The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) mission statement is clear: “USADA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of competition, inspiring true sport, and protecting the rights of U.S. athletes.” http://www.usada.org/files/pdfs/press-kit.pdf.
Yes, USADA is funded with your tax dollars, “74% from the federal government and 26% from the USOC” in 2009. Id. But, the argument that USADA is somehow mismanaging or wasting those funds by investigating Lance Armstrong is logically incoherent. Their stated purpose is to preserve the integrity of competition. That is exactly what they are doing.
Is it the course of action opposite to that which they have undertaken which would demonstrate a waste of almighty tax dollars – if they failed to adhere to their stated purpose and ignored evidence of doping. Then, my friends, then you would have an argument.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency brought formal doping charges against former cyclist Lance Armstrong in an action that could cost him his seven Tour de France titles, according to a letter sent to Armstrong and several others Tuesday.
As a result of the formal charges, Armstrong has been immediately banned from competition in triathlons, a sport he took up after his retirement from cycling in 2011.
In the 15-page charging letter obtained by The Post, USADA made previously unpublicized allegations against Armstrong, alleging it collected blood samples from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 that were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.” Armstrong has never tested positive.
. . .
USADA’s letter, dated June 12, further alleges that Armstrong and five former cycling team associates — three doctors including the famous Italian physician Michele Ferrari, one trainer and team manager Johan Bruyneel— engaged in a massive doping conspiracy from 1998-2011, and that “the witnesses to the conduct described in this letter include more than ten (10) cyclists …”
The letter specifically alleges that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents and that he distributed and administered drugs to others. http://www.washingtonpost.com. (All hyperlinks will be shortened hereinafter.)
First, a little background:
USADA is the quasi-government agency that oversees anti-doping in Olympic sports in the United States. It is empowered to bring charges that could lead to suspension from competition and the rescinding of awards. It does not have authority to bring criminal charges. Id.
So far, so good, right? They can suspend an athlete from competition, but they can’t throw you in jail or otherwise impose any criminal sanction against the accused.
Two points are important here. First, the evidentiary standard (or legal burden of proof) employed by USADA is lower than the standard in a criminal matter. Whether that is a good or bad thing, it should come as no surprise, depends a whole lot on one’s perspective. See http://www.utexas.edu/…dawer08.pdf, http://heinonline.org/…journals, and https://litigation-essentials.lexisnexis.com/….
The Anti-Doping Organization shall have the burden of establishing that an anti-doping rule violation has occurred. The standard of proof shall be whether the Anti-Doping Organization has established an antidoping rule violation to the comfortable satisfaction of the hearing panel bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation which is made. This standard of proof in all cases is greater than a mere balance of probability but less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. http://www.usada.org/files/pdfs/usoc-policies.pdf. (Page 4.)
Second, remember that federal probe that was dropped?
The federal probe had been headed by Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky, who had previously led steroid-use inquiries that ensnared baseball’s Barry Bonds, Olympic runner Marion Jones and world-champion boxer Shane Mosley, among others.
The grand jury, which began its inquiry around May 2010, heard testimony from a number of Armstrong associates and teammates, including former teammate Yaroslav Popovych, exercise physiologist Allen Lim, Olympic medalist Tyler Hamilton and longtime liaison Stephanie McIlvain.
. . .
Despite the end of the criminal probe, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement that it would continue its own investigation into the use of banned substances in cycling.http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/04/….
Any of that evidence collected by Noviszky which may been found inadmissible at trail is probably going to be admissible here because the Federal Rules of Evidence do not apply. Rather, the less stringent AAA Supplementary Procedures is followed in such matters. (I’d love to provide a cite for this assertion, but I’ll be damned if I can come up with something that is worth your time reading.)
USADA has developed and instituted an adjudication program that is fair and credible when an athlete is found to be in violation of anti-doping rules and regulations. USADA’s adjudication process relies on an American Arbitration Association (AAA)/Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) arbitrated hearing under modified AAA Commercial Rules. http://www.usantidoping.org/adjudication.
Also, the sealed testimony from the Grand Jury may be obtained if USADA can make an adequate legal basis. “By law, such testimony usually remains sealed unless it is admitted as evidence in a case generated by the grand jury indictment.” http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jul/10/….
Whether or not USADA can make such a showing, I really have no idea. But, the point is this: it is in play, and it is damning.
I do not see this ending well for our Mr. Armstrong.
As an aside, if any or all of Armstrong’s Tour titles are stripped, who in the hell can they rightfully call the winner? The top five is a who’s who of the disgraced and implicated in professional cycling. Can anyone say Jan Ullrich won the Tour? It is a question worth answering.
Update: The relevant USADA document regarding the formal action against the accused in available in pdf form. http://www.scribd.com/doc/97022278/USADA-v-Armstrong-et-al.by