Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I got involved.

Of all the things I could write to my congressman about, I decided Floyd's case was the most important. There's just something about injustices like this that irk me. And yes, I cannibalized the letter from the FFF website (but couldn't resist rewriting parts of it.)

Here's my letter to Jay Inslee (WA 1st):

Dear Mr. Inslee;

I am an athlete and sports fan who has watched with frustration the allegations against Tour de France Cycling Champion Floyd Landis. Mr. Landis heroically won the 2006 Tour de France and days afterward saw his entire career collapse after allegations of adverse physiological testing results were announced.

As the case against Mr. Landis has unfolded, it has become clear to me that the actual sample analysis was not performed according to proper testing protocol. Also, the adjudication process conducted to date by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in partnership with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appears biased against athletes in general and Mr. Landis in particular. In fact, the adjudication process is so biased against athletes that NO athlete has ever won any of the 157 adjudication cases conducted by USADA according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper. This is a troubling statistic for an instrumentality largely financed by the U.S. Government.

Mr. Landis has been drug tested at random over 60 times in his professional career and each of these tests were negative, except for the alleged positive test that was announced days after he was only the third American to win the Tour de France. The announcement was made in violation of the rules established by the testing agencies, and afforded Mr. Landis no opportunity to defend himself, or to prevent an unwarranted and grossly unfair media “ambush.” These events demonstrate a clear violation of due process and equal protection we cherish in our society. Moreover, the inherent unfairness evidenced in the presumed “guilty until proven innocent” prosecution of Mr. Landis sends a strong signal to young athletes – why play fair on the field if someone somewhere will accuse you later and strip you of your achievements? This culture of “accuse and destroy first, and ask questions later” cannot continue.

I believe the public information warrants a Congressional review of the testing protocols and procedures that produced the alleged positive test. More importantly, I respectfully request a review into the USADA adjudication process that – together with its Supplementary Procedures for the Arbitration of Olympic Sport Doping Disputes – appears to prevent athletes from receiving a fair hearing and due process of law.

In particular, I hope you will review the unfair practices of USADA as it relates to its litigation of doping offenses, including, but not limited to: (1) its denial of documents and deposition discovery, (2) apparent conflict of interest in its selection of arbitrators and of counsel, (3) strict liability, presumption of guilt and disproportionate penalties, and (4) rule violations in support of a “beat the athlete at all costs” mentality.

As an athlete subject to USADA monitoring myself, I have a personal interest in athletes competing on a level playing field, and feel that performance enhancing drugs, illegal practices, and dangerous training techniques have absolutely no place in sports. At the same time, I believe it is important for athletes to be treated fairly and justly.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I would be pleased to discuss this matter with you personally at your convenience and as you deem appropriate. I can be contacted at the address above, or via email at:

/s/Richard Glover
Seattle, WA

cc: Floyd Fairness Foundation, 205 Lexington Avenue, 8th Floor, New York NY 10016

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