Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bizarro Justice

When I was younger, I used to think that I wanted to win the Tour de France. Now that I’m older, I am somewhat grateful I never did. After all, it seems lately that life is not all yellow jerseys and champagne for those who find success in the Tour.

Perhaps more troubling than any doping concern is the fact that the recent Landis and Rasmussen verdicts (conveniently delivered the week before the Tour starts) are just the latest in a growing list of bike-related litigation which further indicates the lowly status of the athletes within the hierarchy of the sport. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – This would NEVER happen to a baseball or football player who had the support of a legitimate workers union.

Whether F-Landis or The Chicken cheated is virtually irrelevant at this point as far as I’m concerned. What is exceedingly relevant however, is the solemn understanding that the “accused cyclist” is immediately presumed guilty and is no longer judged by a standard legal system. To make matters worse for the athlete, it is now apparently possible to be penalized financially for defending yourself too vigorously.

In fact, the whole doping adjudication process is almost like some weird Bizarro Justice System where the accused must assume the burden of proof and the accuser is virtually immune to any potential evidence of wrong-doing or error. Does this seem problematic to anyone else? Even a Bizarro World Lawyer would probably say “Me not understand this legal system because it are opposite of what me have been taught in Law School.”

Here is the comment from the CAS that sums this up nicely:

"The [facility] is a WADA-accredited laboratory that benefits from the presumption that it [is] in accordance with international standards."

Okay then, case closed. The lab is WADA accredited so they must have done everything exactly right and couldn’t have possibly made any errors. Now I get it.

One question though – What are the international standards regarding leaking private information to large French newspapers on a fairly regular basis? I guess the Lab Rats are only capable of compromising their ethics verbally.

As far as I can tell, the following statements are factual:

- The chain of custody of Floyd Landis’ samples was broken by the lab on at least one occasion and there were multiple errors in the documentation of the samples.

- Rabobank knew of Michael Rasmussen’s whereabouts prior to the 2007 Tour and team management was aware that he was not conforming to his stated UCI location.
I understand that Rasmussen having his racing license suspended does not directly relate to Rabobank - but it seems clear that they knew what was going on prior to the Tour and only canned The Chicken after things got public during the race. Ultimately, Rabobank has a certain culpability in this mess and their willingness to throw Rasmussen under the big orange and blue bus was kind of foul. Or fowl?
I don't agree with what Rasmussen did but his employer took advantage of him and I have issues with the terms of his termination.

Now, unlike Star Jones, I am not a lawyer. Jackie Chiles and Bob Loblaw are close personal friends of mine, but I do not have any formal legal training. Having said that, I find it hard to understand how Landis could be PROVEN guilty after his sample was mishandled and Rasmussen could be fired for LYING about his location when his employer knew where he was the whole time.

Perhaps Cirroc, the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer could explain it to me because I’m pretty sure F-Landis and The Chicken can’t.


Anthony said...

On the bright side, Floyd will probably never have to testify before a very special meeting of congress.

CaliRado Cyclist said...

I have always liked the Dutch for MANY reasons but news this morning confirms that their courts are okay too. Maybe Rasmussen got Cirroc to defend him in The Netherlands...

Rabobank will have to pay Rasmussen 700,000 Euro and hopefully think twice the next time they enable nefarious activity which may come back to haunt them.

Kk said...

Here, here, Caliradio! This 'the cheese stands alone' attitude between accused athletes and their teams grinds my cookies most of all.