Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Early Wednesday Roundup

ESPN's Bonnie DeSimone writes that yesterday Floyd Landis ended up where he started out last July, with his character in doubt in the public's mind, and USDA lawyers were happy to take the emphasis away from the science of the case. The Landis lawyers were far happier to spotlight that science however, and Dr. Simon Davis' testimony went just the way they would have hoped it would:

Smiling pleasantly, Davis said he considered Landis' carbon-isotope ratio test results "completely unreliable" for a variety of reasons.

He elaborated over the next three hours, citing sketchy calibration and pressure settings; the 20-year-old software used to process results; improper discretion by lab technicians in re-processing the electronic data files associated with the test results; and the fact that he was not permitted to see whether lab technicians were using an updated operating manual.

Testimony is expected to conclude today with perhaps closing arguments as well.

USAToday's Sal Ruibal reviews yesterday's Landis hearing news, with no bombshells, but plenty of fallout from the last one in the trial.

does a review of yesterday's assorted happenings at the Landis hearings and wries a brief preview of the final day's events.

NPR's Morning Edition now has the audio available of a piece done this morning on the Landis case and on the character aspect of the story.

WNBC runs an op-ed on the evils od drugs in sport, and comes to the conclusion that all the bums who dope need to get out.

The IHT posts comments from TdF director Christian Prudhomme that though some strides are being made, doping is still killing cycling. His comments were made in response to the OP scandal and the Floyd Landis case.

The Herald Sun has a short review of yesterday's testimony of Floyd Landis, but also has more on the depth of the doping scandal surrounding Jan Ullrich as two former Telekom (now T-Mobile) teammates who admit to doping.

The NY Time's Lee Jenkins tells us that yesterday's final day of testimony by Floyd Landis was largely spent on the juicier details of the incident last week involving his former manager and Greg LeMond, rather than on the science upon which the case is based.

Also from the NY Times Selena Roberts writes, in a rather mean spirited way, that Floyd Landis attempted to defend himself a la Lance Armstrong, and even made some of the same bad choices Lance may have made.

The Contra Costa Times gives us a bit of a different perspective on the Landis case from yesterday by beginning the piece with a comment on Landis' appearance.

USAToday SportsScope peruses the net to find differing coverage via mainstream news and blogs, of the Landis case. There's something for every opinion.

The San Jose Mercury News does an update of an AP piece from yesterday in which it is stated that Floyd Landis' character was on trial yesterday and not the science by which USDA is supposed to judge the case.

Reuters also posts a story in which the science of the case is totally lost in the "character" issue.

The Albany Times Union gives us the sorry state of sports with a newly specialized apology titled "The Geoghegan".

The Minneapolis St. Paul Star Tribune's Rachel Blount posts a piece about the pollution in sports that is doping, and we missed it in all of the coverage from Monday. She thinks that Floyd Landis was wearing the perfect color after the TdF, yellow.

Rant , in his regular column, previews today's Landis hearing session with perhaps his last "warm up" on this topic. He also feels compelled to comment on the Selena Roberts NYT piece referenced above for which she is the recipient of his "the snark of the century". Most deserved. In other bits of business Rant also looks at yesterday's testimony by Simon Davis, who is expected to face cross examination today. Rant posts his first update of the day with a review of this AM's continued testimony of Dr. Simon Davis, and then the cross by USADA lawyers.

Dugard is in The Big Easy" and thinks that if you go there you need to acknowledge Katrina and its effect on the people still living in NOLA. He also comment briefly on the Landis hearings yesterday and still feels that Floyd has it, character that is.

LI Biz Blog notes that Floyd Landis will be in Huntington, NY on June 28 at the book revue to promote "Positively False".

Everyman Triathlon thinks that athletes should be free to choose to use PEDs if they wish, just as fans should be free to choose not to watch a particular sport if THEY choose.

The First 100 Miles Sara Best is in love with Dr. Simon Davis who testified for the defense yesterday in the Landis hearings
. Dr. Davis brought the hearings back to where they belong, the science.

Pommi observes that to almost everyone's relief the final day of testimony in the Landis hearings is about to begin.

