Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Roundup

News
Competitor Magazine reports that Floyd Landis and his legal team are very interested observers of the results of the LaTasha Jenkins vs. USADA case. Jenkins won her appeal with USADA and therefore is the first ever athlete to defeat the anti-doping agency.


The NY Times reports this morning that the Baltimore Orioles, who had some of their own accused of steroid use, have broken rank with the rest of MLB and have criticized the Mitchel Report for its use of unsubstantiated accusations. The team also urges each player be given due process and be considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Brandweek Magazine wonders if there is anyone left who can safely endorse anything with all of the various sports scandals that persist today. They then snark that Floyd Landis is in the "we won't touch him with a ten foot pole" category, and go further saying no one wanted to sign Floyd up to endorse anything anyway.

The VeloNews Monday Mailbag still contains many responses to Michael Ball, controversial head of Rock racing, who has definite opinions on the ADAs. One of the more interesting letters makes a couple of pertinent points:


Dear editors,
The reaction to Michael Ball's statements have been as fiery as the man himself. Personally, I find him and his attitude both refreshing and disturbing at the same time. But one thing I find even more disturbing is the "You're either with us or against us" attitude copped by some regarding Ball's criticism of the Anti-Doping establishment.

If WADA and USADA are part of the solution to the scourge of doping they are the failed part. If, eventually, the war against doping in cycling is won, it will not be because of the actions and policies of the Anti-Doping establishment but in spite of those actions and policies.

You can't "enforce" your way out of a problem that you do not understand. And by now it seems clear that WADA and USADA and their ilk do not understand the problem. Heck, they can't even come up with a readily comprehensible definition of doping itself. Does that surprise you? Ask them to explain why EPO is illegal and Hypobaric Chambers are not.

As a former professional youth coach in another sport I recognize the evils of drugs and have seen their effects permeate down to frighteningly young ages. But the current Anti-Doping establishment not only does not have a monopoly on truth, it seems they haven't got a clue.
Michael A. Gardiner
San Diego, California



Blogs
False45th finds that seemingly only Hannah Teter is worth supporting with all the sports "ne'er do wells" out there. You can guess who made that list.

Racejunkie
can multi-task and proves it by penning a 2008 cycling "preview" which in June has Floyd Landis aging so much with all that has happened that he is eligible for Social Security. That may be stretching it, just a bit.

WADA Watch finds a case the agencies lost at CAS because they ignored the "fairness" clause in the rule they were trying to enforce. He points again to bad drafting of the rules resulting in expensive continued lititgation, and thinks the same is going to happen with the new "aggravated circumstance" rules.

Wages of Wins thinks a solution may be to pin PED enforcement (for baseball) onto the union, away from the teams and the league. Skeptical discussion follows in comments. He also points to...

Sabernomics, which presents some interesting economic (revenue) data from baseball's "steroid era". Similar numbers for cycling over the last decade would be interesting to compare.





30 comments:

bostonlondontokyo said...

AH - Well, thankfully, now that LaTasha Jenkins has won her case, we will no longer have to hear that very tired statement from the USADA: "We've never lost a case." I used to grow very weary of hearing that thrown out all the time. I'm happy to know that we have a living example of a known case in which a lab's work was put into enough question that it cost a case. This can only be good for all parties involved.

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

BLT,

Agreed. The Jenkins case can serve as an incentive for those running the labs and those doing the lab work to make sure that they follow their procedures carefully. That benefits everyone -- the athletes, the labs, and the anti-doping agencies.

m said...

In the meantime a pretty clearly proven doper gets off on a technicality.

What does that do to those athletes who ran against her and didn't dope. She won by doping. She was coached by a doping coach. Wait! Maybe all those who ran against her were doping anyway. So this was really a blow for fair play.

Now this is really a poster girl for the anti-doping movement and fair play for non-doping athletes.

Not.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Personally, I'm going to avoid making any characterization of Jenkins or the decision until it is released and I have an opportunity to read what it says, and what the grounds for decision may have been.

TBV

m said...
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floyd said...
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m said...
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bill hue said...
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tbv@trustbut.com said...

Folks, we're not going here. It is not productive, and offers heat but no light.

TBV

m said...
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floyd said...
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m said...
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tbv@trustbut.com said...
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tbv@trustbut.com said...

Take the hints. Whatever is in the comments that have been deleted is not being allowed to continue.

However important it seems to you, it's not being tolerated by me.

TBV

m said...

Email me and explain what's going on please.

This is quite disturbing to me.

m said...

Latasha Jenkins Chicago Tribune article:


http://www.chicagotribune.com
/sports/cs-071214hersh,1,3714603.story?
track=rss&ctrack=1&cset=true


"test results were compromised because both labs analyzing her sample, in Ghent, Belgium and Cologne, Germany, violated an international standard requiring tests be run by two different technicians."

"According to Straubel, the lab in Ghent analyzed the sample with gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry, the basic method of finding steroids. The Cologne lab did a carbon isotope ratio analysis, used to determine whether the substance involved is naturally occurring in the body or from an external source."

The Landaluce technicality.

Her coach was Trevor Graham.

