Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pound, Dick: A Story of a One-man Jury

Fresh from the comments box (thanks Robert) is a fascinating story on the life and times of one Dick Pound. "The Difficulty of Watching Pound Throw His Weight Around," by Sally Jenkins, Washington Post, 13 August 2005
The Story

15 Comments:

Blogger Amateur said...

There is lots of anti-Pound sentiment on the web. Here are two more examples for your readers:

Dick Pound Must Go (Transition Game)

IOC President Criticizes Doping Authorities in Armstrong Case (Outside the Whale) (work back from here to see more)

Also here is a more recent NYT article

Pound's public behaviour is (IMO) clearly inappropriate, and a topic that should be more openly discussed. However, this issue is quite far removed from the question of Floyd Landis' guilt or innocence. If Pound is part of some grand conspiracy against Landis, why him, and why now?

7:00 PM  
Blogger mtnwing said...

I disagree that Pound's behavior is completely removed from the serious issues in the Landis accusations. Pound represents the so-called "leadership" of the UCI and it's been my experience in busines that when it's loosey-goosey at the very top of an organization, this often creates a wave that permeates throughout the rest of the organization in the way it conducts itself. We've all heard the old phrase "run a tight ship". If the leadership doesn't follow rules, what's the likelyhood things are getting played by the book further down? I say it's pretty unlikely.

11:29 PM  
Blogger tenzing said...

The entire Landis-doping scandal just flat out smells bad. It certainly seems as though Dick Pound has an agenda, as well as other who are caught up in the political ball of wax that used to be a bicycle race (TDF).

This is what I think happen with Floyd: someone tainted his sample. There are people out there who, for whatever reason, did not want this man at the top. I am not a chemist and have no proff, but it would seem to me if you compare all of his samples from the race, there would be a series of peaks and valleys in the T/Epi T levels. The question remains: what were his levels on the next day? Were there traces of excess T in his system? If so, to what extent? And, how long would it take the body to metabolize a "synthetic" testoterone product?

This is a similar scenario to hanging chads, and Florida voters, and a popular vote President winning an election. The politics of the Tour De France are what is tainted; not the winning athlete.

5:48 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

mtnwing,
Pound has nothing to do with the UCI. He is head of WADA (World Anti Doping Agency).

6:35 AM  
Blogger Ministry of Information said...

Actually I think Dick Pound's poorm example so far is right at the heart of why there's so much speculation around the whole Landis affair. There can be very little doubt that this man has a personal agenda and perhaps a chip on his shoulder that extends way beyond any agenda as the face of WADA. Unfortunately we have to face some facts. On professional cycling in general, he's right. (You have no idea how hard it is for me to find any reason to side with this guy!) I also seriously doubt he'll be thrown out as the WADA chief anytime soon. I sent this open letter which I hope explains my sentiments, concerns and hopes on the matter.

Mr. Pound,

I too believe that cycling should be clean and that is the sport I want to see but I do have concerns about your organisations ability to deliver on this when you consistently seem unable to publicly acknowledge any possible fault or issues within your own organisation. I do believe that the vast majority of the time WADA does get it right but no organisation and no science which relies on human beings is perfect. Therefore it is within reason that one of the labs or an individual could a) make a mistake or b) have another agenda. Unlikely? Yes Impossible? No.

You consistently disregard any action which questions you personally or your organisation. I like your recent comparison to an alcoholic and the admission is that first we have to acknowledge the problem. While I agree that there certainly is a problem in cycling, I'm not convinced that the solution lies in the hands of someone or something completely unprepared to accept any scrutiny or constructive critisism. If the science speaks for itself as you would often suggest, why do you need to start publicly condemning atheletes before there cases have been proven in a court of law. The more personal your attacks, the more I start questioning your ethics and credibility. It seems to me that, as a lawyer yourself, you're somewhat of a traitor to your own profession. Acknowledging that there is a slight possibility that your science could destroy the career of an innocent man would be a good first step on your 'road to recovery'.
I do understand your system of beliefs in this matter but this isn't completely your battle. You also know that all of the science around drug testing is continually evolving. That alone makes it prone to the occasional possible mistake. Perhaps you could do something to help these sports that you care about so much and ask people to hold off judgement until all the facts, evidence and theories have been exhausted in a court of law. I'd also suggest you consider an 'innocent until proven guilty in a court of law' approach to all drug testing.

