Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Roundup

News
MSNBC posts the first comments from WADA chairman Dick Pound on the Landis arbitration result. Pound maintains that even though the Landis samples may have been handled improperly, the results from those samples still stands:

"I think if you read it carefully you'll see that maybe some of the early stages of this thing were not as precise and crisp as they could have been, what they found is synthetic testosterone, you can run but can't hide.''
"For the moment we just have to say that they speak for themselves and you can interpret them as well as we can,'' Pound said of the results. "Our policy is that if there is an appeal, we're probably going to get involved one way or another and therefore it's better if we don't say anything until the delay for appeal has expired or an appeal has been filed.''


Pound commented on the Landis arbitration result at a press conference following meetings of WADA's executive board.


The Globe and Mail
finds Lance Armstrong in Vancouver for a cancer fund raiser. Armstrong refused to comment on the recent Landis arbitration decision saying:

“I'd love to answer the question but unfortunately I'm out of that business,” said Mr. Armstrong. “I'm here to fight cancer. I haven't looked online. I still love the bike and ride all the time but on the competitive side I'm just not engaged.”
He said cycling issues now are “just a distraction for me.”




The News Tribune's
Tony Hawley thinks he is reading correctly between the lines of Friday's statements from Floyd Landis lawyer Maurice Suh.

The Lawrence Journal World posts a thoughtfully written op-ed piece on the Landis case results, and on the use of PEDs by athletes in general. Stating that not only do athletes need to compete without illegal enhancement, but also the testing done on them needs to be above reproach the column concludes:

The first step, of course, is to work on drug testing to make it as consistent and accurate as possible. Fewer loopholes will mean fewer opportunities for athletes to avoid detection and punishment. Reliable tests will make rigorous enforcement possible.
It’s sad for any sports spectator to have to wonder whether an outstanding athletic performance was made possible only through the use of “dope.” It’s even sadder for athletes to feel they must subject their bodies to such treatment in order to compete at the highest levels.




The San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler tries to make a clumsy point about racial equality by comparing recent events in OJ Simpson's life to that of Floyd Landis'. It seemed only a matter of time before the two names would appear in the same column.

The Salt Lake Tribune feels Floyd Landis got just what he deserved.

In Forum
(subscription may be necessary) in what appears to be a trend in op-eds today, says all cheaters are sorry, only after they get caught.

The Union Leader says cheaters never prosper, unless they are sports cheaters that is. The writer cites, along with the New England Patriots cheating scandal, the Landis case decision, but should probably ask Floyd Landis how much his assumed cheating has caused him to prosper in the past year.

The CyclingNews hosts a number of interesting stories this morning, none of which are directly related to Floyd Landis. The ASO is not pleased with the UCI over the adoption of a new pro tour schedule, WADA and the UCI are for once in agreement over the proposed exclusion from the World Championships of Alejandro Valverde, and Jorg Jaksche is upset at having a one year ban for the use of EPO and so for cooperating with authorities in his doping bust he will ask it to be shortened by half.

SANEPR.Com has perhaps the most interesting headline of the day:"A Fallen Hero That Has To Learn How To Cope With Reality", and had the Landis proceedings taking place far from Malibu:


Well a French court looked at all the evidence presented by the USADA and found Landis guilty, banning him for 2 years from professional cycling and took away his Tour de France title.




Blogs
Rant writes a very long, very considered, and very elucidating piece on "the decision". To try and summarize the science discussed in it would do it a disservice, but Rant sums up what is a problem for any athlete trying to seek justice within the anti doping system:

One thing that kept sticking out in my mind while reading the majority opinion was this: Just how can an athlete rebut a charge against him/herself? Or even: Can an athlete ever rebut a charge? The evidence in the Landis case seemed strong enough to call into question the lab’s procedures, documentation and staff training, leaking of information to the media (even if not the original results, there’s no question that the results of the additional tests in April were leaked by the lab) and so on. The majority even cites such problems at points within their opinion, but rather than hold anyone’s feet to the fire, they simply slap LNDD on the wrist and say, “Next time, you might not be so lucky. Next time, we might throw out the case. So clean up your act.”


