THE SPORTS DOCTOR- Dopey charges: Jealousy cause of Armstrong witch-hunt
I'm not a fan of the 1992 movie A Few Good Men. I haven't found Jack Nicholson entertaining since The Shining, and I'd rather be forced to listen to James Patterson read one of his own books than hear Tom Cruise utter dialogue.
It's unfortunate, then, that I must hark back to the most melodramatic scene from that movie to explain my situation. Simply put– I can't handle the truth.
At least I can't handle what some people are saying is the truth. In the last two weeks, an "unnamed" cyclist has claimed that the U.S. Postal Service team used performance-enhancing drugs rampantly and systematically, and that Lance Armstrong was an encouraging and willing participant during his career. It's a claim a lot of people, including many in the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), readily believe.
There's one reason the USADA, three-time Tour de France champion-turned-vigilante Greg LeMond, and random haters on the street all believe Lance Armstrong doped: they want to believe it. Before you lose your temper, let me acknowledge that the converse is also true: I and those of like mind defend Armstrong because we don't want to believe he took performance-enhancing drugs.
To those who would make that claim, let me say, you couldn't be more right: I sure as shootin' don't want to believe it, and thanks to the USADA, I don't have to.
One needn't be a lawyer to grasp how important it is for an argument to have a solid foundation. Even a courtroom drama like the ever-dubious Boston Legal constantly references circumstantial evidence and hearsay: two things that can easily kill a case, even in real life. It's not that circumstantial evidence is useless, but for a prosecutor to build a case on such shaky ground is indicative of one thing: a lack of direct evidence.
Add Floyd Landis to the mix, and you have a real doozy.
The USADA and its federal prosecutors claim it was 2006 Tour de France winner Landis' public allegations this spring about Armstrong's drug use that prompted them to investigate the famed rider.
If that's true, it's a sad state of affairs. Not only was Landis stripped of his 2006 Tour title and subsequently banned from cycling for two years for testing positive for dope, this past January the French government issued an arrest warrant for him on computer hacking charges related to the 2006 doping allegations. If that's not enough, back in 2007 when he was still under suspension, Landis outed the USADA for offering him a deal to point a finger at Armstrong. (Landis refused the deal then.)
So why talk now? Accusing Armstrong takes the focus off Landis' own doping, and now that his suspension is over and he's racing again (oh, yes he is), he can use the USADA to gain notoriety without looking like a rat.
Landis may have changed his tune, but the USADA is up to its old tricks.
Former U.S. cycling gold medalist Tyler Hamilton, who's serving an eight-year suspension for doping (his second), has already received a grand jury subpoena, but the "anonymous" rider who never tested positive for drugs has not. Prosecutors are interested only in witnesses who will "jump on the bus," a prison term for earning time off a sentence at another's expense.
But why is the USADA so intent on this witch-hunt anyway? How could they possibly benefit from turning Lance Armstrong's heroic career into a doping scandal?
The answer lies in France, Belgium and Spain. They will never forgive the United States for producing Lance Armstrong, and this triumvirate is making and will continue to make life very, very hard for U.S. cycling. Unless we make amends and serve up Armstrong's head on a platter, the big three will find a way for every American rider to pay a hefty price.
Greg LeMond's reason for accusing Armstrong? Simple: seven is more than three.
Despite being the most closely scrutinized rider in cycling history, in his 20-year career, seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong has never failed a single drug test– not after a time trial, a stage win, or a trip to the dentist. And no USADA sweetheart deal can change that.
Now that's a truth I can handle.
Juanita Giles lives in Keysville where she makes videos and updates her Sports Doctor site.