Friday, May 11, 2007

A New Dick In Town

Moby, that is. Sorry, Floyd, I know you didn't want this to be the story from your press conference, but it's hard to let it pass without comment. Not a bombshell really, but provides some unpleasant insight into the motives and tactics of Travis Tygart (or whoever is whispering in his ear). I've been trying to keep an open mind on Tygart, because he hasn't yet been able to speak for himself, so I'll listen when he does get that chance. Having said that, right now it's looking something like this:

Tygart: Floyd Landis, you've just doped to win the Tour de France, the biggest race in cycling, but we don't really care, we just want to get that Lance guy, the one who worked his ass off and brought positive attention and a legion of new fans to a great sport and never tested positive for anything and who doesn't even race anymore. So we'll let you get off with a month suspension, a month you of course wouldn't be riding anyway, 'mkay? We may not actually win a case against him, because your testimony will be torn apart as that of a man trying to save his own career, but at least someone will be casting aspersions on Lance again, because, you know, it's been a while, we miss it.

Now, I don't know if Tygart is the Ahab in this scenario, or if he was just the messenger for someone else's unhealthy obsession, but either way, it calls into question their tactics and motivation. Is this why they're playing such hardball, trying to bleed Floyd dry and obscure evidence? So he will finally break and give them what they want? Is this the only reason they're pursuing a weak case? I'll answer this one myself, it would appear to be the reason they went after those FFF records, looking for hush money I suppose. As if.

I understand pursuing a case with vigor. Maybe we'll hear differently next week, but all indications have been that the ADAs have gone well beyond vigor in this case. I understand wanting to get at suppliers, compliant team directors or doctors or whatnot. That's all important, and I'm fine with deals being made to get at the larger truths about doping in cycling. But a month for cheating to win the Tour? To get at a retired guy? That just smacks of desperation. Mind you, I don't think Floyd cheated, and I don’t think Lance cheated. I'm just talking about the ADA perspective, and how blinded and irrational it appears to be.

As Lance has become resigned to, there will always be questions. But why does that have to be so? There has always been a simple explanation for Lance's success - he was more meticulous, more willing to suffer, and worked harder than everyone else - 365 days a year - indeed, to a fault, but it made him a winner. Wayne Gretzgy, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer - those who stand head and shoulders above the rest is nothing new, nor unique to cycling. The commonality among these, Lance included - certain physical gifts, an uncanny ability to see the playing field, and by all accounts, each are/were the first to arrive and the last to leave the "practice field."

If someone wins by a mile and doesn't show all of those characteristics, that bears a second look. And as we've seen this week, that may well be the result of cheating. But if there is no evidence, and there are logical explanations, what is the obsession about? Where does that venom come from? Internal politics beyond me, no doubt. But it makes you look pretty silly to the outside observer.

Oh yeah, Floyd talked about his case too. Censuring Pound - symbolic, but I'm glad they're doing it, the man just shouldn't be allowed to get away with such outrageous statements. Sticking with the science and not the show - I certainly hope so. Team Landis has used the show too much as of late, I'm glad they're planning on getting down to brass tacks next week. The danger of whipping the faithful into a frenzy is that everyone's on about the kangaroo court and leaving the science behind. Improper procedure is important, but the facts are the most important. If you have a cool customer like Tygart explaining things away and sounding rational (wild deals aside), you need to calm down and go toe to toe on the facts. Here's hoping it gets back to that next week, as Floyd has indicated he wants it to. One gets the idea that Floyd is the one calming his team down, not the other way around. Stop. Look. Listen. Breathe. Here we go…

Update: As it turns out, it appears Tygart did not mention Lance by name, see Floyd's actual statement at TBV. It may have been clear that Tygart intended to include Lance in the cyclists he was speaking of, but still, the offer was not as stark as it first appeared in news reports. This just underscores my call for caution and trying to avoid tunnel vision. It's hard, when it all seems so unjust you can't stand it, but it's a trap that must be avoided, especially by Floyd's team.


Theresa said...

Hi, Julie, I just found this window while I was closing stuff down!!

JD said...

Well written Julie! I always enjoy your posts. I think you're right -- Floyd really wants to win this case on the science. I'm hoping (crossing my fingers and toes)that he gets a fair hearing and can make the arbitrators really take a good look at the scientific flaws evident in the case.

Theresa said...

It's handy having you on our "team"! With the extra legal point of view, you try to keep us centered! I hope the bat-catcher comes soon; it this unique to Maine??:)

Julie said...

Thanks JD. Fingers and toes crossed here too. I'm hoping, after all this rhetoric, seeing Floyd face to face for two weeks will tickle something in the other two arbs to open their minds a little.

Theresa - not unique to Maine, Austin actually has a huge bat population, as Camille can probably attest. The problem with my situation is, it's babies this time of year, so unless you just go in and slaughter them all, you have to wait until they are old enough to be flying out at night, and then block up holes, etc. So, I'm probably stuck with them for a couple months! I had them a couple of years ago, and the bat guy came at the appropriate time, and I was bat-free last year. My heart sank yesterday when I arrived at work and immediately heard that familiar chirping in the chimney!

Yvette said...

"Sticking with the science and not the show..."

If only that were the case...I'm not trying to mix politics into this, but there is a sense that the ADA dudes have that same cavalier attitude as say, oh, maybe our president...and this leaves me with the same response: I cringe, vomit a little in my mouth, and am actually a little embarassed for them.