Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fallout 3

Most of the Landis "fallout" today comes from blogs as the news organizations have largely moved on.


The CyclingNews says that Australian cyclist Hilton McMurdo was suspended for two years for use of the "anabolic steroid testosterone".

In later CyclingNews Petacchi signs with team LPR, and Jan Ullrich says the Tour de France is not what it used to be.

VeloNews' mailbag offers an open letter to USADA, questions on the inaccuracies of the new EPO tests, comments on "Fred legs" and more.

ESPN/AP report a Dutch court has ordered Rabobank to pay Michael Rasmussen $1 million in compensation for wrongly dismissing him from the team during last year's Tour de France.

While Utrecht civil judge J. Sap said Rabobank was entitled to fire Rasmussen for lying to cycling authorities, he ruled they should have given him two months' notice they would tear up his contract because the team "could have or should have" known weeks before firing him that he had lied about his whereabouts.

This decision comes in the wake of yesterday's two year suspension by the Monaco Cycling Federation. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to think Rabobank will appeal.

The Boulder Report issues judgment and manages to misrepresent our position by saying we think there is a "conspiracy" at the WADA/IOC level. Not at all. The system is not conspiring to do anything, it is doing exactly what it is designed to do -- punish accused dopers. As Larry points out, citing the Goss Ruling, sometimes a "hearing" is not a hearing.

It also suggests the smackdown is because they didn't like his attitude, which might be true, but should have zero bearing on the result. In admitting the tone does reflect dislike of the attitude, Lindsey acknowledges that extra-legal prejudice had a role in the result. That's not conspiracy, but it would be ethically problematic in a court of law that is not an arbitration system.

KSRO (audio) reported the verdict, and interviewed Law Professor Michael McCann of the SportsLaw Blog, who thinks Landis' career is irretrievably tarnished. He distinguishes the case from criminal perjury charges (Bonds, et. al.). McCann wonders what Landis was told by those who gave him the drugs. He thinks in Beijing there will be more focus on individual rights, with some focus on the testing process. McCann's views differ from those yesterday of Sports Law Blog's Marc Conrad, who yesterday did not make any judgment about whether Landis did it, but was concerned about the nature of the ruling. We don't always agree here either.

Colorado Springs (home of USADA) columnist David Ramsey
opines that "The good guys won". We have not yet heard from a Murrieta columnist.

BikeWorldNews runs down the coverage briefly, and we get a plug. He's glad to hear Landis sounding like Landis, and is of both minds about the result:
I’ve more or less come to accept the decision, or at least the likelihood that Landis will not get any justice.

MediaLife Magazine
thinks the scandal has put the Tour in perilous shape.

The Floyd Landis doping allegations hurt the Tour de France in ways that few sports have ever been damaged.
I can think back to the late 1940s and early 1950s when the college basketball scandals almost wrecked interest in the sport. In that case, schools like CCNY and Long Island University never recovered from the scandal.

In many ways, the Tour de France as a major sporting event is on life support.

In this competitive marketplace, with so many blue-chip major sports dominating the market and many new sports such as action sports and mixed martial arts gaining momentum, it would not be hard to see the Tour de France slip into the orbit of rodeos and roller derby.

We'd say it's not just the Landis case, but the many cases starting with Festina and continuing through Astana and Rasmussen. The remainder of the points are harsh, but certainly arguable.

Rant read the Huff Post yesterday and disagrees with Dave Hollander who obviously needs boning up on his 2006 Tour de France history. Rant thinks that Floyd owes nobody nothin'. He had an expectation of "due process", such as it was, within the WADA system:

You may think it was a colossal waste of time and money to appeal. You may think that the system is rigged and the results a foregone conclusion. You may look at the evidence and say, “Guilty!” You may look at the evidence and scream, “Innocent!” But within the anti-doping system, as we know it, Floyd Landis had every right to appeal to the AAA, and appeal again to the CAS. He owes no one a darned thing (except, apparently, USADA to the tune of $100 grand) for exercising those rights.

Can't Holder Tongue
thinks Floyd was set up and is still pulling for him. Good luck with that insurance estimate.

The CaliRado Cyclist is convinced that what happened to Floyd Landis, and the injustice it indicates, would never happen to a big name "stick and ball" athlete:

In fact, the whole doping adjudication process is almost like some weird Bizarro Justice System where the accused must assume the burden of proof and the accuser is virtually immune to any potential evidence of wrong-doing or error. Does this seem problematic to anyone else? Even a Bizarro World Lawyer would probably say “Me not understand this legal system because it are opposite of what me have been taught in Law School.”

Bruce Hildenbrand
feels Floyd Landis has no real legal options remaining after his stunning defeat at the hands of the CAS.

Racejunkie writes of the massive "hangover" in the wake of the "crap" Landis decision, but moves on to other topics as well. Apparently life does go on.

JT Stally
presents "Wacky Wednesday" and provides quotes you'll likely never hear from Floyd Landis on his CAS decision.

Culture Popped
is so disagreeably revolting it had to be posted. In fact it does't merit "forgiveness" either.

Riding to and From
posts a very apropos picture of Floyd Landis and wonders what he'll do next.

Doucheblog, no doping apologist, takes the emerging middle position:

I'm not going to cry for Floyd. I've said it before: The guy was part of a dirty program at Discovery, then he moved on to another dirty program at Phonak. If I had to bet, it wouldn't be that he won the tour clean. However, for those who have paid attention, what this case has shown beyond all doubt is that:

1. The anti-doping system employs poorly validated tests which are run by labs that aren't following universally recognized practices for generating valid test data.

2. Once a positive result is generated, USADA and WADA will circle the wagons and do their best to protect their own at the expense of the athlete.

3. The arbitration system is set up to declare the athlete guilty.

Riding To and From picks the following lessons:
  • Joe Papp is a dick and former doper who didn't win shit
  • Greg LeMond will throw anyone under the bus for his own fame and name
  • Lawyers are whores and will do anything you pay them to do

If Fatty did the CyclingNews commentary for the Tour de France it might sound like this. Fatty I did read the whole thing and it was a much needed laugh, thanks!!

YACF (yet another cycling forum)
in the UK has a discussion of the result touching on the right points, and since it's new to us, there are fresh views being expressed.
And the result of a process that is not demonstrably and convincingly fair and open is that whether the right or the wrong result emerged, a top character is now out of the sport and a whole lot of people are significantly more distrustful of the machinery that is supposed to make it fair.

For my part I would far rather that some cheats get away with it than have the suspicion that honest athletes may be having their (oh-so-brief) careers truncated.


Unknown said...

As I have pondered this most recent CAS decision the phrase that keeps coming back to me is "beat down". I did a google search and found this slang definition of beat down:

""Beat down": means pretty much the same thing as "beat up", but it’s usually more severe. When someone gets beat up in prison, the beating usually ends when the loser is unconscious on the floor. When someone gets beat down, the beating doesn’t end until the guards stop it. The guards’ primary concern is to avoid injury to themselves, so it can take a while."

I see this decision as a beat down according to this definition, both in tone and effect.

This message was not only for Floyd though. It is for any other cyclist, or athlete for that matter, that would have the audacity to be truly innocent. They are saying: We don't care if you are innocent and if you persist and continue to embarrass us we WILL beat you to a bloody pulp. We are always right and even if we aren't right we are. Something like the pimp in a movie beats one of his girls to death to keep the others in line.

And that is my assessment of the alphabet soups; they are, in this instance, no better than any common pimp you could find in any squalid slum anywhere in the world.

We deserve so much more from those charged with cleaning up sports. But we get this. So tragic.