Thursday, August 19, 2010

What Indictment of Clemens Means for Cycling

The New York Times is reporting that Roger Clemens was indicted for perjury in the case of his doping testimony. They explain, "Federal authorities have indicted Roger Clemens on charges of making false statements to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, according to two people briefed on the matter."

Many of you have asked me what I thought an indictment of Clemens would mean for cycling in general, and people like Lance Armstrong, Pat McQuaid, Levi Leipheimer and George Hincapie in particular. Not to mention Zabriske, Barry, White, Lim, Vandevelde, Hamilton and a host of others. My response: absolutely nothing. Just kidding.

What it means for cycling can be understood by what it symbolizes for those currently under investigation or considered persons of interest in the FDA-led investigations into Lance Armstrong and Rock Racing: almost no one is untouchable should they fail to be truthful when testifying before Congress or while being interrogated by federal agents. Unless leaked by someone who could be held criminally-liable for doing so, Grand Jury testimony is not open for public review, and while it is perhaps embarrassing to do so, anyone connected to cycling being called before the GJ or questioned by the Feds should be absolutely truthful. If you doped, admit it. If you saw others doping, admit it. If you facilitated doping, admit it. Because that way you yourself won't be indicted like Clemens, when you eventually slip-up or are otherwise caught out.

Of course, if you're innocent, keep protesting your innocence - you should be vindicated in the end, right? That might apply to Armstrong, McQuaid, Bottle, and scores of others. Who knows? What's clear, though, is that our Government does not like being lied-to by athletes, and for all its other failings and inadequacies, it probably can match their craftiness and will trip you up if you're guilty.

You don't have to fall on your sword for anyone. But if you've done something that was against the rules, and are given a chance to admit to it - just get it over with and wipe the slate clean. The Country will forgive you if you man-up, but the People will crucify you if you're exposed as a lying hypocrite.

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