Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tuesday Roundup

Quote of the Day

[T]he dysfunctional trolls over at WADA have brazenly decided to make things even worse by lifting the USADA "gag order" on yapping unrestrained to the press basically whenever a rider has the temerity to assert his rights or innocence. Why? Of course, it's all Floyd Landis' fault, for publicly questioning USADA's actions for no valid reason whatsoever and thereby leaving the hamstrung innocents helpless to defend themselves against the boy's hideous unprovoked assault.


The Columbia Journalism Review's Jennifer Hughes writes a considered piece about Floyd Landis, the media perception of the guilt or innocence of accused athletes, and the inception of the "wiki defense". She attended the FFF event recently held in Lancaster , PA and spoke to many of the principles in the legal fight for Floyd Landis. She also spoke with Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times about the presse's complicated relationship with the accused athlete:

Recently Landis has begun generating more nuanced press coverage. The change is largely the result of his Wiki Defense, in which he posted 370 pages of his test documents online in the hope of unearthing experts and explanations for the suspicious result. “Wiki” refers to the open editing systems best embodied by Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that relies on a wisdom-of-crowds approach to verifying the accuracy of its entries. Landis is the first athlete to use the Internet in this way, and the move sparked a series of debates on blogs and in chat rooms as scientists and other experts responded to the documents

“There was an assumption that the process was bullet-proof, that you couldn’t fool the lab,” said Michael Hiltzik, a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. In December he wrote a two-part series called “Presumed Guilty” that examined the internal workings of the anti-doping system. “Because of the Wiki, I’ve been able to take the documents to experts and get them to walk me through it,” said Hiltzik. “If he [Landis] hadn’t posted the documents, there wouldn’t be this emerging body of online discussion that questions the lab process.

The effect of the Wiki Defense has been to circumvent the mainstream media by generating online debate. Cycling chat forums buzzed with scientific questions and Landis himself, unscripted and initially unbeknownst to his defense team, joined a forum. The debate rages on, but the chatter provided reporters with scientific questions—and expert sources—they might not have otherwise known to ask, or had access to.

While she concludes that the "wiki defense" may not be able to overcome the media's pack mentality and rush to judgement, the perception that we must take the establishment's word as truth and accept results at face value may be a thing of the past.

The Raw Story (AFP) posts a piece concerning the gag order that has been traditionally placed on WADA/USADA in relation to ongoing doping cases. In a statement late yesterday Dick Pound of WADA said that alterations to the current "code of silence" were being considered in part due to comments made on Sunday by Floyd Landis:

Dick Pound, chairman of Wada, said on Monday a proposed amendment to the World Anti-Doping Code's gag rule would make it easier for USADA to respond publicly when it believes athletes are making false or misleading statements about an ongoing probe.

"If something is completely nonsense where someone is challenging evidence by saying there is no reliable test for X and there is, then it would be nice to be able to say the test is reliable," Pound said on Monday.

Under the current regulations, USADA will not comment on cases unless the athlete under investigation waives the right to privacy.
On Sunday, American cycling hero Floyd Landis accused USADA of using "criminal" tactics in their a case against him. Landis is fighting to keep his 2006 Tour de France title after a positive drug test.

Pound said the proposed changes to the World Anti-Doping Code are on the agenda for the third World Conference on Doping in Sport which runs from November 15-17 in Madrid, Spain.

"The consultation process started last fall," Pound said from his home in Montreal. "We are going to decide whether or not to amend the code. If there is stuff being made public that is mis-information then you can decide to respond to it so the public and athletes are not confused."

Landis said on Sunday he was considering an appeal to the US Department of Justice to investigate the use of government funds in the adjudication of his anti-doping proceedings.

One wonders what the result will be for Mr Pound when there is a relaxation of the WADA gag order. Anyway, this story is all over the place.

The CyclingNews covers the above story on the potential relaxation of the WADA "gag order".

NYT covers DriveGate after talking about Basso.

PezCycling News prints an interesting study of emotions and their relation to the competitive cyclist by Marvin Zauderer. In this installment he emphasizes the anxiety/anger family of emotions, the three stages of emotion being: arousal associated with each, that leads to a prescribed behavior, and is followed by the conscious experience of the emotion itself. Floyd Landis is cited as an excellent example of how to efficiently tap anger through his Stage 17 ride of the Tour de France last summer.

Antipodes is disillusioned about cycling. He's thinking the worst is likely about Floyd Landis, but still uses "apparently". OP blood bags sicken him, but he maintains a semblance of humor with the doping cartoon. (This is apparently a side effect of testosterone doping.)

Racejunkie goes two days in a row, today lighting into WADA's proposed relaxation of the gag rule; see the QoD.
There's more in a similar vein, then she goes after Bjarne Riis...

Rant discusses the idea of lifting the WADA gag rule under the title "Mr. Pound's latest bad idea", concluding:

Pound should consider this: Even though his term as czar will come to an end in about 6 months; historically, czars have been overthrown. How much abuse will athletes take before they revolt? If Dick Pound has his way, the revolution may come sooner. Than again, perhaps that would be a good thing.

