It really doesn’t matter who you believe – Floyd Landis or Lance Armstrong – one thing is certain - that is somebody is lying. Maybe many people are lying.
Up until now, this case has been restricted to the court of sport. As with the court of law, someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Athletes that are found guilty of lying in the court of sport can face suspensions, fines and perhaps lost sponsors. In the worst case, they lose a career.
Though the court of sport may take information and testimony from support people (coaches, mechanics, massage therapists, fellow athletes, miscellaneous staff, etc.) seldom do the support people suffer any consequences for lying.
Last weekend, I read a column written by David Walsh that revealed the Landis vs. Armstrong war of words was being moved from the court of sport to a Federal investigation, or the court of law. I’ve read several columns on the issue and boiled the list down for you. Each column has a bit of something the others do not:
From this point forward, media mud-slinging or hearsay by anyone doesn’t matter much. What will matter is testimony under oath, within the Federal system. Lying to the Feds, no matter who you are (staff, athlete, support personnel), can result in perjury charges and jail time.
Though potential perjury charges have not deterred all people from lying, certainly a threat of jail time is a bigger deterrent than the court of sport can hand out.
In a previous blog, I wrote about the felony charges filed against a couple of women involved in cheating scheme for the 2009 Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race.
Wendy Lydall (the woman that actually rode the event) has pleaded guilty to third degree criminal trespass, a misdemeaner charge. She has a one-year deferred sentence as long as she takes a bicycle safety education course, writes a letter of applogy to the race organizers and to the community. Not fulfilling those arrangements could land her in jail for up to 6 months.The race director is also looking for a complete explanation as to how the two pulled off the switch, getting through the pre-race check-in process that requires a photo ID.
The second woman, Katie Brazelton, has yet to face the judge.