Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Late Roundup

If you missed some news from earlier today see the Friday Early Roundup

News
The Philadelphia Inquirer talks with Arlene Landis about the arbitration decision announced yesterday which essentially bans her son from competition until January of 2009 and strips him of his Tour de France title. Mrs. Landis believes in her son and finds that most of the residents of Ephrata, the nearest large town to Farmersville Floyd's hometown, believe him too. Still, she would not encourage him to appeal the loss and some locals agree with her.

Forbes.com speaks with Landis lawyer Maurice Suh who describes Landis as discouraged and still weighing his options. Suh lashed out at the arbitration panel who decided against Landis by a 2-1 margin:

"Here you have the perfect test case," Suh said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It's a case in which you had the athlete who attracted a lot of attention, who had the financial and personal wherewithal to go through the process of vigorously defending himself. He has great evidence. He hires lots of lawyers. Most of all, he was innocent. And he still can't get through this. It sends the message to every other athlete out there, 'Just don't try.'"
Suh said the case "has taken all kinds of toll on (Landis) emotionally and otherwise.
The attorney ripped the panel for its decision, saying the majority's repeated admonishments of the French lab that analyzed Landis' urine mattered little if they didn't result in a victory for his client
"These people are not legislators," Suh said. "They're not here to set policy about what should happen as a matter of course over time. They're there to listen to the case set before them."





Eyewitness Sports 3 posts a summary of yesterday's Landis decision plus it has video of an interview with Paul and Arlene Landis. Be patient it takes a while to load.

SI.Com provides an interview with frustrated Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme. He states that the system needs to process cases like the Landis case with more speed.

The Vail Daily posts an op-ed piece in which it sadly concludes that sometimes it seems cheating is the only way to win these days.

Bicycling's La Scene gives an overview of reaction from the cycling world abroad.

VeloNews posts its' own compendium of reaction to the Landis decision from Spain, and notes that most of it is muted, except that of Eusebio Unzue Oscar Pereiro's team director:

"A cheater has taken away his victory. For the past year, Oscar has been a rider who's been ‘out.' He's been distracted, not concentrated on the business of racing his bike and instead of celebrating his second place, he's been trying to live with this pressure of waiting for the process to be completed," Unzue said. "What he deserves is a gesture from the race organizers or an official presentation of the jersey. That would help him make up for missing the moment to enjoy the victory."


The San Diego Union Tribune was turned down by Floyd Landis for an interview, but still manages to tell the story of yesterday's decision.


King5.com posts an AP piece summarizing the decision that went against Floyd Landis.

USAToday Sports Scope notes the "hoist one to Floyd"set for 5:10 today your local time and also gives us Christopher Campbell's "money quote", thanks for the plug BTW:

"The T-E ratio test (which the arbitrators conceded was faulty) is acknowledged as a simple test to run. The IRMS test (the one they're using to convict Landis) is universally acknowledged as a very complicated test to run, requiring much skill. If the LNDD (French lab) couldn't get the T-E ratio test right, how can a person have any confidence that LNDD got the much more complicated IRMS test correct?

The USAToday reports that Oscar Pereiro has been declared the winner of the 2006 Tour de France by the UCI, but:

"Following the decision of the competent American authority to sanction the American cyclist Floyd Landis for doping, and in accordance with the International Cycling Unions regulation, the Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro is declared winner of the 2006 Tour de France," the statement said.

"The UCI has informed both the rider and the organizer of the event."

But Tour de France organizers say Pereiro will not get his crown quite yet — until it becomes clear whether Landis will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He has a month to do so.

The IHT/Sam Abt asks what if they gave a bike race and nobody came? It's postulated that things will now only get worse for cycling and cycling events with yesterday's Landis decision.