Many people have suggested I have to be naive to presume that Floyd Landis might be innocent. Unfortunately I'm not even that confident that the current system (which presumes guilt) will ever be enough to convince me.

I know I'd have to be insane to presume that Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, Roberto Heras, Tyler Hamilton and all those others over the past two years are innocent as well.

Prove me wrong. Stop being the mouth of WADA and start being the strong, silent partner of cycling. Clean up the sport I love. Get processes in place that are so beyond reprisal that an athelete can truly be presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. Make sure you don't destroy innocent men in the process. You will have my sincerest gratitude.

Sincerely,

James Blackstock

12:26 PM  
Blogger mtnwing said...

sorry my bad on the typo Robert. WADA as you correctly state. Thanks for the correction

5:22 PM  
Blogger arborjimb said...

Landis wants the public in on his hearing

By Shaun Assael
ESPN The Magazine

http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/columns/story?id=2551555

If the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency formally charges Tour de France winner Floyd Landis with violations of its drug policy, the cyclist will take the unprecedented step of asking that his hearing be opened to the public, according to a member of his defense team.

"Floyd is a public figure, and we think that he deserves to have the public hear his side of the story," one of his attorneys, Howard Jacobs of Los Angeles, told ESPN The Magazine.

Since synthetic testosterone was found in Landis' system after the 17th stage of the Tour, even his lawyers believe charges are inevitable. On Aug. 5, a second test of his urine sample confirmed the first finding.

Because of that, Landis' legal team has zeroed in on an American Arbitration Association rule that governs U.S. doping cases. It allows athletes who contest their charges to request that their hearings be opened to the public.

John Ruger, an Olympic ombudsman who helped to write the rule, says its "intent is to be fair to an athlete who, for whatever reason, doesn't think he can get a fair hearing in a closed session."

Jacobs said the idea to invoke the rule gained urgency this week after Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, wrote an opinion piece for a Canadian newspaper that ridicules Landis' claims of innocence. In the piece, Pound suggested that Landis' supporters might as well believe the cyclist was "ambushed by a roving squad of Nazi frogmen and injected against [his] will with the prohibited substances."

"Given all the lobbying for public opinion that's going on, the only way for Floyd to clear his name is if the public watches his hearing and makes up its own mind," Jacobs said. "Dick Pound piling on makes it impossible for us to get a fair hearing unless it is open to the public."

The request for an open hearing would mean the case could be televised live to news outlets around the world. Travis Tygart, USADA's general counsel, said, "If an athlete requested it, we wouldn't object."

Since USADA was created in 2000, all its hearings have been held behind closed doors. Although decisions in those cases are published, the public has been given little insight into how the system works. That has exposed USADA to charges from high-profile athletes such as Marion Jones that it is a "kangaroo court." Jones was questioned by USADA in 2004, then made that suggestion in a televised news conference in San Francisco.

Landis offered a series of possible reasons for his positive drug test after the results became public, including the much-maligned theory that he drank too much whiskey before the 17th stage of the race. Even Lance Armstrong, a supporter, criticized him for talking too much. Since then, Landis has stepped back, saying he was forced to speculate prematurely because the media learned of the test before he did.

"I know the truth. I know I won the Tour clean. I know I raced by the rules," he told ESPN.

Two areas of attack for Landis' legal team involve the test itself and the lab that administered it.

The test scans for two atoms (carbon 12 and 13) in testosterone molecules. A skewed ratio of carbon 12 and 13 atoms is indicative of synthetic testosterone. Don Catlin, head of the UCLA Olympic Lab and a developer of the test, told The New York Times that it is extremely effective when used correctly. Landis' lawyers also are expected to attack the integrity of the Paris lab that used it. That lab was recently at the center of a controversy involving Armstrong, in which he said its officials mishandled his frozen urine samples.

