Hey there. Long time, no blog.
Today's news that an arbitration panel has found Floyd Landis guilty of doping in the 2006 Tour de France is a tragedy.
To be up front, I have met and interviewed Landis. I liked him a great deal. I would like to believe that he didn't dope, but I don't know if he is innocent or not. But none of that matters.
The case against him simply wasn't strong enough, and the fact that the panel voted 2-1 to convict him shows that the system is hopelessly rigged against athletes. The mere opening of a proceeding seems to be evidence enough to declare guilt.
Never mind that the lab work at the LNDD, the French lab involved in the case, was somewhere between laughable and horrifying. Never mind that the chain of custody wasn't maintained. Never mind that the testing wasn't anonymous.
Those who believe Floyd to be guilty will say that those are technicalities, and don't address guilt or innocence. But technicalities are the only basis that athletes can argue in the current system. And technicalities are important -- WADA has rules that they are supposed to follow. They're there for a reason. And if they are allowed to break them, well, it's a farce.
Like I said, I don't know if Floyd doped or not. But if you're going to destroy a man's career, you better have a buttoned-up case. And this one doesn't even come close. Doping, especially in cycling, is shameful. Even more shameful is a willingness to bend or break rules in one's zeal to fight doping.