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June 26, 2004

The doping scandal investigation

Sally Jenkins, fresh off of hammering Tiger Woods for his behavior during last weekend's U.S. Open, goes after the United States Anti-Doping Agency and its investigative tactics in this Washington Post column. Ms. Jenkins observes:

Let's see if we can sum up the conduct of this investigation so far:

Sprinter Marion Jones has been dragged through the accusatory mud without a formal charge. A purported, damning version of Tim Montgomery's grand jury testimony, which was by law secret, has been illegally leaked and he now faces total ruin and a lifetime ban from his sport. The twenty-some other athletes who testified before the BALCO grand jury must also worry if their testimony will be aired and used against them, too.

I'll say it straight out: I believe Marion Jones when she says she's innocent, based on what is a persuasive piece of evidence in her favor. In the last four years, Jones has not gotten faster. She's gotten slower. Whatever Jones may be taking, it isn't performance enhancing.

Here is an example of the kind of job USADA is doing in its inquiry into Jones's ties to BALCO. Several weeks ago, Jones met with a trio of USADA officials, including Madden. They presented her with a calendar that purported to be her BALCO doping schedule. It bore several notations and the initials MJ.

"That's not my calendar," she said.

"Then why does it have your sprint times on it?"

Jones replied evenly, "If those are my sprint times, then I just shattered the world record by a second."

The sprint times on the calendar could not have been those of Jones, or of any woman. They were too fast. The USADA representatives didn't even recognize the difference between the sprint times of a male and a female.

You get an uneasy feeling from watching USADA's bumbling zealots. You get the feeling they'd waive the U.S. Constitution if they could -- which is a pretty unsettling thing to feel about an organization that is funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars and a grant from the White House.

There is one good product of the USADA's bumbling investigation -- more work for defense attorneys!

Posted by Tom at June 26, 2004 10:11 AM |

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