At least one other attorney for athletes believes allowing cameras into a hearing will strengthen doping's justice system.

"It might be healthy to open it up to scrutiny so it can be made more transparent," said Edward Williams, a former Olympian and New York lawyer who has represented a half-dozen athletes before USADA. "If the athlete requests the hearing be open, USADA should not be able to say no."

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, is expected to refer the case to USADA sometime in the next week. After that, USADA's anti-doping prosecutors will submit the evidence to a review board made up of panelists from the legal, scientific and medical fields. The board will ask Landis for any documents he might want to submit in his defense. If it still thinks there are grounds to move forward, the board will approve USADA's request to bring charges, much as a grand jury hands up an indictment.

Jacobs said he doesn't expect a hearing to take place until December at the earliest.

Shaun Assael is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

6:30 PM  
Blogger arborjimb said...

Maybe it's my wish that Floyd gets off, but this further's my beleif that Floyd MIGHT have soemthing up his sleeve.

Thoughts?

6:35 PM  
Blogger arborjimb said...

This hearing, if indeed open, will be the most important in the history of WADA. Floyd is the highest profile drug cheat since Ben Johnson. The general (non sports) press will be covered like no other WADA hear before, times 10! Greta and Roger will offer daily updates.

If Floyd does walk, it's the end of Dick Pound. Espscially after Pound's over-the-top August 9 op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen, which Floyd's legal team cited as a reason to they want this open hearing (their is another thread about this). They will turn this into a referdum on Dick Pound. And, he will look very bad.

If WADA screwed up, WADA's reputation is toast. They will be unable to prosceute drug cheats as they will have no credibility and will have the effect of legalize PEDs. Heck, Gatlin may even run the worlds next year if Floyd walks.

Watch this as the outcome could have big ramifications for many years. Either for WADA or cycling (and T&F by imlications). It's a high stakes poker game.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Amateur said...

Again I agree that Pound's behaviour is inappropriate for somebody in his position.

However, I don't see how you can say he has it in personally for Floyd, unless you only just now started paying attention. The guy has it in for everybody. Athletics, soccer, cycling, triathlon, swimming ... anybody who is famous enough to get Pound's name in the paper, he'll accuse and convict them -- with or without an actual positive test (see Ullrich, Jan, or Jones, Marion).

7:51 PM  
Blogger Amateur said...

arborjimb wrote: It's a high stakes poker game.

In a poker game, Landis would stand some chance of actually winning. WADA holds all of the cards in this case. Landis now has to prove, at the very least, incompetence on the part of the lab, and prove that the incompetence caused his positive tests. It won't be enough to present historical evidence that they've screwed up other cases.

The USADA will be only too happy to rule for a ban and let Landis appeal to the CAS; it's almost a certainty.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Ministry of Information said...

Having this trial open to the public is the best news I've heard in ages. While Dick Poung and even Pat McQuaid may 'think' they have the best interest of this sport at heart, I suspect that neither of them is excited at all about their organisations getting publicly scrutinised in an open court. It might be just the kind of thing that makes them think twice about their processes. I really like the fact that Pound's big mouth is the cited reason for requesting an open trial!

12:28 AM  
Blogger Paladin said...

Landis Father-in-Law Commits Suicide

9:17 AM  
Blogger Ministry of Information said...

ANOTHER THOUGHT: Just read another item that suggested another agenda possibility in a possible conspiracy to strip a TdF winner of his yellow jersey. The UCI Pro Tour. The Pro Tour has been in tatters since the UCI cannot get agreement with the Big Three. Think about it for a second: Roberto Heras drug tested and stripped of his Vuelta title. Basso wins the Giro and suddenly his name crops up in Operacion Puerto. Now the Tour winner gets a positive dope test. It's depressing news but one could also argue that it could actually serve to strengthen the UCI's political position. I may be talking out of my ass on this one....

1:48 PM  
Blogger mark said...

Dick Pound is a person and a verb

5:18 PM  

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