Go Faster Jim makes the suggestion that a strong union is what professional road cyclists need. He gives a couple of examples that explain how he has come to this conclusion:

Floyd Landis seems doomed. The evidence is stacked against him as are the procedures for determining guilt or innocence. Data being erased, Landis' experts denied access to the testing of the B sample- hell, just the testing of the B samples in the absence of an "A" positive smacks of impropriety. Due process is denied when an accused person cannot even get access to the data and/or evidence being used to determine his guilt. I don't know if Landis is guilty or innocent, but the whole way his case has been handled stinks.

Yesterday Spanish authorities released 6,000 pages of additional evidence about Puerto. This is in addition to the 500 pages previously released. The list of implicated riders has grown to over 100. That's 1200% more evidence than presented last year. So, where was all this stuff before? Conveniently it appears a week or so before the Giro. Then everyone runs around screaming "kick 'em out!" Tinkoff for his part basically said "go to hell" until you have more than just speculation. Hamilton has said test my DNA and in fact pulled a piece of hair out to give to a reporter. None of this new evidence is conclusive, it is all circumstantia

Cubist_1 rambles about cycling, Floyd Landis' innocence, and varying opinions on who has won the Tour de France in the past.

Gordon thinks Dopers Suck,

Cyclings biggest stars just keep getting caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Millar, Hamilton, Heras, Ullrich, and now Basso. Please note that I left 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis off that list. Why? Because he's freakin' innocent, that's why! Don't get me started!

Spinnin' Wheel has a lot to say about patience -- it's hard to ask Landis to exercise any, but still...

Daily Spin news looks like a clipping service that takes the heads of articles elsewhere and then sends you to the original. It's carrying Bill Hue's Daily Peloton piece, and BikeBiz on DiskGate, quoting us.

Reusch's Rants is beginning to become convinced that Floyd Landis may actually be a victim in this whole doping affair.

Snark O' the Day
The Adventure Blog comments on Landis' possible bankruptcy with this warm thought:

I don't think anyone is lining up to have the guy endorse anything. Well, maybe The Whizzinator.

At DPF, Floyd chimes in on the "relax the gag rule" topic:

Floyd: This is great news, and very easy to execute. Now they can just call them "statements" instead of "leaks". And for the part of Mr. Pound, we can change it to "commenting" as opposed to "breaking the goddamn rules".

later, defending the tone of his press releases:

Floyd: With all respect, the only reason that they appear so transparently manipulative is because you are a sceptic. How do you reword a statement about a destroyed hard drive which has been physically removed from a computer to look like the other side is doing everything in their power to get to the truth. Would it help if every now and then, I sent out a release with some compliments just to augment the others which tell the truth?

One of his non-fans even comes to his defense:

I just think it's funny that some here are arguing with floyd whether his own PR is biased or not. If anyone, he should be biased.

RoadbikeReview forums chew into DriveGate.

Thought for the Day

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. -Buddha-


Anonymous said...

RE: Dick Pounds lack of comments from "the Raw Story"
WOW! I can only describe my reaction as shock and awe. no "verbal cluster bombs" from Dick!? AMAZING!
Talk about twists and turns in the case. This is front page stuff, I can read the headline now, Extra, Extra; "Dick Speechless; Finds Nothing to Pound."

Just trying to help Floyd smile today:)

A-town, Tx.

Daniel said...

Looks like attempts to erase the Poundster's hard drive have failed, he's repeating the same generalizations about "misinformation" and tests being "reliable".

Theresa said...

Pound used this as a way of saying exactly what he wanted, under the guise of defending WADA! When, please tell me, has the man EVER showed any restraint in what he says, what a joke!

Gary said...

Awesome. Floyd's back on DPF and now the USADA has more to read for discovery.

Floyd makes a good point in there, though. How would any of us react to this situation? We all can sit here, above the fray, making comments but we have no idea.

Jeff said...

Just curious if there has been discussion as to what Floyd's punishment would be if he is found guilty. Would it be a 2 year ban, or lifetime ban? And has the punishment increased with all the hysteria created over his public defense?

If it has been previously covered, please let me know or point me to it.

Anonymous said...

What I find so hypocritical about the comments in DPF is the comparison to TH (and you all know I bear that staff). In the big scheme of things, Tyler was quiet. AND he was damned for the statements he made, when he made them. Floyd, on the other hand, gets damned by the haters for being so vocal. So, what is it, you Puritans? You want silence like Sir Thomas More, so you can behead him? Or do you want vocal criticism and defense, like MLK, so you can assasinate HIS character. Which is it? Vociferous defense or meek one?

Anonymous said...

the meek shall inherit the shit

Anonymous said...

That's a great article by Jennifer Hughes. Thanks for posting the link. I don't think any journalist other than Hiltzik has shown such an understanding of the case. Most just accept the test results as gospel even if they think the lab is incompetent and/or corrupt. Good stuff.

~ Cub

pommi said...

Don't miss Strider:

Somewhat more mellow than in the last posts about Floyd Landis, after discovering that doping in cycling in Australia seems a lot worse .. and he and TBV are buddies now.