I’m left wondering if any athlete can ever get a fair hearing, and if any athlete can ever overturn an adverse analytical finding. Floyd Landis had a very strong case, but apparently not strong enough to win. It’s cost him 14 months and an unbelievable sum of money to try and defend himself. The message here from this panel seems to me to be, “If you’ve been accused, don’t bother to fight. Look what we did to Floyd Landis. We’ll do that to you, too.”



Cozy Beehive
succinctly says that the Landis decision is sad.

PJ posts a look back now that the Landis decision has been made. He says some very nice things about TBV which are greatly appreciated, and also notes that Rant did a great deal of excellent writing during the past year or so. What will we all do now?

When Life Gives you Hitler, Make Hitlerade writes the usual piffle about cheaters.

Roch Around the Clock
gives us lots of "axioms" about infamous athletes in the news, and tells us not to be too hard on Floyd Landis, for dubious reasons.

Kaiserstrasse says that Owen has been riding a LOT sincde the Landis decision came out, he wants to know if training wheels are allowed in the TdF.

Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind
read about Floyd Landis and wrote a post about Lance Armstrong and wonders why when we make a mistake we can't just laugh at ourselves?

16 comments:

Ken at Global View said...

GMR asked a question yesterday that it looks like RANT has at least partially answered. I do not have the scientific understanding of IRMS to do this.

Rant makes three key points about the majority ruling:
1. The testimony of Dr. Armory, Andrologist, was largely ignored in the ruling - he was a key expert for Floyd on the credibility of the IRMS testing
2. The high T/E ratio tests were all thrown out. In a normal procedure this would have resulted in dismissal; however, the panel brushes this aside by using historical precedent (which could be as flawed in fact as the T/E tests proved to be). See Fruit of the Poisoned Tree under the Rant link above.
3. The logic or mathematics "proving" the IRMS data is fatally flawed. This was the argumentation used to impeach Dr. Wolfram Meier-Augustein. THIS NEEDS TO BE INVESTIGATED. IF THIS IS TRUE (I don't have the expertise to say this) FLOYD MUST APPEAL AND IF HE LOSES APPEAL TAKE THIS THROUGH THE US COURT SYSTEM.

Let me digress for a minute here. I just read The Age of Fallibility by George Soros. Whatever you think about Mr. Soros for his politicial views, he is a brilliant 75 or so year old billionaire who has affected great positive change throughout the world with his foundations. I remember working in Ukraine in 1993 and 1994 for the European Union. My wife found a job working for the US Department of State (USAID). Both organizations were making some progress, but at the same time George Soros foundations were cutting through the bureacracy and giving assistance where needed in a highly effective fashion. For instance, when President Clinton was unwilling to assist the Russian government financially for political reasons, George Soros set up a foundation with about $50 million to pay Russian scientists salalaries. For $250 a year, he prevented a lot of folks from emigrating to countries like Iran.

There are two reasons I bring this up. First, in the book Mr. Soros introduces a concept he calls reflexiviity. Reflexivity is what happens when we seek the truth. On the one hand, when we seek the truth we seek to understand. On the other hand, when we seek the truth, we seek to make an impact on the world. Herein is the problem, we, troubled by the human condition, are unable to simultaneously seek the truth and try to convince others that our view of the truth is the right view. This is why we often see lies, damn lies, and statistics. They don't always conform with our view of the truth. I have a client who is wealthy health care provider and has run into troubles with government agencies. He has fought and won. Floyd can too.

The second reason, Floyd and Floyd Landis Fairness fund, is that you might be able to convince Mr. George Soros to help, through one of his foundations, financially. I think he is exactly the kind of angel who could do a lot of good here.

