Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Non-answer Answers Dept, chapter II.

Another emailer wrote a relevant Member of the US Congress about the unfairness of the Landis procedings, and received the following response, a canonical non-answer answer.

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Thank you for your email requesting a Congressional review of the testing protocol of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in place during the testing of Floyd Landis for performance-enhancing drugs.

It is my understanding that an arbitration hearing between USADA and Mr. Landis regarding the doping allegations were held in May. Just this September, the arbitration panel voted 2-1 to uphold Landis' positive tests from last year's Tour de France. This decision means he is stripped of the title and banned from cycling for two years, retroactive to January 30, 2007.


You may be interested to know that problems of use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in professional and amateur athletics have been the focus of an on-going series of investigative hearings before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Congressionally mandated drug-testing requirements for both public employees and workers in private industry subject to federal regulation have a fairly long and well-established legal history. Nonetheless, the federal courts have recognized limits, largely anchored in constitutional privacy interests of affected workers, which circumscribe governmental authority to impose random testing requirements in the public or private sectors.

It could be argued that professional athletes have a diminished expectation of privacy as the consequence of league or association rules that already require routine physical examinations and testing for drugs in certain circumstances. Moreover, a separate argument could be made that safety and health concerns associated with steroid use, and the importance of professional athletes as role models for our nation's youth, justify unannounced testing for anabolic steroids or other controlled substances. Testing of randomly selected athletes may also be the least intrusive route to an effective steroid detection program.

If you would like to review the work of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on this issue, you will want to visit the following website: http://oversight.house.gov/investigations.asp?ID=244.

Please do not hesitate to contact me again on this or any other matter of importance to you.

Sincerely,

Mazie K. Hirono
Member of Congress




One might wonder about Rep. Hirono's sincerity, having missed the point entirely.

3 comments:

wschart said...

I wouldn't read too much into this - from my experience it's pretty typical stuff. You write a Congressman to express your opinion, he's going to send a reply much like this - doesn't want to commit himself one way or the other. I can't really blame them, a stronger statement could come back to haunt you.

calfeegirl said...

Still, she missed the entire point, it's not that I don't want drug testing, and I think that out of competition testing and surprise testing is a great idea...my husband was active duty military for over 20 years...mandatory, unannounced drug testing was part of the job. You want the job, you follow the rules. Same with athletes.

BUT THE SYSTEM HAS TO BE FAIR AND ADMINISTERED WITH INTEGRITY.

Note she only answered with more investigations into the athletes, and reasons why the government isn't more involved with the testing, not more funding for better tests, not anything to suggest that those who are doing the testing are coming under any scrutiny at all.

So, I'm open to suggestions as to how to respond to my honorable Congresswoman so she doesn't miss the point this time.

Thank you and Aloha,
Kate

jrdbutcher said...

Cut, paste, add, or delete as you see fit. Just a draft..........

Honorable Mazie K. Hirono

Thank you for your previous response and the link you provided to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Our correspondence indicates we are in agreement that the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in professional and amateur athletics is a problem. I support a rigorous testing program to be used as a tool to enforce sporting rules and regulations. Further, I understand professional athletes have a diminished expectation of privacy as the consequence of league or association rules that require routine physical examinations and testing for drugs in certain circumstances.

I am in support of additional funding for more increased frequency of testing and more accurate tests. I support additional funding so that USADA can supply accused athletes with complete background information regarding the charges against them. I support funding that enables USADA to function in a way that is philosophically in concert with regard to the rights of the accused.

However, I do not support the notion that professional athletes have a diminished expectation of professionalism in the way in which their drug tests are conducted. I’m curious as to the rationale behind the relative lack of strict liability (or even “meaningful” liability) regarding the labs and the lab personnel that conduct the testing vs. the strict liability standards under which the athletes are held accountable?

There also seems to be a disconnect it terms of assumed guilt, lack of due process afforded the accused, and serious questions of justice being served as it regards accused athletes. The process of adjudication for accused athletes seems counter to my sense of justice and fair play, developed as a U.S. citizen.

The system has to be fair and administered with integrity. Where is the oversight for the testers and prosecutors? How are they held accountable? Why are we, as United States citizens, funding an anti-doping agency (USADA) that convicts using un-American techniques and values?

Sincerely, calfegirl