September 20, 2007

Landis Banned, French Lab Warned

ESPN has reported what will probably be the final verdict in the year+ long saga of the Floyd Landis doping scandal. After $2 million of defense funding, investigations, and accusations, the verdict was 2-1 against Landis. While this might not be big news, some of the details of the verdict should be of more relevance in an age where steroids and steroids testing will be dominating many of the major sports in years to come.

Even the majority which ruled against Landis admitted that the French Lab which performed the test did not follow appropriate procedures and their report, according to the dissenting opinion, "The documents supplied by LNDD are so filled with errors..."

From the dissenter:
"Also, the T-E ratio test is acknowledged as a simple test to run. The IRMS test is universally acknowledged as a very complicated test to run, requiring much skill. If the LNDD couldn't get the T-E ratio test right, how can a person have any confidence that LNDD got the much more complicated IRMS test correct?"

While Landis is probably stuck with this decision, the problem of a lab which appears to have no accountability remains. This same lab accused Lance of cheating as well. Maybe they just improved their tampering technique for Floyd's case. In situations like this year's Tour where a single positive result forced the withdrawal of an entire team, who's to say there might not be some shady dealings when only one lab is responsible for all the testing? I'm not saying I believe Floyd is innocent. I just don't know any more, and I don't trust the various anti-doping agencies, which have a reputation to uphold as well.

In an age of steroid paranoia, the athlete still deserves the privilege of defending himself in a fair trial of some sort. What if Tom Brady tests positive for something, but the lab messed up? The NFL and MLB appear to have appropriate waiting periods before announcing results to check backup samples and such. The French lab which tests cyclists is notorious for releasing its findings a little early.

I just hope athletes get a fair shake, clean or dirty. We'll never know about Floyd.

5 Responses:

Russell said...

Or the NFL's designated lab has a Browns fan on staff, who decides it might even the playing field if Ray Lewis tested positive? Is there any accountability?

J-Red said...

Ray is clean because I say so.

J-Red said...

And funny you should mention Tom Brady when a "prominent" Massachusetts athlete, as well as an athlete/entertainer, have come up in the most recent federal probe.

My bet for "athlete/entertainer" is John Cena, the WWE wrestler.

Brien said...

The problem with blaming the lab is that "the lab screwed up" has been the go-to defense for every steroid user from Ben Johnson on. Maybe in a couple of those cases the lab really did screw up the result, but certainly not in all cases.

As one of the few American cycling fans who doesn't spend every weekend riding around in spandex, it's frustrating because we don't know who is cheating, and we probably never will. I'd like to see more former riders come out and talk about their own doping and what they saw from other riders. The impression that the cycling community is giving off at the moment is that everyone is dirty. I hope that's not the case, but I can't be sure.

J-Red said...

"The lab screwed up" also earned Mr. O.J. Simpson his freedom.

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