Monday, August 07, 2006

Stay on target

Floyd is starting to mount a counter-offensive in the media today, with appearances on quite a number of outlets. Much of what he is saying is sensible, but I fear is getting dragged into side issues that will not help the two major issues

  • Understanding what really happened
  • Clearing his name and showing his character.
There are some red herrings in the discussion that ought to have canned answers, with focus directed back to the real issues.
  1. Did it make sense to go on a one-day doping plan? No, it didn't. A real question is whether Floyd was on a long-term doping program that went out of balance on that day to cause a T/E ratio failure. This will need to be addressed as part of understanding what really happened.
  2. Unfairness about the handling of the protocol. Boo Hoo. It's not fair, and complaining gets the athlete nowhere in the process. Floyd was doing better with his no-excuses "I don't expect any sympathy". He needs to beat them even with the unfairness. Even if anyone did care about the fairness, winning an argument based on process rather than the facts of the testing will fail the goal of clearing his name.
  3. Secret Agendas. Yup, somebody is out to get him, but whinging about motivations and methods is pointless until there are counter-facts that address what happened with the chemical results.
The burden of proof is now on Floyd -- he needs to prove that there is something legal that accounts for the results. Everything he knows about process from a lifetime of exposure to the US legal system is irrelevant. He's now presumed guilty by the factual evidence unless he can demonstrably show the evidence is incorrect or misinterpreted. CSI makes the claim that "the evidence doesn't lie." The evidence now says, prima-facie, that he's guilty. That evidence must be shown to be false by alternative evidence demonstrating misinterpretation.

What will help?

Go take a look at groklaw for how an open examination of case and process can be done. Someone collects and publishes all the available documents, and allows commentary. Even when the commentary is biased, the collection of documents shows what is going on. It is also a way of getting the procedural complaints out in the open without taking up air time to whine about them. One posts the released statements with links to what the process should have been, and the conclusions are obvious in the commentary.

If anyone near Floyd is reading, encourage him to post all the documents he's gotten, with no editing or redactions except for names and phone numbers that wouldn't be fair to reveal. The bad guys have all this information already. You might as well let people who'd like to help see what your are up against.


CasualTourFan said...

I'm a very casual fan of the Tour de France, and I'm learning all kinds of things from reading blogs. I knew almost nothing about the supposedly prevalent use of PEDs in cycling, but have read a number of theories on the internet in the past few days.

Some people think that virtually all professional cyclists are using something illegal. It's nearly impossible for a casual fan to even assess the truth regarding this issue. A person could become informed, assuming there's reliable information to be had, but many people make reference to the culture of secrecy surrounding drug use in professional sports.

I'd say the majority of more "sophisticated" (serious) sports fans have now or will soon conclude that Floyd Landis is "guilty". But I think there will be a substantial percentage of casual fans of the Tour who will continue to wonder and to give Floyd the benefit of the doubt.

I've read a couple of interviews of Floyd from well before this year's Tour. He certainly didn't come across as being sophisticated, but he doesn't come across as being stupid, either.

Maybe he really is innocent. Maybe he's who he appears to be: An honest, decent person. Maybe he needs to hire a PR team to help him with his media appearances.

JimmyMc said...

If you caught any of Floyd's interviews prior to the scandal, then you know that he could use some PR coaching. It is incredible to me that a team would pay an athlete that much money and not make sure the guy was coached at every turn, especially with regard to developments like this. Incredible. Lance's organization never made those kinds of missteps.

And on the issue of the violations of protocol, I totally disagree that it's a non-issue. This is one issue that Floyd, and others, must keep hammering away at--this goes to the heart of the evidence against him. It's like when a cross-examining attorney can discredit what a witness says about something in particular simply by establishing that said witness has lied about something else. Leaking facts prematurely strongly suggests an agenda.