Mr. Meier-Augustein, I would love to hear your opinion of the conclusions in the majority ruling regarding the IRMS testing.

Ken at Global View said...

To Mr. George Soros,

Please consider the case of Floyd Landis. The IOC, WADA, and USADA are operating like a closed society. The agents and employees of WADA have violated the basic human rights of many athletes, most remarkably and indisputably Mr. Floyd Landis.

Your mission, to shape public policy to, promote democratic governance, human rights, economic, and legal and social reform, will be served by supporting Mr. Landis's case. Please hire a truly independent expert to look at the findings (read the ruling) and see if you agree. Mr. Landis has already spent nearly $2,000,000 that he did not have and must commit a great deal more to take this case to the International Arbtitration level, where it is not clear that the case will be open to the public or that he can win whatever the facts may be.

Your support may be the only hope we have of fixing this situation, where an athlete, once accused, loses his career.

Contact:
Open Society Institute
400 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019, U.S.A.
Tel. 1-212-548-0600
Fax. 1-212-548-4600


http://www.soros.org/about

Julie said...

Thanks, Rant. Since I read the decision, I've been thinking....Wasn't that Dr.M-A's point?? The whole point in having relative retention times is that they are supposed to allow comparison between the two machines. How could the majority and their "expert" get that wrong?

m said...

Ken and Julie,

"How could the majority and their "expert" get that wrong?"

Maybe because they got it RIGHT, and Meier-Augenstein got it wrong.

As I pointed out before, Campbell in his dissent concedes Meier was probably wrong on this point.

This is what Campbell wrote:

"I am not sure that Dr. Meier-Augenstein got his retention time argument correct."

"57 Dr. Botrè, the panel’s expert, opined that he got the times wrong because he failed to take into account
they were using two different machines for the retention time."

Are you folks reaching for straws? As I commented before Campbell in his dissent did not specifically discredit the validity of the IRMS results.

Ken at Global View said...

M,

Campbell did not discredit the validity of the IRMS results. With all due respect to him, I doubt he understands it. I know I don't. However, Dr. Meier-Augustein or another independent and unbiased expert should be heard on this issue in my opinion.

m said...

Ken,

Meier testified at the arbitration already, now, after the decision has been handed down, you are waiting for him to clarify his testimony?

If Campbell didn't credit his arguments, why should anybody else?


Plaintiff wails: "The train has left the station....with two lights on behind..."

But you continue to wait as in the Samuel Beckett play. Remember Godot never showed up.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

M,

There's an open question whether the Panel got the science right, which affects whether it is useful to conduct an appeal.

If the panel did get the science right, we can discuss it and conclude that they were very insightful. Where's the harm in that? It's called Monday morning quarterbacking, and it's a hallowed tradition.

TBV

Ken at Global View said...

M,

I profess ignorance; however, I believe Dr. Meier-Augenstein probably knows more about this than anyone on the panel. Again, it boils down to this: the majority of the panel believed that Dr. M-A was either incompetent or a liar. If I were him, I would have something to say about that. The fact that Campbell downplays this is immaterial, he does not agree with the majority. If I read it correctly, he says that Dr. Goldberger was beyond reproach and that his finding that the IRMS data was unreliable is insufficient. The majority ruling very conveniently skipped over this.

None of us can actually know what really happened, but this situation smells very bad and should be rectified.

Fee people have the combination of interest and analytical patience to look at this. No other professional cyclists, to speak of, unless they personally know Floyd and even then, really gave this much thought. I hope they don't find themselves in a similar situation. Hope is not enough, something has to be done to make sure they will not be. In my mind nothing has. In my mind it rests on Floyd's ability to show that the IRMS data was unreliable. It would be great if someone, in addtion to Dr. Goldberger, and the discredited (in the majority opinion) Dr. Meier-Augstein could look at this and give an UNBIASED and PROFESSIONAL opinion.

m said...

