Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lance Armstrong and the Death Penalty

A year ago, Troy Davis was executed for murders he is claimed to have committed, in Georgia. From an article in Time:

In the 48 hours leading up to Davis' execution, the nation heard that the case against Davis was built entirely on eyewitnesses who said they saw Davis gun down off-duty cop Mark McPhail. But of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis in his original trial, seven would go on to change their mind and recant.

So nine people, who didn't know him, claimed to have seen Troy commit the crime. Seven later recanted, and yet he was still killed by the state.

In contrast, there are reportedly ten independent people, each of whom knew him, including teammates, an ex-wife, and an ex-fiancee, testifying that they observed Lance Armstrong either self-administering illegal drugs, or describing his method and practice of doing so. Additionally, Lance is reported to have encouraged others to use these drugs. He left behind blood samples which have been tested by two independent agencies for illegal drugs. He has tested positive for cortisone. Activegan, an illegal doping agent which Tyler Hamilton claims they injected into their veins, was found in the team trash bins. He is reported to have tested positive for EPO for which he bribed the UCI to cover up. He is on record having made substantial money payments to the UCI as "donations". Approximately 90% of the top ten riders in each of the years he won the Tour have been involved in doping scandals or rode on teams for which systematic doping has been determined to have been practiced. The rate at which he climbed hills was unprecedented in the prior history of cycling, or in the history of cycling since. In short, the evidence against Armstrong makes the evidence against Troy Davis look flimsy.

Here's an excellent review by Laura Weislo of CyclingNews of reports on the Lance Armstrong doping scandals and on evidence which has been explained away.

Yet despite this, a group of California senators are calling for the USADA decision against Armstrong to be "reviewed". There's insufficient evidence, they claim. He "never tested positive" they say.

I think it's a sad, sad, state of affairs when our representatives in government hold apply a far higher standard of evidence to sports results than to application of the death penalty. Of course, being rich and white versus poor and black is a huge factor here. They come across as total buffoons. It's unfortunate, because among the authors of the letter is Alan Lowenthal, who championed the 3-foot passing bill which has recently passed the legislature and is awaiting Governor Brown's signature. Clearly he has time on his hands now that this important work is done.

Tyler Hamilton's book is released today. Maybe he should send a copy to each of these senators.

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