But it’s not the what of this case that bothers me, it’s the how. Ends do not always justify means, and sometimes, in order to preserve higher values, you have to let guilty parties walk. In this instance, I’m less concerned about proving that Lance’s yellow jerseys are smudged than with the fact that USADA keeps mutating into what looks like a law-enforcement body, which it isn’t.
USADA, which participated in the federal investigation, isn’t part of the U.S. government and isn’t a judicial body. Newspaper stories tend to shorthand it as a “quasi-governmental” entity, but that’s not accurate. USADA is a private non-profit corporation hired to manage the anti-doping program for American athletes who hope to participate in the Olympics as well as various local, regional, national, and international competitions. And it’s gotten out of control.
[Worse yet, there’s nothing in this for anyone (outside the folks with the vendetta). It’s all ancient history from a sporting sense, and if you care about who winds up being listed as the winner of the races, there probably isn’t anyone in the top ten that I think was clean in those days. This simply seems predatory. Just when they thought Lance was gonna have to deal with the same sort of stuff Barry Bonds etc. did, there was no case. Now this smack of anger and retribution. Stop wasting everyone’s time and money. It’s over.]
Think about that for a moment. The current anti-doping superstructure started out as an effort to prevent cheating in privately run games. Now we’re talking about Interpol and international treaties and fudging American legal principles.
That’s why, if experts are correct—and Armstrong’s lawyers are setting up an attack on USADA’s methods and authority—we could be in for a big and very important battle. Even if you are a Lance hater, and it pains you to think that he doped and might get away with it, you might want to pull for him this time.