"In the fall of 2004, she began working with Trevor Graham, the coach Marion Jones said gave Jones banned drugs."


"More than a dozen athletes tested positive or were found guilty of doping based on non-analytical positives during the time Graham coached them, according to records compiled from official documents and published reports."

Mike Solberg said...

I have a good friend who knows Marion Jones personally. Trevor Graham is a moron.

syi

bill hue said...

When the same technician "grades" his/her own initial results, it is improper under the WADA Code provisions.


Although many Code provisions are actually permitted by initial Arbitration Panels to be violated by WADA Labs and prosecuting ADAs and Federations, the CAS, in contrast, insists that something as fundamental as requiring WADA Labs to conduct double blind analysis'prior to declaring a test to be non-negative be absolutely required, at minimum, by its reading of a clear and unambiguous ISL that actually says what it means.


The WADA Code is constantly being reformed to give athlete's less and less due process protection.


All you need to do to preserve your contention, m, is to get the ISL folks to drop the standard or get the WADA Code drafters to eliminate that particular ISL requirement from the Code, for cost or other related reasons.


Absent a rule change, your position that the double blind test standard ought to be ignored, begs the question as to what other standards/rules/ requirements should also be ignored, in the name of catching obvious "dopers".


In my opinion, the WADA Code prosecuters will ignore the Codes requirements to catch a "doper" and that is ok, until the CAS says it isn't. When it does, then the critics cry foul.


Why not call a spade a spade and simply remove athletes who "you" say are dopers because "you"
say so. That would be a lot easier to enforce and for athletes tounderstand.

bill hue said...

For those interested, Richard McLaren was the Austalian Federation's designee on the CAS Panel in the WADA watch article.
The entire decision, which is very interesting, is here:

http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/karapetyn.pdf

McClaren had an interesting CAS Arbitration Panel presentation on the "exceptions" to the "strict liability" WADA Code provision "available" for application by a CAS Panel, citing the French case and the hockey player.

Consequently, McLaren is consistant and is not, in my opinion, just an anti-athlete stooge, as some have suggested.

Rather, he is a role player within a strict dynamic. When he serves on initial Panel's, he will fulfill his assigned role and does not deviate or find deviation to be permitted under the WADA Code. However, when serving on a CAS Panel and while judging matters under a broader construct, he is well able to assert his own view of objective matters such as "fairness" and "justice" and that often slants due to circumstances of the particular case, in favor of the athlete.

Interesting stuff!

bill hue said...

I'll clarify the "you" I used when saying in a post above;

"Why not call a spade a spade and simply remove athletes who "you" say are dopers because "you"
say so. That would be a lot easier to enforce and for athletes to understand."

If TBV/Larry/SYI et al. were the "you", above, then in order to call an athlete a doper under present circumstances, they would carefully examine the science to see if it compelled any sort of definative result.

If the "you" above, was me et al, I wouldn't allow any athlete to be prosecuted under a sytem which I feel is beyond unjust, one that i feel is corrupt.\

If m et al was the "you", above, I suspect he would determine dopers by evidence other than science and then seek scientific confirmation, discarding any scientific standard that impeded the process.

Those differing world views make the world go around.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Repeating myself, I want to read the decision before making any judgments about what happened.

That the appeal here was decided on the basis of a Landaluze issue doesn't say anything about the rest of the test results. From what is available, we don't know what kind of positive was reported -- a 6.5:1 TE and a one metabolite at 3.85 o/oo, or a 100:1 TE and four metabolites at 8 o/oo.

TBV

Mike Solberg said...

Bill, it seems I remember you writing something about the CAS, and the similarities and differences to the USADA/AAA process. Did you do that? If so, where is it?

If not, could you offer a summary of the CAS process and how it is different than USADA/AAA? Especially if there is any difference with regard to burden of proof, or controlling law, or the whole "burden flip" thing.

syi

jrdbutcher said...

Judge Hue,
Thanks for the info on Richard McLaren. I'm guilty of being in the camp that considered him a stooge. I'm intriged by the notion that he is a role player and knows how to play his various roles correctly. Still troubled by his close association with IOC, his trip to China prior to the Malibu hearing, and the incestuous relationship between IOC/WADA/arbitrators. Continues to seem to be a conflict of interest for McLaren to have served in Malibu. Also having trouble resolving his support of Botre as the de facto 4th arb. Still, you keep me re-evaluating my data base on the subject. Thanks.

jrdbutcher said...

Oh, forgot to add I've been away for a while. Sorry (or maybe not?) that I missed the dust up between Floyd and M. I may never know.

Mike Solberg said...

If it's any consolation, it must have happened very fast, because I missed it too. Pretty funny though to think of TbV deleting posts by Floyd Landis, who is the whole reason this site exists. Oh, the irony.

syi

m said...

Mike,

The only point I made was that these labs are only able budget in the area of $87 per steroid screen. You can't expect perfection at that price, nor is it fair to non-dopers to let some doper off because the lab doesn't always have the staff to have one person work on the A and another on the B. Remember in the Landaluce case, the one worker who did the A test, had done some 20% of the work on the B test.

jrdbutcher said...

Wow, that was quite a turn around M!

