Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones: Vol. 13

Story by Eric.

This is the 13th part of a long series titled, "Why You Shouldn't Believe Marion Jones". This series depicts the life and times of a (former) woman sprinter whose lies and cover-ups about doping in sport continue even through this day.

Covering up one truth doesn’t exclude someone from telling another – though knowing which to believe between the two can become tricky.

An objection to this claim could be sustained in a court of law, and my claim could be considered conjecture by her counsel.

Conversely, insofar as we are discussing probable cause and reasonable doubt, the legal problems which Marion Jones faced during the same time frame which she offered as evidence of distraction falls into the same time period and is relevant for this discussion. In the absence of statements made under oath in the Pfaff lawsuit, there would be no basis upon which to draw these inferences. However, having been armed with such information, one is able to logically deduce that there is probable cause to believe that Marion Jones was as likely to have been discussing her personal issues outside of the sport of athletics as the reporters state she was discussing issues surrounding doping and performance-enhancing drugs.

With due respect to the information we have been provided in the form of financial matters concerning Marion Jones, it is completely within the realm of rational deduction to reasonably conclude that Marion Jones’s positive test had already been announced to her in July 2006, and, as the protocol which it follows with its initial positives, USATF did not provide a release of that information instead observed its own due process agreements before it was revealed to IAAF or anyone else for that matter; USATF would have had no recourse to have banned Marion Jones until the “B”-sample was complete – an investigation which I believe was already underway and ready to be tested at a given, later September date when all parties were “available” to meet to partake in the second-sample processing. Upon notifying IAAF, Marion Jones would then have been unable to participate in further competitions until the “B”-test result was completed and results provided to IAAF.

USATF had requested of Justin Gatlin not to compete at the national championships, but they could not ban him until his back-up sample had confirmed his “A”-sample. Gatlin chose to make his positive drug test known following the national championships. Attempts made by reporters to gain information following the leak were deflected by USATF and sent to USADA – which, as a matter of policy, was unable to comment on matters without an athlete’s consent.

Zürich’s smoke-screen was a covert explanation for the real reason Marion Jones immediately withdrew from the meet, namely that she needed to play victim to the cover story of losing out on life, liberty and the pursuit of a career whilst, in the very real background, she had already lost out on everything she put her money, namely her estate on Pin Oak Court in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Riddick, her coach, stated that he was positive that she would clear her “B”-sample analysis – despite the fact that he also mentioned that there could have been a mix-up in the tests collected which contained Marion Jones’s urine sample. How could he have been assured of the end-result despite his reservation that the collected sample – which, according to an apparent Marion Jones text message to Riddick, did contain traces of EPO as she stated she was told – may not have been hers?

I would stake my life on it she did not take EPO,” he said.[1]

When news rung around the world of this “A”-sample positive test leaked through the media, Victor Conte stood behind his word despite whatever ramifications – if any – there were in Marion Jones’s lawsuit against him when he stated in the same article that he stood behind what he has always maintained regarding Marion Jones, namely that he had watched and observed as she used performance-enhancing drugs. He did the same following her own admission of guilt in the matter of having taken drugs at some point in her career.

Now of the smoke screen of which I have alluded:

Marion Jones claims that, having had her “A”-sample show positive traces of EPO, she lost earning potential in the neighbourhood of $300.000 when she was immediately forced out of competition in order to wait on the testing of her “B”-sample taken in June 2006 from the same specimen collection as the “A”-sample. She then discontinued any and all competitions lined up for the remainder of the season citing loss of form she suffered whilst missing the meat of the European competition season – despite being invited to the season finale, the World Cup, a meeting which had a significant pay-out potential.

As you have enquiring minds, solicit then, therefore, answers from the realms of plausibility seeking to know if, indeed, it were at all possible that Marion Jones was, in truth, told within the four weeks following the USATF Championships (which took her to London, her final race of her shortened season) about her drugs result, but concocted the alternate drugs story to construct an appearance of having the actual leaking of that information ruin her financially.

Media reports stated the test took two months to be completed, but USADA has never denied nor confirmed this fact in my follow-up calls to them – they being unable to discuss the Marion Jones case with the public without her explicit waiver. I was told to ask Marion Jones, herself.

I’d rather have gone to the dentist for a new filling.

