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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Floyd Landis stripped of Tour de France title, steroid doctor sentenced, Justin Gatlin may be next

Now the test results are infallible. No excuses, no re-dos, no third tests, it's official.

Floyd Landis had plant-produced testosterone added to his body when he made his now infamous charge in the last stage of the mountains that "catapulted" him to his short-lived victory in the Tour de Fraud.

Here's how the test works. Testosterone created by a human body has a unique Carbon signature. Testosterone from synthetic sources (i.e. made from plants) has a completely different Carbon signature. Also, natural testosterone production declines sharply as synthetic testosterone is added to the body. Landis' sample showed elevated testosterone levels of synthetic testosterone - testosterone with a a completely different Carbon signature to any human body. Correspondingly, his levels of natural testosterone (with the unique human Carbon signature) were markedly low.

He's done, he cheated, hang him from the city walls.

In a related matter recently, the "steroid doctor" who provided for several of of the NFL's Carolina Panthers was sentenced. As reported in several news outlets:

James Shortt, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally prescribe steroids and human growth hormone to members of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, has been sentenced to a year and a day in jail. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped 42 other related charges against Shortt, charges for which the maximum penalties were five years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

I can't wait to see the names they got from his files. Can you imagine? We'll have another Jason Grimsley sized dose of paranoia going around the NFL. Of course the confidentiality privilege applies, but in lower courts, that gets shot to hell every day in cases involving prdinary citizens. I especially am disappointed that they get admitted as some sort of evidence in Family Court deputes, but for right now the more pressing global issue is this one: It will be interesting to see if the privilege is successfully defended here where athletes are thge target. If so, that means ordinary citizens once again have less rights that our most precious natural resource, the professional jock.

In another related matter, my friend and legal eagle colleague Cameron Myler of Frankfurt, Kurnit Klein and Selz, is representing sprinter Justin Gatlin, who was just stripped of his world record.

Finally, I must take my good friend and colleague Steve Czaban to task for his weekly column here, where he basically says we all should accept steroids and cheating as part of the game. Then he asked the question:

"Bonds and company were forced to change their tactics only once the gasbags in Congress got involved. Until that point, the players all knew guys were using "stuff." The union made sure to keep all the pee cups on the sidelines. And the owners went back to counting the gate.

In other words: What's the problem?"

Start here: Edmund Burke famously wrote "the best way for evil to succeed is for good men to stand by and do nothing."

Using performance enhancers and banned substances is cheating. Sports are meant to be fair: fair for the players, fair for the fans (especially the kids), fair for everybody betting on the game. (Wanna see the gambling industry shut down? Rig everything with cheating. Everyone will be too scared to bet.)

No, sports are a metaphor for life. Sully sports by cheating and unfairness and we all lose.

Next, there is a reason most of these drugs are banned, they have terrible unpredictable side effects on people's health.

Finally, by giving the athlete's a pass, you enable young kids to take the same risk. For every "great athlete" there are 100 kids who didn't make it. You are either making huge money as an athlete or you're everybody else and the temptation to put these horrible, pretty much expirimental drugs in their body is huge.

Do you really want your son taking a drug that is meant to increase sterility in cattle? Or how about human growth hormone? Do you want your daughter taking testosterone derived from some obscure plant from the South American jungle? You sure wouldn't want her taking refined coca from an obscure plant from the South American jungle, I know that. But is there really a difference just because one might help an athlete get bigger stronger faster and the other won't? At what cost?

I'm sure Czabe and I will debate this in the future soon, so stay tuned.

That being said, I'll play nice and link to one of Czabe's all time classic summer pieces here. I won't spoil the surprise, but the Chris Berman jokes are epic.


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