Blogs
The Environmental Chemistry Editor's Blog leads with part of the dissent of Landis arbitrator Christopher Campbell and is very disturbed by some of the findings of the panel with respect to the science produced by the LNDD:

In simple terms, yes there are problems at LNDD, yes the practices of the LNDD "lack the vigor the Panel would expect in the circumstances" and "other matters introduced in evidence" "do give some causes for concern," however we are going to ignore this and convict anyways. Good lord I hope these arbiters are never on the jury if I'm on trial.


PEM posts pictures of his toast to Floyd. Thanks PEM, great pics, and great suggestion!

re:Cycling feels very much that it never made sense that Floyd Landis would dope during the Tour de France, but there is the arbitration decision now. Still, Dan thinks that he will always see Floyd riding the magical stage 17, crossing the line at 17:10. He will raise a glass to Floyd this afternoon at 5:10 his time. Thanks for the plug.


Dugard wonders if Floyd Landis cheated and feels only Floyd knows for sure. Still he mourns for Floyd and is angry with those out there who are gloating over yesterday's decision.

After School Snack
gives us a taste of some of the pieces written in the past 24 hours.

Eagle Par Birdie notes with irony that on the day that Floyd Landis was found guilty of doping by an arbitration panel, golf is finally developing a drug policy of its' own.

Reason Hit and Run says give back the yellow jersey Floyd, real winners don't do drugs.

Beside Still Waters writes a moving tribute to poet Rich Mullins, and also notes the Floyd Landis decision which she feels is just plain wrong. Floyd won the 2006 Tour de France fair and square, period. Thanks for reading us.

An Athlete's Rise and Fall in the World wants Floyd Landis to just accept his ban and and get on with it.

12 comments:

jr said...

Interesting that Arlene doesn't think he should appeal.

This may be a completely naive question, but is there anyone for Floyd to bring a civil suit against? I can't imagine that a group of reasonable people looking at the panel's decision and the consequences for Landis wouldn't conclude that he was wronged. And obviously damaged financially. I have to assume this isn't possible, but I'd be interested in hearing from someone who actually knows something. Apologies if this has been addressed elsewhere (I looked, but didn't see anything).

pfinjt said...

In the LA Times piece, Hiltzik notes that Floyd's practical appeals are limited.

Floyd signed on to be judged by WADA rules when he took out his cycling license, so he's probably SOL.

If he could get a court to agree that USADA is acting as an agent of the government, then he could sue for denial of civil rights. But that's not likely to happen.

I suppose he could always sue Dick Pound, just for the fun of it. Speaking of Dick Pound, can you believe that he said he can't comment on the case because Floyd might appeal to the CAS? When and why did Pound get religion on the confidentiality issue? I wonder who got to him?

The most practical thing to do (which won't help Floyd, but could help others) would be to get Congress to look into USADA's and WADA's procedures when it comes time for these agencies to seek future funding. Members of Congress might not be too keen on funding quasi-judicial bodies that depart so completely from American standards of due process.

Michael said...

I've been wondering and maybe someone can answer this question that's burning a hole in my head:

How can one arbitrater attend the same hearing and come to a conclusion 180 degrees differetn from two other arbs at the same hearing?

Campbell stuck to the facts and made factual decisions. The other two 'immigrant lawyers' used words like should, shall, nevertheless in their decision and tried to write a scientific paper to back up their results that's was/is as confusing as the scientists testimonies. There is no way Brunet/Mclaren understood the science to the degree that they tried to write in their decision.

Someone please explain this to me?

jrdbutcher said...

michael,

It’s a pretty simple matter that the fix was in. The fix was in on many levels. I’ll mention a few.

The WADA rules hold athletes to strict liability while holding the labs to a much looser sort of liability with regard to training, procedures, testing, and reporting. Various WADA, LNDD, UCI, ASO officials seem to be held to almost no liability for breaking a plethora of their own rules as related to this one case. In basic terms, athletes must not be unlucky enough to be accused of breaking the rules, even unintentionally, or face severe penalties. Officials can expect to break the rules, sometimes in spectacular and public fashion, and expect no penalty.

