Alan Abrahamson, the veteran Los Angeles journalist behind 3Wire Sports, calls Lance Armstrong's decision to stop contesting the doping allegations against him "a defining moment in our sports history." But Abrahamson says the proceedings against Armstrong by the US Anti-Doping Agency are legitimate, and not the sham that the cycling legend keeps alleging. By dropping his fight, he argues that Armtsrong is likely cutting his losses.
For starters, USADA has operated in the same manner for a dozen years now. Every athlete has been treated to the same process. You’re no different. Moreover, it’s the same arbitration process that huge commercial concerns use each and every day. And these would be three experts deciding the case, not a jury of 12 with some retired postal clerks tempted to snooze off after lunch.
Not only that — let’s say you lose the first round. If you want to appeal, to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, you get an entirely new trial. To repeat: an entirely new trial. That’s way better than a criminal defendant gets in any court in the United States of America. If you get convicted of, say, felony burglary in Rancho Cucamonga, you might get the pleasure of going to prison while some three-judge appeals court panel takes up your case, maybe. You don’t get a brand-new trial.
So the USADA process — it’s legitimate, and that’s what you’d be working with.
– USADA had made it abundantly clear that they were more than ready to present evidence against you at a hearing. They said they had 10-plus witnesses — the guys you rode with — lined up to testify against you.
Let’s be really clear again. This was not a criminal case. But any prosecutor with 10-plus witnesses, all more or less saying the same thing, would feel really comfortable about the odds of winning.
– It’s true you never failed a doping test. (You did test positive at the 1999 Tour for a corticosteroid and then produced a back-dated doctor’s prescription.) Those tests are only a starting point for the discussion. This is why the expert judges hearing the case would be so important. They know all about, say, Marion Jones, and how she passed 160 tests — and turned out to be a chronic doper.
Also this from Travis Tygart, the chief executive of USADA: "He knows all the evidence as well and he knows the truth, and so the smarter move on his part is to attempt to hide behind baseless accusations of process....We never would have brought a case if we were not extremely confident in the level of evidence."