TBV

"There's an open question whether the Panel got the science right.."

Is there any knowledgeable person who's read the decision and claims the panel got the science wrong? If so , who and where are his/her comments published.

m said...

Ken,

AS to "unbiased" and "professional":

Goldberger and Meier were never "unbiased". They as every expert was paid by one side or the other and have an interest in helping the side that paid them. And as with all experts they have a self interest in proving that they were right, for all sorts of financial, professional and psychological reasons.

Anything they say now will be to justify and defend what they said in the past. And I suspect that because of contractual obligations they are not free to comment without the approval of the Landis attorneys who hired them.

bill hue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill hue said...

M
Why do you have such a chip on your shoulder? Your side won, apparantly. You should be happy!!! We don't go in for being confrontational so much here. You are welcome to hang around but maybe a smart person like yourself might find more like minded folks at a place like Daily Peloton Forums. The rest of us will just continue waiting for Gadot, here.

m said...

Bill,

You say: "your side won"! So ***your**** side lost? So why pretend that you are looking for an "unbiased" expert opinion?

From the very first, even before any scientific testing errors were shown, the folks on this board wanted Landis to be innocent. Why? Probably because he was our homey, our boy, and those bad foreigners (read the French) or WADA folks were out to get him. There has been no outcry about all those foreigners who were found guilty of doping.

The science (IRMS) seems to show that Landis doped with steroids. But Landis has made this into a crusade against the WADA procedures and anti-doping regime. So the cry is even though we can't show that the science was wrong about his doping, we need to let Landis off so that WADA will reform it's procedures.

With all the doping in the sport, why don't you favor the enforcement regime?

And forgive me, but where have I been confrontational?

bill hue said...

M

What are your goals in posting here at this point?

Your point of view isn't new or groundbreaking at TBV. It has been articulated pretty clearly on these pages and elsewhere by you and others for the last year or more. We have always posted them here and people always respond to them.

So now that an award has been issued against Landis, one in which you express some firmness of approval, what is left to discuss? The "grasping of straws" by our contributors? The naivety of those who still question the award? Their choice to "wait for Godot"?

Why should those personal things be subject to your editorial, especially since that editorial has nothing to do with substance?

We are all about substance here. That is what makes us different.

If you are interested in the science, then a really interesting exchange between Bustinbilly and TBV is taking place here. You are welcome to contribute to that discussion.

In a few days, I will post my observations about the award. I have written many others here and elsewhere for the last year. When we publish that article, feel free to comment on its substance.

We are still debating issues here. We don't appreciate others telling us we are wasting our time.

m said...

Bill,

"We are all about substance here."

Some of the comments are about substance, much of it is venting and complaining.

In any case, I would say the vast majority of my comments are about "substance", including the "Godot" comment which seems to have so upset you.

Ken said he was waiting for an "unbiased" opinion from Meier before deciding about the IRMS results. My response was that Meier was not "unbiased", had already testified in full (train has left), and was very unlikely to say more (Godot).

bill hue said...

I am not upset. If I were, there are editing privilages I enjoy that enable me to exercise control over all posts. You will note that I did not even exercise those privileges when a poster in the past suggested that I, like some other Landis supporters might be better off dead. So, my threshold for being upset hasn't remotely been approached, here.

My goal in this conversation with you is threefold:

1)To try to get all individuals to post here in a respectful way; i.e. by adressing issues rather than personalities;

2)To discourage random commentary and encourage debate in specfic topic areas;

3)To assure that TBV is a comfortable and safe place for those who are puzzled by the award to complain and vent. There is no other comfortable place on the net for them to do so, in my opinion, So, this is the place for them to come and that will be encouraged here, not discouraged. They can be discouraged at any one of a number of places elsewhere.

Although I am talking to you directly, my assumption is that others are reading these comments as well and hopefully, we will all be able to freely express ourselves while acknowledging the legitimacy of alternate points of view.