SayOw's Blog notes that today is the final day of the Landis hearings, and finds it a little hard to find much of the science testified to. He also thinks that Landis will be found guilty, unless there is another bombshell, God forbid.

Suitcase of Courage posts a reader rant that is unexpectedly honest, from a certain point of view that is.

Bicycle.Net wants you to know that IF you want to cleanse your mind from some of the nastiness aimed at Floyd Landis these days read his recommendations. Rant is one of them.

The New Common Sense tells us that they considered a trip to the Landis hearings, but went riding instead. It's all over with anyway today, in so many ways.

The Marc Majeau Experience
gives Floyd Landis 0% chance of regaining the respect of America because of revelations from his hearings.

The Stuff Worried uses a bit of a stretch in logic to conclude that he will be banned by WADA when he rides his bike in Europe.

Spokes 'n Folks feels that someone may wind up with a black eye due to the Landis scandal, but that shouldn't mean that cycling itslef ends up that way. No one person or entity IS cycling.

Rant gives us a special edition this AM in which TBV correspondent and translator Marc posts a Vincent Hube L'Equipe piece from last week that is fair and balanced.

Triple Crankset revisits yesterday's testimony in the Landis hearings, and gives a preview of what we might expect today.

Sportsblog ws asks the question, does anybody know what's going on with the Landis hearings? Of one thing he seems sure, Floyd will not keep the TdF title.
is convinced after yesterday's testimony by defense witness Simon Davis, the LNDD is completely incompetent.


Anonymous said...

Does there exist some sort of overseeing organisation which polices the performance of USADA or the arbitration panel. I know this can be taken to CAS by either party, but what would happen (in the USA) if a hearing produced a clearly questionable judgement ?

In other word, is there somebody looking over the shoulder of the arbitration panel to ensure they do their job properly ?

Anonymous said...


The appeal to the CAS would be the only recourse.

There is some debate among legal people whether they could find recourse in U.S. civil court, but that would be only after CAS and it's not clear still.

On another level, 2/3 of their funding comes from the U.S. government, but Will put an end to any possible effective appeal in that arena.

Anonymous said...

Question for the Judge - In my experience, AAA cases permit the panel to award attorney's fees and costs to the prevailing party, even if there is no contractual right to them in the underlying contract. What about this case? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I think it is kind of funny how throughout TbV everyone is always concerned about the arbs being biased. In the same breath, they know that Campbell is in the bag for Landis, but that's cool, cause he's in the bag for their side. Is fairness on the panel not a two way street? If no ISL violations are found, everyone from Hue on down seem to think Landis will lose 2-1. That means Campbell is by far the most biased guy in the courtroom. Why is that OK? If no ISL violations are found Landis certainly ought to lose 3-0, not 2-1.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:58,

Part of your point is well taken.

I think the reason Campbell IS NOT discussed more, is that it is unlikely that he will be part of the Majority. If, Campbell were part of a 3-0 decision, I would find that significant.

I submit this case has ALWAYS been 2-1 against Landis, and the past 10 days, Theater. I am not convinced that even with Dr. M-A's "devine intervention" that will change.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dragon -
Why do you think it is 2-1 for USADA, and why do you consider the past 10 days theater?

Anonymous said...

selena roberts has a hack piece in the New York Times today.

Anonymous said...

Swimyouidiot ... Thanks

Anon 4:58 ... There is bias. Both sides picked an individual who they believed would be sympathetic to their arguements. The third member was presumably a compromise (or had an unknown bias ?).

I'm biased in my opinions. I don't try to hide that fact, although my question on the policing of the panel was just a hypothetical one.

Anonymous said...

I think believing that McLaren will definitely vote for USADA and Campbell for Landis is not giving these guys nearly enough credit. Wonder what Campbell would say if told he was a yes man for Landis, and might as well just stay home watching Oprah for a week and a half before phoning in his vote for Floyd without considering the evidence. I submit he would find that to be pretty offensive.

Anonymous said...

The arbitrators have a difficult task ahead. On the one side they have a number of witnesses that may (or may not) be biased towards USADA and who confirm that there is clear evidence of doping, even if soome of the proof isn't picture perfect. One the other side you have a number of witnesses that may (or may not) be biased towards Floyd who say the results are not acceptable.

