Lance Armstrong has become, once again, the focus of a doping investigation. A two year-old federal Justice Department investigation, which concluded in February, could not find a reason to file charges against Armstrong. Now, lo and behold, we are told that the USADA has filed charges against Armstrong and he has been immediately barred from triathlon competition.
Interesting timing, I’d say. Ironman France – Armstrong’s first Ironman - is just 11 days away. Coincidence?
Yes, doping in sport should be addressed aggressively. But let’s start moving forward, shall we? This is all starting to become a little old and stale.
Here’s what all of this sounds like to me. Imagine the USADA driving up in a police car, and with the voice of Sergeant Joe Friday (or Mr. Bookman from the Seinfeld episode), saying ….
So here’s the deal, Lance. You thought you were going to get away with this, didn’t you? Well, we’re going to bring charges against you. Again. You can put your goggles and bike and shoes away, tri guy, because no more Ironman for you. We have 10 unnamed people prepared to testify against you. Yes, unnamed, I tell you. It’s over! Why don’t you just give up the fight and call it a day right now?
Just thinking about this makes me laugh at the stupidity of it all.
Let’s get first things first:
1. Armstrong has yet to test positive in a drug test. Over 500 tests and, well, nothing. And if he did, or if there was ever any evidence to support the claim, then you know it would make front page news immediately if not sooner.
2. He has yet to lose a sponsor. And, by the way, if Armstrong IS doping, then all those big-money sponsors are going down with him. But to this point, nobody is wavering.
Point #2 may actually be more important than #1. Armstrong’s reputation is one thing, but the impact on the reputation and finances of the sponsors is potentially huge.
At this point, I really don’t care whether or not people “believe” that he was doping. We all “live” in a country which promotes innocence until proven guilty. They call it “justice”.
So why don’t we all try on the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution for size:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury … nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb … nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law …
Do you think there was a reason (or several) why a FEDERAL investigation was dropped?
Among those that responded to the allegations are WADA, who noted:
It is noted that the proceedings are the result of evidence gathered by USADA under its mandate and does not include evidence obtained by the investigation of the US Department of Justice.
At this point, there are apparently 10 unnamed people lined up to testify but weren’t, strangely enough, ready to do so when the Justice Department came knocking a few months ago. We now have yet another media frenzy and yet another trial in the court of public opinion. Is that truth? Is that justice?
I suspect that it is no coincidence that the USADA has brought its charges against Armstrong just 11 days before Ironman France, his first Ironman after two stunning half Ironman victories. Does anyone really think that these details just came to light now? Even if the allegations are false, they will have effectively put Armstrong’s assault on Kona on hold, and he’s not getting any younger. Justice? I think not.
The events of this week elicit some significant questions for me. Has this become a case of finding more evidence, or just a bunch of sore losers? Has this become a taxpayer-funded witch hunt based on the not-so-hidden agendas of those that simply won’t believe, or will refuse to believe, that Armstrong was able to attain these results without doping? (for further thoughts on that, refer to my previous posts here and here).
I am all for taking an anti-drugs-in-sport stance. Yes, I may be completely wrong about Armstrong. But if the truth smacks you in the face repeatedly, then bury the past (and your agendas) and let justice prevail. And if the facts are on Armstrong’s side, then he deserves all of the benefits and rights afforded to him by that same judicial system in a civil court. Truth. Justice.
If you want to spend money on drug testing and doping allegations, do so with the future in mind – not on the past. Right now, this is all getting a little old. Let’s bury the past, once and for all. It’s time to move on.
Photo credits: puliarf