An Open Letter to The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)
Enough is enough. I am a college professor who has built my professional career on fairness and equality in education and life. In education one of the caveats for maintaining a positive learning environment is the same as in life: if a negative element is introduced in the environment, it is acted upon immediately before it becomes a problem. After that, the incident is not dredged up because such behavior on the part of the person in control is noxious to the situation. To put it in cliched terms "Nip it in the bud" and "Stop beating a dead horse". If your body was privy to information that was germane to the United States Justice Department's inquiry of Armstrong, then your organization was compelled by law to turn over whatever information or tangible proof to that government agency for its inquiry. When the inquiry was dropped, then the question of egregious behavior in Armstrong's past should have put the matter to rest forever. After all, the Justice Department acts under the auspices of the nation's highest legal prosecutor, the Attorney General. If there has been a recent case or cases of doping, then that evidence needs to be addressed, but the salient point here is "recent".
I cannot speak for the general public, of course, but I can speak for myself and those I have talked to about this action. It comes across as demonizing a figure and creating a witch hunt. This certainly puts your organization in a, at best, questionable light. With as much current doping in athletics, stay focused: go after those numbers who are currently abusing themselves and make full disclosure to the public of what evidence/information that you possess before applying draconian measures. Presently, it appears that you have lost the confidence in the public arena. For me, I think of the Inquisition or Joe McCarthy's shameful railing's of the 50's. Remember that each piece of populace feedback represents the views of at least 3,500 others who don't communicate directly, but who do network with others who also network with their cohorts, ad infinitum, who ultimately shape public opinion and who exert power as to what agencies are necessary in our society and what agencies are irrelevant, redundant and need to be abolished.
This open letter was written by my wife. We share the exact same sentiments on this subject. We have followed Lance Armstrong since his early days in racing, through his fight with cancer, and on through his competitions in the Tour de France. In all that time all we've ever seen is a truly courageous champion overcome all the odds to win a personal fight with a deadly form of cancer and then seven tours, more than any other athlete. Through all that time we've heard the steady drumbeat of accusations about his so-called doping, only to have the evidence come up inconclusive at best, manufactured at worst. Armstrong is absolutely right to call out USADA for "its malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later." It has testimony from "ten cyclists" that will never be cross-examined, who's word will be taken without proper challenge in any kind of court, let alone a court of law unless Armstrong chooses to pursue the ten cyclists along with the USADA.
If Armstrong has truly "had enough," if as he says he's now past all of this, if he simply gives up and lets the USADA strip him of his seven titles, then the USADA will be guilty of giving in to jealous gossips and wrongfully taking from a champion what all others could not take in honest competition. For the USADA to literally wait until the last minute to file these charges shows just how shaky their evidence truly is. For if the USADA had real evidence of Armstrong's so-called guilt then they would have certainly delivered it before now, and more significantly, it would have factored into the Justice Department's two year investigation of Lance Armstrong, which Justice chose not to pursue because in the end there was nothing worth pursuing.
I truly hope and pray Lance Armstrong perseveres with this latest smear against his reputation. He deserves to keep his seven titles. As for the USADA, they no longer have any reputation to smear. By their current actions they have managed to totally destroy their own reputation.