I’ve read a great many of your posts that defend the science performed at LNDD. Now you are saying LNDD and other labs can be excused for poor performance, poor personnel management, and not following their own/WADA rules due to budget constraints???

If the careers of athletes are held in the balance, and they are, then I expect the labs to operate following the very best practices and, at the very least, follow their own protocols and rules. Insufficient budget has never been accepted as a viable excuse for poor performance or not following written procedures at any employer/organization I’ve worked for. I don’t find it a viable excuse for LNDD or any other WADA lab carrying out drug testing on athletes.

I’d be more impressed if WADA Presidents and lab directors held themselves to the same strict liability standards they have held the athletes to, up to now.

m said...

"Insufficient budget has never been accepted as a viable excuse for poor performance or not following written procedures at any employer/organization I’ve worked for. I don’t find it a viable excuse for LNDD or any other WADA lab carrying out drug testing on athletes."

I don't believe you. Cutting corners is par for the course in any profit making business. You got to make budget.

In Landaluce, a worker apparently because of insufficient staff and the pressure of time, wound up spending 20% of the time on the B sample. For that you throw out the whole A and B test results? That's a technicality and has almost nothing to do with the validity of the testing. What if he had spent only 5% of the time, 1% of the time?

Science is not 100% sure, but you guys can't even get over the 30% hump with your objections and arguments so have to trumpet technicalities to vindicate Landis.

And many of you are the same ones crying for cutting the testing budgets. If you want better tests then you have to support doubling or tripling the funding. But I haven't heard that from you folks.

the Dragon said...

m,

You would find much more sympathy from me IF anyone in WADA World acted with even one ounce of humility.

I find no point where anyone in WADA World thinks or acts like the rules that they wrote apply to them.

We have another example of a leak of testing results from LNDD in the Mayo re-test. I can't say that LNDD leaked the results yet it seems that anything that happens in LNDD get's leaked IF it is detrimental to the/any athlete.

I question how labs are chosen. I suspect it has very little to do with competence and everything to do with politics. Sort of the UN approach.

Has LNDD been chosen due to a relationship with ASO?

Were WADA World to hold themselves and their labs to standards like they hold athletes, I could get on board and quickly, once it was shown to be real rather than spin.

WADA World claims to be the repository of ALL knowledge regarding doping, yet WILL NOT allow labs to work with athletes. And, denounce any scientist who does not worship at the WADA World alter as non competent.

Until WADA World shows any care in recognizing that even they are human, I have tuned them out. WADA World cheats to win, just as athletes cheat to win.

Regards,

jrdbutcher said...

M, your argument here does not seem to be well founded. Insufficient budget has never been an excuse where I’ve worked. You can believe it or not. Convenient for your argument that you don’t.

I’m a guy that advocates cutting budget from USADA. I’ve spoken to the politicians that represent me in DC about the subject. There is a caveat. I’m actually for increasing their budget if they provide due process protections for the tested athletes and if they face real penalties for not following their own rules. Those items are largely missing currently.

You assume facts that are incorrect. Let’s try to stay with the facts. Let’s try to stay with the facts. Below, is an old post or mine related to the issue and the latest news on Mayo. Seems things don’t change quickly in WADA World…….


“As someone who is a proponent of longitudinal testing, it might sound hypocritical that I have grave doubts about WADA’s/UCI’s/ASO’s ability to implement their proposed “Biological Passport” program in a way that would be an improvement over their current quantumly flawed system.

Julie’s point is well founded. How can they be trusted to implement a more complicated program when they are unable to manage the one currently in place, evidence in part – their inability to follow even their own rules, apparent “results shopping”, and inability to coordinate their efforts (UCI/WADA/ASO).

gary o’brien provides a quote from Gripper that supports the notion of the UCI shopping for results. It’s either a quote out of context or the UCI/Gripper are that bold? I’m guessing there is an element of being bold here. UCI/Gripper targeted Mayo. According to them, they know he was doping. Now if the lab(s) could just confirm what they know…………. The Gripper/UCI statements also seem to indicate the sample testing for Mayo’s samples is not blind testing. Another in a long list of recurring violations of both the spirit and the letter of WADA code and UCI rules. But hey, they know he’s a doper……..

I like what CSC, Slipstream, and others are doing with their longitudinal testing programs for their teams. It gives the teams the opportunity to be proactive and offers a much needed support system (protection) for the riders. By engaging in a testing program with independent oversight, the teams show a serious commitment to their riders racing clean. They put their money where their mouth is. I would say that it’s no coincidence that CSC and Slipstream riders, teams with strict independent oversight of their testing programs, have not had problems with the official drug controls. Perhaps the labs are more careful with CSC and Slipstream samples because of the independent testing? I’d guess so and I’d also guess they usually have a good idea about the identity of the sample donors. Blind testing is a bad joke. In theory, it could, ironically, be working to the benefit of CSC and Slipstream riders.

At some point the pendulum will swing back. I would have thought there would have been enough reasons for the riders to form a strong unified organization to press for some much needed improvements vs the mounting tyranny of the Alphabet Soup. Time will tell and something will have to give. Not a great time to be a pro rider without an independent testing program behind you……… “