To: Travis Tygart and David Howman
Dear Travis and David:
According to a New York Times report, Lance Armstrong is considering confessing to using performance-enhancing drugs in the hopes of returning to competition.
Please don't cave on this. If
you don't uphold the entire ban in a situation like this then what's
even the point of your job?
Substantial assistance reduction is
intended to be afforded to athletes who provide useful information that
leads to other cases (and presumably a leg up in the general anti-doping
fight). I see absolutely no value (or legal standing, for that matter)
in allowing any type of reduction in this case.
The time to
provide substantial assistance, if he indeed was doping, was when the
original positive tests came back (if those reports are true). That
burden partly rests on the anti-doping officials for not having a regime
in place to prevent loopholes for getting out of a positive test, but
it also reflects on the individual who knowingly lies within the system
(if that's what he did). Of course, it would probably be unrealistic to
expect an athlete to confess when they have an easy out (such as a
back-dated prescription). I'll even give him a pass here.
can't give him a pass is treating people like dirt and suing people and
organizations (successfully) for making allegations that he doped.
Then he perjured himself (if he indeed admits that he doped) in the US
justice system. Then he had a fairly lengthy period of investigation,
and he had substantial time to respond to the investigation. The time
for substantial assistance would have been when USADA was putting the
case together. Even then, the main purpose of substantial assistance
(to obtain useful information on other cases and common practices) would
have been minimized. We're talking about practices and people who were
using them a decade (or more) ago. At least it would have shown some degree of
If this is substantial assistance, then I'm afraid
to see what "lack of assistance" looks like. It's harmful enough to
dope and hide from the truth as long as possible, but I find it
difficult to blame athletes for this. Self-preservation is human nature. Armstrong went a step further.
He persecuted the people trying to prove his doping (if he was doping)
to the extent that he even received monetary damages. Lives of
principled people (if they were telling the truth) were ruined in his
So I say to you, if you allow a substantial
assistance reduction (or any other reduction) in this case, when would
you NOT allow a reduction?
P.S. What do Emma O'Reilly and Betsy Andreu think about this latest development?