Monday, November 12, 2007

Dopers Must be Stoned (Or so says Patrice Brunet)

In the first of what we hope to be occasional opinion pieces, Floyd Landis has provided the following observations on Patrice Brunet's recent suggestions in Pedal magazine to handle more anti-doping enforcement through criminal mechanisms of the state.

Dopers Must be Stoned
(Or so says Patrice Brunet)

by Floyd Landis

In the civilized world, governments exist to enforce laws, and they do so to preserve the rights of law-abiding citizens. But here is the dilemma: giving the government decisive power means they must be held to the same rules as the people. This prevents the undue punishment of an innocent, law-abiding citizen at the hands of a biased judge.


For this reason I agree whole-heartedly with Mr. Patrice Brunet when he states that doping in sports should be enforced by the federal government. Certainly, in my case against the US Anti Doping Agency, the prosecution (USADA) would have been held to a much higher standard.

Were it a federal case, I would have been provided with all relevant documentation and lab protocol within days, rather than spending one million dollars in legal fees and ten months just to acquire the evidence against me. After all, in a federal case, when the prosecution refuses to produce evidence that they purport exists, they are ordered to do so or the case is dismissed. Unfortunately, in the case of the WADA rules, under which Mr. Brunet operates, the "judge" has no authority to order either the prosecution or the defendant to do anything. Moreover, the "judge" is bound by no accountability, and in extreme cases, as in mine, there can be motions filed by the defendant which, after the decision is rendered, are never ruled upon.

Were it a federal case, a jury of my peers would be deciding the case rather than a panel of WADA employees who, between IOC galas in Beijing, decide the fate of unprotected athletes. Certainly, Mr. Brunet would agree that the Olympics are a monopoly and that those who wish to participate in the Olympics are in no position to dispute the rules, written by the International Olympic Committee, which mandate an arbitration process rather than a federal one. He cannot have both, Mr. Brunet must decide if he'd like to continue to eat the free shrimp at the IOC events or allow the federal government to deal with these things.

Mr. Brunet suggests Canada should use the same system as France, which would mean two different hearings for the same offense. In my case, I was expected to appear and defend myself at one hearing against USASA, over which Mr. Brunet presided, and a second in France, where the federal law mandates a separate hearing.

This is clearly not how WADA intended things to work. WADA’s very first priority is “working for proper adjudication of results” which they define as a hearing in the country of origin of the athlete with the right to appeal to a further arbitration under the Olympic committee. My hearing in France and what Mr. Brunet is suggesting makes no sense with their own adjudication process. You would have to start over and write entirely new rules based on federal law.

But I’m all for it.

Instead, I was forced into an agreement by the French to delay the hearing in return for my agreement to not race in France until a decision was rendered. It was damaging enough that I spent 200 thousand dollars flying lawyers to meet with the French agency to arrange this. But to have Mr. Brunet use my agreement with the French, in January 2007, as the starting date for my suspension while citing a rule about an accepted voluntary suspension, is nothing less than the abuse of the position he was given, all the while refusing to use that same power to balance things for my (the athletes’) side. Mr. Brunet knew, full well, that the agreement with the French was something about which I had no choice. After asking Mr. Brunet and WADA to ask the French for a stay, and being told in no uncertain terms that, not only would they not help, it was the position of Dick Pound that I deserved it. Mr. Brunet proceeded to use that agreement and obscure rules to begin my suspension on that date, six full months from when it would otherwise have begun were it not for the French Federal law.

However, all of those basic rights aside, the most egregious abuse of power (which would have been prevented were it a federal case) was the appointment of a fourth arbitrator into the process. Mr. Brunet and the other Canadian took it upon themselves to introduce a "panels expert" upon whom they would rely to explain the science when it became technical. Nowhere in the rules is this appointment ever contemplated, nevertheless, as this is not a federal proceeding, the panel is welcome to change and create rules along the way. This is how we came to have Dr. Botré, another WADA employee and colleague of the two Canadians, to serve as a witness to the panel after the hearing and with no opportunity for cross examination by my counsel. It is easy to decipher what transpired behind closed doors, among the panel. Dr Botré and the two Canadians wrote an incomprehensible decision, which, over and above being factually wrong, cannot even stand alone with all of its contradictions.

