Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2012

Enforcement overstep?

August 30, 2012


There’s something that doesn’t seem to fit concerning statements from the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency about the Lance Armstrong case.

The agency, you’ll recall, ordered a lifetime ban for the renowned and highly admired cyclist, and stripped him (or so it believes) of all his cycling titles, including seven wins in the fabled Tour de France.

Travis Tygart, who heads the USADA, says Armstrong might have retained some of his titles if he had cooperated with the agency. “Cooperate” translates into admitting he used banned drugs and blood transfusions to gain a competitive advantage.

Why would Armstrong, who famously has never failed a drug test in his career and who denies having used banned drugs, turn on himself in order to salvage some titles and assuage the anti-doping agency? Why, in effect, plead guilty if you maintain that you’re not?

Recent polls show that most Americans have not changed their opinion about the cyclist, who is known as a cancer survivor and established a foundation that has benefited cancer research. Perhaps the excesses of recent “doping” prosecutions of other high-profile athletes have painted a picture of over-zealous accusers. Or perhaps the public isn’t ready to accept as “proof” accusations by fellow cyclists who are perceived as trying to save themselves by targeting Armstrong.

At any rate, it’s disconcerting to see Tygart quoted as saying that Armstrong’s penalty is more severe because he continues to maintain his innocence, especially while the USADA acknowledges that the statute of limitations for its accusations is eight years and that most of Armstrong’s Tour de France titles are outside that time frame.

It would seem that Armstrong deserved a better fate, and that the USADA comes across as a petulant loser itself because Armstrong ultimately refused to fight it.


Ragingbear 5 years, 7 months ago

Same rules apply to the medical profession. Found guilty before any sort of a trial, no appeal. Failure to follow their "suggestions" completely results in revocation your medical license.

somebodynew 5 years, 7 months ago

"Recent polls show that most Americans have not changed their opinion about the cyclist,..."

What the polls didn't ask (at least the ones I saw) was what people thought about him before all this. My opionion didn't change because of the USADA..... I believed this about him for a long time. So my Opionion didn't "change", but that is not really what the poll asked, but probably should have.

And while the statements do sound bad, this is the way of the Court system and several other systems. People who take a plea bargain (often times privately saying they are not guilty) get lighter sentences; Penn St, while receiving harsh penalties, avoided the "death sentence" by not fighting the sanctions given. Why should it surpise us the USADA acted any different ?? And why should Lance be treated any differently ???

jaywalker 5 years, 7 months ago

Heard that, too. Love Armstrong and what he's done for cancer research, but it strains the imagination to believe he dominated the world for 7 yrs. without cheating when virtually everybody around him was.

formerfarmer 5 years, 7 months ago

I still wonder how the USADA can take away titles and ban someone for a sport when they are not the agency that that runs the sport. I would say they can make recommendations, but to say they are stripping someone of a title they never awarded is puzzling.

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