been willing to limit the sanction to losing 2 Tour wins instead of 7 if he would cooperate destroys the little credibility USADA still had in my eyes.
I am not very familiar with American customs in criminal proceedings, but where I come from prosecutors do not negociate with defendants through public media.
Prosecutors should let the evidence speak for itself and not contribute to media shows.
Periods of limitation aren't meant to pressure defendant's, but they are meant as safe guards for legal security with a rather absolute nature.
I thank Number27 for correcting me on the subject of prosecutor and judge. I guess the fact the defendant's input is necessary to continue the procedings because he has to choose "his arbitrator" is an important factor and a weak point in the sport's law system.
I am quite curious how UCI and ASO will react the the outcome of this case. Also I'm interested in the period the defendant has left for appealing and when this period starts.
Actually, that 's precisely what the judge ruled. In his own words, USADA's arbitration rules "are sufficiently robust to satisfy the requirements of due process." If Armstrong were subjected to any unfairness in the arbitration process, he would be able to seek legal relief through US courts. However, as long as USADA followed its own rules (and the judge ruled that USADA HAS followed its own rules so far), Lance would have sufficient due process.Delete
What part of the "pleading guilty reasoning" seems irreconcilable with basic principles of criminal law? Also, note that this is a civil case, not a criminal case. If you were sued in a civil court for fraud and you didn't show up for trial, the judge would rule against you. Armstrong isn't choosing to "remain silent" he is choosing not to dispute USADA's charges, which is a de facto acceptance of those charges (i.e. the equivalent a guilty plea).
Regarding the comments by the USADA CEO, he wasn't offering some kind of deal to Armstrong--he is simply commenting on the rules in place. The statute of limitations had expired on 5 of the 7 Tour wins. However, the statute of limitations was extended because Lance continued to cover up his doping. Tygert was simply noting that if Lance had cooperated, USADA would have only been able to take away two of his titles. Because Lance continued to make efforts to cover up his doping, the statute of limitations was extended to include all of his Tour wins.
Due process is a sliding scale and is dependent on context - there are obviously many types of adjudicatory forums out there, and most of them do not require the same type of procedural fairness as a criminal court.Delete
I really enjoyed this article and agree with it.
----Also I'm interested in the period the defendant has left for appealing and when this period starts.---Delete
Armstrong can not appeal his own refusal of arbitration and subsequent sanction. The UCI can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if they think the case lacks merit. Personally, I hope they do appeal because then the entire case will be tried at CAS and the evidence will be laid bare. No more excuses.
USADA is not prosecutor and judge at the same time, but does take away 7 Tour wins?ReplyDelete
This trial is a civil trial, but there's no equality between both parties?
There's a sanction on refusing arbitration?
When you remain silent, you are punished (by a civil prosecutor) for a cover up?
Sorry guys, I am not following. (But still interested to see whether these remarkable USADA moves will be followed by UCI and ASO, because for me it is not obvious USADA has the authority to take away wins).
And still there are those who will not believe Armstrong was a cheat! I for one know if i did not cheat i would take it to the ends of the earth to prove that was the case. It seems some people would still excuse him even if they saw him imnjecting himself with epo written all over the syringue! Lance Armstrong has too much to lose by being exposed at Arbitration so he has taken the other option not to contest so he can still bad mouth anyone who says he cheated. So much for the 'I have had enough' when he is still moaning about a witch hunt.ReplyDelete
It also seems some people are worried about his losing his 7 TDF titles more than the fact he cheated! Take off your blinkered, biased glasses and see behind the BS that is the smokescreen being used to discredit USADA!!! so a bully and cheat can con the public once again. He was quick to sue people on the basis of 'prove it' yet now, not so quick to go the whole hog and have it all come out in the open. If he has had enough why are there still press releases of his coming out? Witch hunt? No..a body of people that want American athletes to be able to compete clean in the knowledge the man next to him is clean also and if he is not? he will be caught one day and exposed as a fraud!ReplyDelete
As for the idiot who said 'This is a sad day for America'.. No! its a great day for America because it says they have an organisation who is not afraid to catch the biggest of cheats and expose him even if he is one of their own. US sports have a right to be shown as clean! and cheats like Armstrong and Jones do them no good service at all. Remember how the West viewed the Eastern bloc,especially East Germany' as dope cheats? Well, America has been stained by the same accusation for the last 25 years and the USADA is giving back some respect to the many clean athletes competing for their country!ReplyDelete
Here's one of the best articles on doping in 1999.ReplyDelete
Here is why I think this process is unfair. If the USADA was really serious about cleaning up cycling here is what they would do. They would take all 10-12 witnesses and threaten them with all the scary stuff at their disposal to give up the names of every coach, trainer, manager and teammate they knew who either doped or helped someone or team dope. Then they would go after them and on and on until they were confident that they knew everyone involved in doping. The conspiracy is much much bigger than one rider. All the caught dopers who were set to testify against Lance were on different teams when caught. Surely there had to be a conspiracy on those teams as well. You surely don't believe that Landis and Hamilton were the only dopers on their teams do you? So once you have all the implicated riders then you would go back and retest their blood and urine samples from past races to prove they did or did not dope. If the USADA had that sort of intention then I would believe they really wanted to clean up the sport. Instead, they have been trying to build a case against Lance and his inner group, instead of going after the conspiracy on the Phonak team of Landis or Hamilton, or any other team in which they rode. They are going after Lance because he is brash, arrogant and unrepentant. Also, to imply that arbitration is a fair process is to ignore numerous studies on the process as well. Why are more and more corporations pushing consumers into arbitration? Because they have more control over the outcome. This isn't rocket science. The evidence is overwhelming. Sure Lance can pick one of the arbiter, but its a list of people compiled by the USADA. If there was a person on that list that routinely ruled for the athlete he/she wouldn't be on that list very long. Cycling, just like baseball turned a blind eye toward doping for decades. Once it was rampant they did the minimum to stop it because the sport was more exciting with dopers battling up mountains. It wasn't until one guy, a particularly brazen guy, dominated like no other cyclist in history, that doping became an issue. I guess another question we should ask is if the USADA can go back 12 years to penalize Lance who else should we go after? There are a number of pro athletes who were rumored to use PED's but never caught? Should we go after them as well? Where does it end? Florence Griffith Joyner? Anyone?ReplyDelete
Good post. The fact is that hero worshipers will always believe in their heroes because the mental cost of changing their mind is too high. Even if a positive test is recorded, they will rationalize their way around it (e.g., false positive, contaminated supplement, sample tampering, chain of custody, etc.). For example, see Ryan Braun's positive test for testosterone in major league baseball.ReplyDelete
One of Lance's former personal assistants, Mike Anderson, shares his story in Outside magazine.ReplyDelete
It sure seems that without his "cancer conquest," there is little, if anything, to like about Lance.
He already proved himself innocent in the drug tests...Lance Armstrong winner of 7 Tour de France titles...I wonder if any of your accusers would like to take a ride with you down that road.ReplyDelete