all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

25 August, 2012

Armstrong and the Alleged Admission of Guilt

In “USADA strips Lance Armstrong of Tour de France titles”, by Philip Hersh, the partisan journalist writes:
Armstrong has decided to leave his legacy to the court of public opinion rather than continue to fight charges brought against him by the US Anti-Doping Agency.
But he officially will be known as a doping cheat forever.

World Anti-Doping Agency boss John Fahey believes the decision of Armstrong not to challenge the charges can only be seen as an admission of guilt.

“There can be no other interpretation,” he said.  “His failure to rebut the charges allowed the USADA to take that as an admission of guilt and to impose sanctions.”

No other interpretation?  How about interpreting Lance Armstrong’s actions as an admission that he correctly ascertains that he cannot receive a fair hearing?  How about interpreting his statement,  that he’s had enough of “an unconstitutional witch hunt”, as sincere?
Armstrong’s decision not to formally contest those allegations at a USADA arbitration hearing means he will be stripped of his Tour de France titles and a 2000 Olympic bronze medal and be given a lifetime ban from the sport under provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code.  His last defence came in a petulant [!] statement yesterday accusing USADA and its chief executive, Travis Tygart, of a witch hunt.
Mr. Armstrong’s statement, to me, reads not as petulant but as exasperated and rightly aggrieved with the USADA’s disconcerting lack of fairness.
There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.”  For me, that time is now.  I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999.  Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart’s unconstitutional witch hunt.  The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation, and on me, leads me to where I am today—finished with this nonsense.  [...]
USADA has broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade USADA to honor its obligations.  At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.  For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach.  […]
USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles.  I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours.  We all raced together.  For three weeks [on each occasion] over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront.  There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment.  The same courses, the same rules.  The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins.  Nobody can ever change that.  Especially not Travis Tygart.
This is wherefore most civilised jurisdictions forbid “double jeopardy”, the prosecution of a person twice for the same alleged offence; imagine if a prosecutor just kept bringing criminal charges against an innocent person relentlessly, even after repeated dismissals and “not guilty” verdicts, until either a jury finally gave him the “guilty” verdict he sought or that person gave up fighting the charges.  Oh—

UPDATE I (14 October):  on the other hand, in light of many recent confessions of doping from Lance Armstrong’s former team-mates, one might easily conclude that he could have a hard time arguing that he was a drug-free innocent coincidentally surrounded by a throng of drug-takers:
Australia’s most senior cycling coach, Matt White, admitted last night he used drugs when he was a professional rider.
White, 38, has become the first Australian caught in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal that rocked cycling last week, the biggest such upheaval in sporting history.
White, a former Olympian, admitted he was part of the drugs culture when he was Armstrong’s teammate nearly a decade ago.  […]
Another disgraced American cyclist, former Tour winner Floyd Landis, told the investigators he shared banned blood booster EPO and testosterone with US Postal Services teammates White and Michael Barry in 2003 when preparing for the Tour of Spain.
Landis made the allegation in sworn statements to the US Anti-Doping Agency, which has condemned Armstrong as the mastermind of the sophisticated conspiracy to cheat on a massive scale and to co-oerce other rides to do the same.
UPDATE II (18 January, 2013):  see “It’s All about the Lies”, by Rick Reilly:
I'd sit there with him, in some Tour de France hotel room while he was getting his daily postrace massage.  And we’d talk through the hole in the table about how he stared down this guy or that guy, how he’d fooled Jan Ullrich on the torturous Alpe dHuez into thinking he was gassed and then suddenly sprinted away to win.  How he ordered chase packs from the center of the peloton and reeled in all the pretenders.
And then Id bring up whatever latest charge was levied against him.  “There’s this former teammate who says he heard you tell doctors you doped.”  “There’s this former assistant back in Austin who says you cheated.”  “There's this assistant they say they caught disposing of your drug paraphernalia.”
And every time—every single time—he’d push himself up on his elbows and his face would be red and he’d stare at me like I’d just shot his dog and give me some very well-delivered explanation involving a few dozen F words, a painting of the accuser as a wronged employee seeking revenge, and how lawsuits were forthcoming.
And when my own reporting would produce no proof, Id be convinced.  Id go out there and continue polishing a legend that turned out to be plated in fool’s gold.
Even after he retired, the hits just kept coming.  A London Times report.  A Daniel Coyne book.  A U.S. federal investigation.  All liars and thieves, he’d snarl.  […]
So I get it.  The road to redemption goes through Oprah, where he’ll finally say those two very important words, “I’m sorry,” and hope the USADA will cut the ban from lifetime to the minimum eight years.
But heres the thing.  When he says hes sorry now, how do we know he’s not still lying?  How do we know its not just another great performance by the all-time leader in them?
And I guess I should let it go, but I keep thinking how hard he used me.  Made me look like a sap.  Made me carry his dirty water and I didn’t even know it.  […]
And all along, the whole time, he was acting, just like he had with Ullrich that day.  So now the chase pack has reeled in Lance Armstrong, and he is busted and he’s apologizing to those he conned.

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