June 30, 2008
Landis loses final appeal
No one has done a better job following the Floyd Landis case than David Brower, Bill Hue, and a gaggle of interested commenters and guest posters over at Trust But Verify. Today, with the announcement that Floyd Landis has lost his final appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, Hue offers a fitting coda to the Landis circus:
Floyd is my hero because in the face of the biggest travesties of “justice” I have ever seen, he stood proud, determined, true to himself and his family and did not bow to those who define “the game” by making its rules, prosecuting those deemed to violate those rules and then stack the deck with those responsible to judge those “violations”. He made them work for it and we are all the beneficiaries of his efforts even though he ultimately derived no benefit, whatsoever.
I go back and forth on the ultimate question of Floyd's guilt or innocence, but I absolutely agree that the rush by organizers and WADA to be tougher and tougher on drugs has trampled the ideals of fair play, sportsmanship, and athletes' rights. It's unfortunate the riders don't have the leverage to create something akin to the major league baseball players' union.
Landis was also ordered to pay $100,000 toward the US Anti-Doping Agency's legal costs. He is eligible to return to racing in January 2009, just in time for the Tour of California, but I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) he would be subject to the no-UCI-teams-for-2-additional-years proviso (assuming there's still a UCI in 2009).