Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday Roundup

The NY Times says that MLB is getting a chance to preview the much anticipated "Mitchell Report" in which there are allegedly 50 big league players named:

What it contains will be officially revealed Thursday, when first Mitchell and then Commissioner Bud Selig will hold separate news conferences in Manhattan to discuss the findings. But two people who are familiar with Mitchell’s investigation, and his findings, said that the report would contain the names of more than 50 active and former major league players who are linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The individuals spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss the details of the inquiry. Both said many of the names in the report are directly tied to information provided to Mitchell’s investigators by Kirk Radomski, a former bat boy and clubhouse attendant for the Mets who pleaded guilty to steroid distribution in April.

It should all hit the proverbial fan tomorrow.

The ESPN report by Howard Bryant is an excellent review of the environment in which the Mitchell Report was conducted, and how it is likely to be received.

ESPN posts a Reuters piece about the upcoming meeting today between BALCO founder Victor Conte and WADA's Dick Pound in which Conte promises to expose doping among elite athletes. Actions that were to be taken in the Marion Jones gold medal mess were put off on Monday ostensibly due to this meeting which may muddy the waters even further as to who gets the gold. It may be supposed that many Olympians are shaking in their footwear this AM:

"I intend to provide detailed information involving a history of rampant drug use at the elite level of sport," Conte said. "I plan to share specific knowledge of past and present Olympic-caliber athletes, coaches and suppliers involved with doping around the world and how they've been able to easily circumvent the anti-doping procedures in place.

Phil Hersh at the Chicago Tribune provides his perspective on the meeting of BALCO founder Victor Conte and WADA's Dick Pound today where at the very least more Marion Jones gold medal fallout will be initiated.

The Natioanl Post has US "drug czar" Scott Burns declaring that steroid use is down among young athletes in the United States in part, it is assumed, to the fall from grace of "drug users" like Floyd Landis, among others.

The CyclingNews writes that many riders are lying about their whereabouts thus circumventing doping controls, or so claims Danish Cycling Federation chairman Jesper Worre. In another story Six Day Stuttgart race officials will be implementing extensive doping controls, which they contend will surprise some riders and catch them out. If this is so, these riders may need to learn how to read.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Terence Moore gets his Landis facts wrong in a hand wringing piece about various ethical lapses in sport:
Floyd Landis still contends that it was “a natural occurrence” when performance-enhancing drugs were found in his system

Truthiness in action.

WADAwatch mentions the meeting today between outgoing WADA president Dick Pound and BALCO founder Victor Conte, who promises to name names and expose many Olympic athletes as the drug cheats they were. Ww wonders if the IOC can, in light of what may be revealed, find an equitable way to give Jones' gold medals to some deserving athlete.

BikeworldNews wonders why Vino got a year starting in July, and Landis' suspension starts in December.

At Rant, Morgan comments to point out some interesting questions about ACE. If its testing profiles are passed on to the UCI, available for use in doping discipline, should we be concerned with the chain-of-custody of the samples ACE collects, and the accreditation of the labs that it uses? Does it become forced to subsume itself under WADA somehow, with all that entails?

The Boulder Report compares the Mitchell report to the Festina scandal, with baseball 10 years behind cycling.
And, argues Charles Yesalis, a health policy professor at Penn State who has studied doping for three decades, the biggest advances in fighting doping have come from police involvement (in cycling, Festina, Cofidis, Puerto and countless other busts were the result of criminal investigations, not anti-doping agencies catching cheaters). Anti-doping testing, he says, has simply offered fans the veneer of plausible deniability. It may, he thinks, be doing more harm than good

At the same time, cycling continues to be a punching bag and punchline for sports commentators and standup comics. In those year-end retrospectives, doubtless we'll hear a lot of shock and dismay about how cycling, a year after Floyd Landis' positive test for testosterone, couldn't clean up its act.
One wonders, in five or so years, where will baseball be for the Mitchell Report. Healthier? Or still trying to sweep the problem under the rug?


Jim T said...

Dick Pound needs to be very careful here. He'll have lots of names after his meeting with Conte and it will be all he can do to keep from tossing those names out to the press.

If Dick starts throwing out his usual zingers before there is sufficient proof of guilt or innocence, he may actually end up making it more difficult for the IOC to clean up this mess, not to mention finding himself the object of lawsuits.