Sports Opinion & Analysis

Emails From Friends

In Cycling on October 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm

In response to DopeSTRONG: Part II (even more self reference), I got a friendly reply from user, Operasmorg.

Here’s the post:

Submitted on 2012/10/12 at 3:20 pm

I’m glad you can be persuaded by evidence, but why are you saying that USADA doesn’t have physical evidence when they have his test results? I believe Armstrong, like all the other pro cyclists, signed his agreement to subject himself to USADA jurisdiction in doping matter when he signed for his pro license.

One real disagreement here, tho. Not every pro cyclists he competed against was doping. You can reasonably say that all the top stars that won most of the races were doping, but you are doing the clean cyclists like Bassons or Aubier or Mercier and others we just don’t hear about because they didn’t get good enough results competing against dopers for the media to cover them a great disservice by lumping them in with the dopers. They had already been raped by cheaters. They don’t need to get raped again by over-generalizing bloggers, too.

And so Operasmorg, here’s my response:

As stated in the first article, the UCI, not the USADA, has jurisdiction to investigate and consequently strip Armstrong of his Tour de France victories for doping. While the USADA’s outcome may yield the correct results, the USADA, I believe, overstepped its jurisdiction to pursue its case against Armstrong. Granted, there are allegations that the UCI knew and covered up Armstrong’s PED use, but that is still alleged and not proven.

“Getting away with murder!”

The USADA may have test results, but from everything I’ve read, they don’t have failed test results. There are rumors that Armstrong tested positive in 1999 and 2001, and testimony on how he may have avoided positive testing, but the USADA doesn’t have a little vial of piss or blood they can hold up and say “Behold, the smoking gun to Lance Armstrong’s cheating ways.” 

“And that’s why we should go to war against Lance Armstrong.”

What they have is testimony, and not all the testimony is from the most reliable sources.

Furthermore, there has been an investigation and report, but no trial or hearing to determine Armstrong’s alleged guilt. While the evidence seems overwhelming, Armstrong still deserves due process. As I stated in the article, the court of public opinion though, is already out.

Which leads us to our real disagreement: you’re right, the report doesn’t say every pro cyclist Armstrong competed against was doping. It does say that doping was prevalent amongst Armstrong’s team, and it implied that Armstrong initiated his alleged drug use because of the overwhelming use of PED’s by the majority of cyclers he raced against. The report cites a general cycling culture embedded in drugs and cheating.

Page 637 of the USADA report.

So yeah, maybe Bassons and Aubier and Mercier didn’t do drugs (until apparently proven otherwise), but that is the folly of the situation. They might not have done drugs, but those who did were able to win, and not only the races, but the hearts and minds of viewers and fans. Now those cyclists who ruined their reputations with drug use also ruined the reputation of the sport. To Americans, Lance Armstrong used to be synonymous with cycling. Now, he’s synonymous with cheating. As unfortunate as it is, them’s the breaks. 

The USADA findings state that Lance Armstrong cheated, and you seem to easily accept that. That’s fine, but if you do, you also have to accept the part about the drug using culture  of cycling that the USADA cites as well. AIf that culture truly is the case, which is must be since their case against Armstrong has no fault, then no one will care anything about anything about cycling anymore, and nor should they.

Lastly, if you don’t want to talk about over-generalizations, don’t use ‘rape’ as your verb.

Thanks for reading.

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