They have to sift through all this, with their own inevitable biases, and defend a decision that not everyone will agree with regardless of what it is.

This is far from a rubber stamping process, and hopefully will result in a coherent outcome.

strbuk said...

Anon, yes Ms Roberts does have a "hack" of a piece in the Times. But about one things she is correct, Floyd Landis grappled with the public image of himself far more than Lance Armstrong ever has. Lance doesn't seem to care what people think, so he just does what he does.


Anonymous said...

Lance doesn't care what people think? You have GOT to be kidding.

strbuk said...

Anon, I guess to clarify, I don't think that Lance Armstrong would ever take a popularity poll to see what his next move should be.


Anonymous said...

Anon 5:25,

Several reasons:

1.) I'm a cynic
2.) The process with all of the politics and power issues, seem likely to carry more weight than any science.
3.) Previous rulings seem to break that way with few exceptions.

I hope I'm wrong, but every so often, reality sets in and I take off my "rose colored" eye shades.


Anonymous said...

If Lance had ever been tried for doping, in the manner that Floyd has been forced to . . . he too would have had to cross into PR territory that was never really required. Should Lance have been tried, in the manner that Floyd is now, I am confident that we would have seen different dimension of his PR machinery. It's not really a fair comparison.

Anonymous said...

Selena Roberts just expressed what most of America thinks- that Floyd and his "posse" are just a bunch of hacks.
Gotta finish my Jack Daniels- hopefully big things will happen later today on the group ride.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:58

To me, Campbell seems to be the truly neutral party in this panel. His questions and decisions appear to be aiding both sides. Whereas Brunet and McLaren (combined, leaving out Campbell in early decisions) appear to be aiding USADA.

Someone mentioned how the pairing down to Brunet and McLaren occurs during the selection process that favors USADA previously in the comments section.

With the appearance of the selection process favoring USADA and with the WADA Rome Lab employee assisting the 3 panelists, that's where the bias of 2-1 guilty verdict reveals itself.

Anonymous said...

"Mean spirited" is actually one of the nicer things you could say about Selena Roberts. She jumped on the bandwagon in the Duke lacrosse case and had those folks convicted and hanged early on. Even after the truth came out in that case, she insisted that something happened, mostly because those boys were white and rich. Many, many grains of salt required to read what she writes.

strbuk said...

Frankly I dislike have to characterize a posting when I put it up, I want to be as objective as I can be. But in this case it was difficult.


Anonymous said...

Regarding the panel members. The parties could only choose from a list of WADA pre-approved arbiters. Landis did choose Campbell, but Campbell's record is not always voting for the athlete; he has gone both ways and more often against as I understand it. He was chosen because he had a reputation for being open minded. Wada chose one (I don't remember which) and the two could not agree on a third. A mechanism was invoked that generated a list of arbiters and each appointee struck someone in turn until one (the lest objectionable(?) to each) was left. TBV can correct me if I am wrong on this.

The arbitration rules require each arbiter to be neutral and not an advocate for whoever appointed them. The perceived bias of the panel expressed by many here is based on the actions of the panel prior to the start of the hearing where two disagreed with Campbell - who filed a blistering dissent based on fairness - and then failed to even consult him in ruling on a Landis motion.

At least many of the folks who have been following this long term are more comfortable with Campbell having an open mind that will be influenced by Landis' experts than they are with the other two.

Add to this the fact that the panel picked an "independent expert" to protect the interests of the athlete in fairness. That person (Bostre) turned out to be the head of the WADA lab in Rome and he has been present throughout the hearing. Although not confirmed, it appears that the only purpose of this is so that he can advise the panel during its deliberations. This causes concern for those who were exposed to the testimony and descriptions of the activity of other WADA lab heads during the USADA/WADA case and the disclosure of the WADA ethical code that prohibits personnel of certified labs from testifying for athletes and requires them to be "good neighbors".

Bostre's potential role out of the public eye is a wild card and a reason that many are not saying that this is guaranteed to be a win for Landis. It is far from a perfect world and the result is gong to be determined by a panel that may well be less than totally neutral.