Sports Opinion & Analysis

DopeSTRONG?

In Cycling on August 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

As documented by my Melky Cabrera article, I am a supporter of harsh penalties for cheaters who use Performing Enhancing Drugs (PED’s).

It should then be no surprise I would write an article on how Lance Armstrong’s punishment at the hands of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is fair (losing all seven Tour de France titles, an Olympic Medal, as well as a lifetime ban from cycling), and how Armstrong finally got what was coming to him.

After yesterday, this supposedly never happened (seven times).

Except I’m not, and it isn’t.

When Major League Baseball handed down suspensions for PED’s, it had physical evidence of an offending player’s cheating. It had test results proving Cabrera and Oakland A’s pitcher, Bartolo Colon, took drugs to improve their physical abilities. It also had jurisdiction to hand out punishment.

The USADA has neither.

Doping in cycling is handled solely by the International Cycling Union (UCI), not the USADA. The USADA has no jurisdiction in the matter, and unprecedentedly surpassed its abilities to pursue its case against Armstrong. The UCI even helped fund Armstrong’s defense against the agency, because they believed the USADA was acting beyond the limits of its power.

Quite frankly, the USADA carries as much weight to hand out punishments for doping in cycling as Chick-Fi-La has to decide the Constitutionality of gay marriage.

Take more steroids.

The USADA also has no physical evidence of Armstrong’s alleged PED use. While there are claims Armstrong tested positive for PED’s in 2001, then paid to cover up those results, there is no actual evidence to support this accusation. The USADA’s entire body of evidence is nothing more than “he said this,” and “he said that,” testimonials from former teammates of Armstrong. The accusers are led by Floyd Landis, a disgraced Tour de France winner himself, who not only had his title stripped away for steroid use, but who was also recently convicted of wire fraud.

Not the most reliable, trustworthy witness, to say the least.

“I splash this stuff on me, and it makes my legs stronger!”

I don’t know whether Lance Armstrong took steroids or not. If he did, he needs to be stripped of everything, and cast out into the cold like he would rightfully deserve. But there is no smoking gun to prove that he did take PED’s. There is only hearsay and name calling. Accusations without support. There has been no trial, hearing, or anything to prove Armstrong did anything wrong.

While Armstrong very well may have taken PED’s, I have to admit I don’t know for certain if he did.

Too bad the USADA can’t say the same.

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