Were it a federal case, the jury would have been expected to disregard all testimony by the lineup of WADA lab directors USASA put forth. First Dr. Brenna, the WADA puppet who changed his testimony in the second half of the trial after learning that his testimony, the truth, would mean an exoneration because the math didn't work and so he made up a new technique called eyeballing. Dr. Catlin of UCLA then proudly took credit for having written the WADA “code of ethics” that clearly states that anyone who works for WADA in any capacity must take an oath to never testify against a WADA-accredited lab, in favor of an athlete. Why, having been so sure of their sound science, did USADA not bring one single scientist, out of the millions on earth, who was not on their payroll?

Most damning of all, Mr. Brunet is not expected to apply the same level of law-abiding perfection (“strict liability” to use the words of Dick Pound) to his own agency, the IOC, as they expect of each and every athlete — a standard which no government on earth would ever attempt to enforce on any citizen without expecting the same from the judges and police who accuse them.

In Mr. Brunet’s words, “Doping must be punished with the full force of our collective disapproval.” We can stone the dopers. We can stone everyone in sports. But until WADA holds up to the same standard expected of athletes, stone-throwing will solve nothing.


Michael said...

Keep writing Floyd!!


daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...


Good article. Well done.

Mark said...

To the 2006 TDF Champion,
Write on. What's Fair is Fair.
Equal Standards for All.
Mark Neumann

blackmingo said...

Floyd, if only Brunet had this idea last year...

Great to hear your thoughts -keep doing the right thing. Props coming at you from PA!

Dan Peterson
Manheim Twp '89

Larry said...

Floyd -

Damn. That was powerful, elegant writing. Maybe I shouldn't feel blown away, but I do.

I'll disagree on a couple of points. First, you stated that governments should be held to the same standards as people. Not so. The standards must be much higher, because governments have much greater power. That only adds force to your argument, not that your argument needs it.

Second, I think that the arbitrators in your case had the power to order the production of additional documents. They simply refused to do so. If I'm wrong on this point and the arbitrators had no discretion to order additional discovery, this may give you good grounds to overturn the arbitration decision in federal court ... as I'm sure you know.

Other than these two small points, all I really have is about a hundred questions I'd like to ask ... but won't. Plus I'd like to say thank you for posting here, and for the courage you've shown in the way you've fought this fight. It means a great deal to me.

Whareagle said...

Floyd -
Well, it's about time! Thanks for the data dumps, and we're all ears for further comments. Patrice Brunet -- talk about STONED.... Wonder who's testing HIS and POUND's urine...

PEM said...

Words of wisdom by the real winner of the 2006 TDF.

Floyd, this also serves as a much needed pep talk for your supporters.


cat2bike said...

Floyd!!! Awesome piece, and just what I needed to hear from you, the Tour champion of 2006! I've missed hearing from you.


Why do I have a blog? said...

Bravo, Floyd!

Lyle Beidler

dailbob said...

I'd like to contribute to your CAS effort. However, when I've tryed to do this at the FFF website, I don't get the usual indications that the website is secure (lock in the lower right hand corner and/or the message saying you are about to enter a secure site). This has caused me to back out. Might want to tell your web administrator.

FYI, I'm a scientist and, for what it's worth, I think you have more than a reasonable shot at winning this at CAS. Good luck!

ilsanjo said...


Not only are you the real 2006 TdF champion, but you also have the heart of a true champion.

Keep up the good fight, there's more here than meets the eye.


MMan said...

Larry said...

You stated that governments should be held to the same standards as people. Not so. The standards must be much higher, because governments have much greater power.

Amazing you'd say that, because I just logged in to post this quote from Lord Acton which I think is appropriate for Dick Pound's last days in office:

"I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility.

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it."

Ken ( said...

Great editorial.

Floyd, I think you could give Daniel M (a/k/a Rant) a run for his money with writings like this.

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...


I think he could. Maybe when I need a vacation, Floyd could fill in for me.

It is an excellent piece of writing, to be sure.

The MellowJohnny said...

Floyd Freakin Landis!

The 2006 Tour de France Champion