The pool of arbitrators favors the WADA. WADA and IOC are incestuous. Many WADA arbs from the pool are beholden to WADA and/or IOC for their positions. Many of those same arbs from the pool aspire to higher positions within WADA and/or IOC. Not long before the hearing, and after the arbs were named, McLaren and Brunet famously rubbed shoulders with high-ranking WADA and IOC officials at a pre-Olympic get together in China. Evidently they had no fear of the appearance of a conflict of interest. I will say that it is evidence supporting actual conflict of interest. Whether or not someone gave them explicit marching orders, the circumstances of the event, and the players present, made those orders implicitly clear.

Arbitration was required under the rules and was purported as a means of handling cases quickly and with lower costs than typical courtroom trials. As I’ve written before, it would be hard to prove that theory by the Landis case. Arbitration, in this case, had all the costs and complexities of a courtroom trial, with few of the protections afforded to the accused. Again, the deck was stacked. A flaw the rules writers would like to eliminate, and that Floyd was able to exploit, was to demand a public hearing. As so many people have seen the hearing and the transcripts are public record, it’s much harder for WADA/USADA to spin the hearing as a search for the truth. It was meant, in fact, to simply justify, however shakey the justification, a guilty verdict.

The alphabet soup does not enjoy their absolute authority being questioned, especially in public. Too bad for them. Hopefully they will just have to get used to it

Michael said...

jrdbutcher,

I agree with you argument. If the above is actually the case, how could one prove it?

Should/Could Campbell come clean with what was discussed and how the final decsion was made behind closed doors now that the hearing is officially over?

Mike

Ken (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) said...

I'd love Campbell and others to come out swinging in public over this issue. Some well respected and/or well positioned people speaking out could blow the lid off the entire process. Maybe some well healed sports fan who wants to see the system fixed so that it works correctly can become Floyd's benefactor to allow him to more easily continue the fight (ideally in federal court if at all possible).

The WADA system needs to be exposed and held accountable for the fraud that it is.

jrdbutcher said...

If Campbell were to violate the privileged communications between he and the other two arbitrators during their deliberations, he would jeopardize his position as an AAA Arbitrator. As he is likely to be chosen by athletes in future hearings, he will probably do more good by simply doing his job in the professional manner he has in the past. Please note that he has ruled against athletes as well as for athletes. I’d trust him to decide cases on their merits and let the chips fall where they may.

As for McLaren and Brunet, that’s another story.

Michael said...

Ken and Jrdbutcher,

Thanks for the responses. I've thought about this too. I keep asking myself if maybe I'm just biased and want to believe that Landis is not guilty. Same thing regarding the Hamilton case.

The thing that I always go back to is that WADA/UCI/USADA consistently break their own rules. Hamilton has documented similar problems with the USADA about gathering information. I've always said that if the USADA was interested in the truth, they would have opened their books and provided the athletes with whatever information thay wanted/required. After all, USADA 'knew' they were guilty so they shouldn't have anything to hide.

We'll never really know if Floyd or Tyler doped, but we do know that the system that found them guilty if very flawed. I always try to get the people that assume that the athlete is guilty to tell me if they'd accept a positive doping finding if they were in the athlete's shoes given the same information and most dodge the question or eventually admit that they wouldn't accept the positive finding.

Good thing amateur cycling seems to be going strong in the US.

wschart said...

Seems to me, that while he said little about what went on during the "deliberation", Campbell pretty well laid out the other two, especially that passage from Luke.

("Eightzero") said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
("Eightzero") said...

This has to be one of the best quotes ever:

"We'll never really know if Floyd or Tyler doped, but we do know that the system that found them guilty is very flawed."

TBV: Give some thought to redoing your masthead with this as the byline. :-D

George said...

Can anyone tell me if the AAA has some type of review board to assure quality people and decisions are made through arbitration? It would seem to me, this case would definately fail any type of impartial peer review.

Judge Hue, can you answer this?