I commend listening to the following while reading this, because one is happy and the other is just really stupid.
This is not about me taking time off due to the sick. That would be titled, necessary, but smart?
By now, most people have seen that Lance Armstrong is being investigated by the US Anti-Doping Authority (PDF). Barbs have been exchanged between the camps. People have written idiotic apologist screeds1 against the investigation. To be fair, at this point I don’t really care one way or the other whether Lance doped; I have a feeling the truth here is something we’ll never get to. Call it fatigue, call it ennui, whatever. That said, I think it’s important that these things are investigated.
The investigation is not a zero sum game. Nobody wins.
It’s not as though the investigators get anything out of the investigation (other than perhaps some justice, but that justice isn’t for them). It certainly doesn’t help Lance Armstrong or Livestrong or cycling2. It gets everybody’s panties in a twist. So why investigate at all? After all, there’s the claim that Lance has never failed a drug test in over 500 tests. Well, there’s the testimony of at least 10 individuals with knowledge (not sure if they all have first hand knowledge) of the doping (Lance is pissed that these individuals are currently anonymous, though my guess is that they won’t stay that way for long). It will be interesting to see whether these are new individuals testifying or if they are the same ones who testified during the federal investigation. I think there’s a lower bar to be met for arbitration than for a federal investigation. So while the federal investigation may not have advanced past the investigatory stage, the USADA (who were there for at least some, if not all, of the conversations with former cyclists, etc) may feel that there’s enough there to continue investigating. And there’s the rub: if there’s compelling enough evidence that, despite the fact that he’s never failed a drug test, it’s possible he was doping (drug testing, especially in cycling, is a cat and mouse game). Cheating is cheating, and if he did cheat, he should not be revered as a cyclist. Is it necessary to investigate? No, but looking the other way in the face of evidence (compelling evidence? I don’t know) seems a bit morally backward. The truth (whatever it is) is important. We shouldn’t stop pursuing the truth just because it might lead to an ugly outcome. Innocent until found guilty by arbitration and all.
1This isn’t the only thing I’ve seen, and I’m not singling this guy out for being more or less idiotic than anyone else. I just saw it on twitter this morning and… well, yeah.
2I don’t think it impacts triathlon at all, yet. I think the sport is relatively clean. But Lance can’t race World Triathlon Corp (think Ironman, Ironman 70.3, and the 5150 series) races. WTC has ban hammered him from entering their races pending the investigation.