I scalped this from the VelosNewz piece by NRogers. i suppose i’ll just let it read for itself a bit.
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SJ: I think the labs have every obligation to manage these cases at the highest level. I think it’s fair to challenge the labs’ procedures and handling of samples. They should be able to produce documentation that they have followed their own rules in managing and testing doping samples. Frankly that gets right back to this balancing act between protecting the rights of the athletes and catching cheaters. You have to do it correctly, and the labs should be held to the highest of international standards.
FL: For example, is it reasonable that the panel admitted in the Scott Moninger case that he was not intending to cheat but convicted him, while the panel in the Landis case admitted to substandard lab practices and convicted him?
SJ: I don’t know enough information to make that comparison, frankly. I would assume in Floyd’s case that arbitrators determined that any substandard lab practices had no impact on the outcome of the test for exogenous testosterone, but I don’t know for certain.
FL (2): Here’s another way to ask it: Should the athletes be responsible and punished when they make a mistake and when the lab makes mistakes? Scott Moninger was banned as a cheater when there was no intent to cheat. In my case the lab followed none of its own rules, causing the result, and I am held responsible to explain what happened. What I’m trying to understand is why the athlete is judged as the only party who can be dishonest.
SJ (2): Unfortunately the science of human physiology is based on ranges, thresholds and probabilities. Remember, an elevated T/E triggers additional tests for exogenous testosterone and in Floyd’s case it was these additional tests that were ultimately considered in determining his guilt or innocence, not the T/E tests. That said, I go back to my original answer… and repeat that I absolutely believe drug-testing labs should be held to the highest possible international standards. In that sense, I think a “strict adherence” policy for anti-doping labs – one that could be considered analogous to the “strict liability” policy athletes are held to – is something that should be considered.
FL (2): Do you think that my two-and-a-half year suspension had a basis within the rules?
SJ (2): First off, Floyd received a two-year suspension, not a two-and-a-half year suspension. I assume his reckoning is based on the fact that his suspension started six months after he was first accused of a doping violation. As I pointed out (above), because Floyd never accepted a provisional suspension, the panel could have elected to start his suspension in October of 2008, which would have been a three-year suspension by his method of counting.
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