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.
(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.