Interesting day in the Rant household. When I got home from work today, there was a big box waiting for me. Kind of heavy, too. Inside: Ten copies of Dope: A History of Performance Enhancement in Sports from the Nineteenth Century to Today. About 20 months from the time I first talked with Debby, my editor, about the possibility of doing the project, there’s a real product sitting in front of me. Before today, it’s been stacks of printouts — whether they were drafts of chapters or galleys from the publisher, the stacks were just pieces of paper with words on them. Seeing the actual bound book and being able to leaf through it makes the whole thing real.
I’m not exactly sure when the books will be arriving at various places (like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com). It looks like the printer is down near my native St. Louis in a town called Troy, judging by the return address on the box’s label. I’ve been told that the books should arrive at the publisher’s warehouse by the 26th (which is tomorrow as I write this). I’d imagine that the online stores will be getting them shortly thereafter. So now, the fun begins. For those who’ve already ordered copies, they’ll be coming soon. To everyone who buys or reads the book, I hope you’ll find it easy to get through and informative. And now, on to other topics.
Update: While Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com don’t seem to have the book available just yet (I’m guessing they will in a few days), if you want to be the first kid on your block to have a copy, Greenwood Press (my publisher) is already listing the book as “In Stock.”
Bruyneel in Milwaukee
Last Thursday, I heard Johan Bruyneel speak at a booksigning not far from where I live. Interesting man with a number of interesting stories. I’ve been busy transcribing the tape, and eventually I’m going to make the full transcript available for those who want to read it. If I can find a way of digitizing the tape, I’ll make that available, too. There’s two glitches in the tape. Once, where the recorder slid into something else and accidentally stopped for a moment, and the other time when I accidentally performed a Rose Mary Woods on about 3 seconds of tape that I’d already transcribed. (Me and my fat fingers.) The next post (really) will have my write-up. I’ll start writing that as soon as a I finish this one. Don’t expect it for a day or two, however.
Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch…
The Justin Gatlin case keeps taking twists and turns, eh? First he gets a restraining order allowing him to compete in the US Olympic Trials, and then the judge reverses himself and says, “Scratch that. I don’t really have the authority to make them do anything. Gatlin’s being wronged, but I just can’t do anything about it.”
And, of course, the IOC has said quite clearly that if Gatlin is on the team, he won’t be allowed to run. Which means any ruling here by any court isn’t going to really matter. What’s the likelihood that a US Court can make an agency based in Lausanne, Switzerland bend to their wishes? A snowball’s chance in hell, as the old saying goes.
Judge Collier’s ruling is interesting, for a number of reasons. Why on earth would he reverse his previous ruling? In looking at the law (the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, to be precise) , he found that the USOC has the sole right to determine who will or won’t be on the Olympic team, and that under IOC/USOC/USATF/WADA/CAS rules, Gatlin is not entitled to challenge the CAS’ rulings, except in Swiss Federal Court. Judge Collier finds that Gatlin’s original positive test was a “paperwork” violation, and he notes:
Mr. Gatlin was and is still being sanctioned because of this “paperwork” violation which, as stipulated [Rant’s Note: by USADA, no less], did not enhance his performance. Nonetheless, the USOC argued before this Court that the Committee stands apart from the actions of USADA, and neither can it or will it take action even in the face of this injustice. The basic argument from these Defendants is that they are not interested in fairness for Mr. Gatlin; they are interested only in their rules.
As stated by Mr. Christopher L. Campbell dissenting from the opinion of the 2006 AAA Panel:
By imposing sanctions on athletes like Mr. Gatlin who take medication for their legitimate disability, the Anti-Doping Organizations are willfully violating the law–behaving as if they are above the law. In these circumstances, they are nothing more than bullies preying on the vulnerable. The federal government should take a serious look at this practice.
Interestingly, Judge Collier makes note of the threats to challenge his ruling in the 11th Circuit Court.
The defendants have threatened to appeal the orders of this Court. To assist any review under the time constraints this case presents, the following is offered. Should the appellate panel find that this Court does have jurisdiction, this Court would grant a preliminary injunction lifting the suspension of Mr. Gatlin based upon a continuing violation of The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The Court would find:
1. Mr. Gatlin suffers from a mental impairment that substantially limits one of the major life activities, learning;
2. The USOC, USATF and the IAAF operate a place of public accommodations;
3. These defendants took adverse action against Mr. Gatlin in 2001 based on his disability and continue to do so; and
4. Reasonable accommodations have not been made.
As a result, Mr. Gatlin’s positive test in 2006 would be considered his first offense resulting in a maximum two year suspension from competition.
He then discusses the history of Gatlin’s two-year ban, and what the start dates have been. He concludes by saying:
Although the start date was later changed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) without explanation, this Court would find the start of a two year suspension to be on May 25, 2006, as did the 2006 AAA Panel, and that it would end on May 24, 2008.
This Court would then find: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) that irreparable injury will be suffered by Mr. Gatlin if relief is not granted: (3) that the threatened injury dramatically outweighs any harm relief would inflict on the defendants; and (4) that entry of relief would serve the public interest.
The judge uses some pretty strong language in what he has to say about this case. Given the way the law has been constructed to insulate the USOC and their associated agencies from oversight by the courts, he’s left having to lift the temporary restraining order. But, at the same time, it’s clear he doesn’t like the result, and he doesn’t like how the USADA/USATF/USOC and company have treated Gatlin. To repeat his observation from above: