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The Deck is Stacked

The L.A. Times has published this critique of the slanted proceedings athletes can expect in arbitration. I had formerly held high hopes that Floyd could win his case if he could demonstrate errors in the lab procedures. Now, I doubt it. Snippets:


"It's not serving the purpose it was meant to -- to give the athlete a real opportunity to be heard," says one long-term doping arbitrator who did not want to be named so as to avoid internal controversy.


The most powerful element tilting the process toward the prosecution is the presumption that the agencies' scientific tests are valid and that the work of WADA's accredited laboratories, which perform all the blood and urine tests, always meet international standards. The presumption is written into the WADA Code....The presumption shifts the burden to the athlete to prove that the lab's work fell short of scientific standards and that its failures affected the outcome.


A WADA rule prohibits members of its 34 accredited laboratories from testifying in defense of an athlete in a doping case....it reserves the expertise of most of the top doping scientists in the world for use exclusively by the prosecuting agency.


Athletes' attorneys also face obstacles obtaining technical documents from the agencies. Under USADA rules, the agency is required to produce only records concerning the specific test performed on the athlete's own sample....Not included are documents that might shed light on a WADA lab's general proficiency or its treatment of other similar cases, arguably pertinent to defense questions about lab consistency or reliability.

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