Lance Armstrong Vs. USADA

This story is interesting.  The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is having an arbitration hearing against Lance Armstrong, claiming he took performance enhancing drugs while winning the Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong filed a lawsuit, challenging the hearing.  The judge didn’t block the hearing.  The judge said that Lance Armstrong can re-file his lawsuit after the hearing is over.

Judges are generally reluctant to challenge arbitration hearings.  They prefer to wait until the hearing is over, and then overturn the result, if necessary.  However, if Lance Armstrong loses the USADA hearing, then the burden of proof is on him, to convince a court to overturn the decision.

There was one confusing aspect.  According to those articles, the International Cycling Union is supposed to investigate doping for professional cyclists.  The USADA is only supposed to cover the Olympics?  Lance Armstrong claims that the wrong arbitrator is hearing this dispute.

There is another disturbing aspect of the hearing.  Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test.  There only is circumstantial evidence, where other athletes say they saw Lance Armstrong doping.

Some of the athletes testifying against Lance Armstrong themselves were punished for doping.  Was there an agreement where they received a reduced penalty, in exchange for testifying against Lance Armstrong?  If that is true, they shouldn’t be used as witnesses at all.  However, that is a common State tactic.  Prosecutors offer reduced sentences in exchange for testifying against others.

Also, Lance Armstrong claims there are irregularities in the procedural rules for the hearing.

If you read the fine print of your brokerage contract or many customer support agreements, you agree to a “mandatory arbitration clause”.  Those clauses are offensive.  The arbitrators are chosen by the corporations.  If an arbitrator makes the “wrong decision”, he is fired and removed from the pool of arbitrators for future cases.  There is a huge incentive for arbitrators to be biased against individuals.

For example, MLB fired arbitrator Shyam Das.  Shyam Das ruled in favor of Ryan Braun, overturning his suspension for failing a drug test.  There were irregularities in the way the urine sample was stored, causing Shyam Das to throw out the test result.

If you’re the arbitrator for a major sports league, that’s a high-paying low-effort job.  If an arbitrator makes the “wrong” decision, he gets fired.  That sets a clear precedent.  If an arbitrator rules in favor of athletes, then he loses his arbitrator job!

There are more arbitrators than there are high-paying arbitration jobs.  An arbitrator will bend over backwards to rule against athletes, lest an example be made of him like with Shyam Das.

Lance Armstrong may have a valid claim, that arbitrators are biased against athletes.  There is a clear precedent that sports leagues will fire an arbitrator who makes the “wrong” decision.

It may be a case of framing someone who’s guilty.  Maybe Lance Armstrong did use performance enhancing drugs, but there’s insufficient evidence and the USADA is having a biased hearing.

Lance Armstrong has many complaints about the USADA arbitration process.  Is the proper venue for a hearing the USADA or ICU?  Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test, and there’s only circumstantial evidence.  Some people may have received a lesser punishment, in exchange for testifying against him, which casts doubt on the validity of the evidence.  The procedural rules of the hearing are biased against Lance Armstrong.  Arbitrators are generally chosen by insiders and not workers.  An arbitrator who makes the “wrong” decision will be fired, pressuring them to rule against athletes.  Lance Armstrong may have a valid claim, but the judge won’t consider his lawsuit until the arbitration hearing is over.

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