Consider this, if you will: Marion Jones has had every means and opportunity to have had a hand in permitting the information on her “A”-sample test leak in the manner and fashion it did so as to appear victimised in this. It was Marion Jones who, in October 2007, leaked the information to the public about her drugs-taking – information upon which authorities acted to convict her in a court of law.

Means and opportunity would not in-and-of-themselves have convicted Marion Jones in this case, as there would still be doubt about a third aspect of guilt. Therefore, I’d like to raise two more questions to your critical reasoning capabilities: Was there a motive for Marion Jones to have leaked the EPO information, and did she take the occasion afforded her to do so if there was one?

The answer to both is a resounding and unequivocal “yes”.

Her legal counsel, Rich Nichols, following the leak, stated that it was troubling that certain athletes were not provided the benefits afforded others in the form of due process of the confidentiality provisions of the testing protocol. The idea behind a performance with regard to this matter by Marion Jones is neither preposterous nor outlandish, however, due to reasons which are purely financial and more public relations to contribute to a cover-up, hence motive.

There are three main suspects who had the direct capacity and opportunity to take a sample number in a chain of custody, and to connect it to Marion Jones’s drug sample. Those are: USADA, USATF and Marion Jones in that order.

Among those thee, which of them – insofar as having possessed means and opportunity – would also have been the biggest beneficiary of Marion Jones’s positive leak, hence motive?

An obvious answer to some in the jury here would have been USADA, the American anti-doping agency which had been in a chase for evidence against Marion Jones following the crack open in the BALCO case. What would it have profited USADA in terms of hard work and effort to pursue this case legally to have leaked the information? What would the precise targeting and timing of the Marion Jones leak accomplish for USADA’s anti-doping programme – one which has gone to extreme measures to remain neutral in discussing information about on-going cases?

The world would never have known about Marion Jones’s sample whatsoever had there not been a legal, deliberate attempt at paring the collection sample containing a numeric identification with the cross-referenced donor, Marion Jones.

One ponders what justification an unknown person would have to leak such information, and can simply and precisely conclude without straining in deliberation that financial incentive would have been the prime motivation by anyone so inclined to do so.

A greedy, underpaid person seeking an immediate and very lucrative sum of money might, for example, have had the desire to leak the information to a news source and go quietly away to spend his money as he pleased on an island far from the commotion of it all. USADA could have been thought to have been one of the possible sources of the leaks, as following protocol for the sample analysis taken at the UCLA anti-doping laboratory, Marion Jones’s test results were sent to USADA where the chain of command number was verified and matched with the documentation from the doping control process.

This would have gone against the principle confidentiality rule to which USADA is obligated to adhere, namely:

USADA shall not publicly disclose or comment on any athlete's positive test result or any information related to any alleged doping violation (including violations not involving adverse analytical finding) until after the athlete or other person 1) has been found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation in a hearing conducted under either article 10(b) above, or 2) has failed to request a hearing within the time set forth in 10(a), or 3) has agreed in writing to the sanction sought by USADA.

However, USADA may provide notification to the USOC, NGB, IF and WADA (or other sporting body ordering the test) as provided for in this Protocol. USADA does not control how information provided by USADA to the USOC, NGBs, IFs and WADA is disseminated but will include statements to each organization requesting that any organization receiving such information keep it confidential until disclosed by USADA. USADA may comment publicly on any aspect of the results management/adjudication process or the applicable rules without making specific reference to any athlete or other person alleged to have committed an anti-doping rule violation. USADA may also release aggregate statistics of testing and adjudication results.[2]

This is a case about cheating, so USADA, despite its best intentions, would not have been immune to the opportunity taken by someone within its organisation to have cheated – though this is not known to have occurred in this case. Moreover, Marion Jones’s counsel stated it could well have been the sports federation, not USADA, which leaked the results.

So, next up on the list of suspects is USATF – the governing body of athletics in the United States which Jacobs did not subtly state as having possibly played a dubious role in this case.

USATF has had substantial claims made against it by its international governing body as well as international coaches in the sport who have stated that USATF has on previous occasion held back information on positive drugs cases and allowed its athletes to compete whilst their national appeals were being heard. USATF has on those occasions used the American national governing laws of “due process” to define and defend its having deliberately waited to inform the IAAF of certain drugs offences committed by athletes under USATF jurisdiction.

Due process means not jumping ship and counting someone as a drug cheater before they have had all possible tests registered and analysed, suspensions appealed and a high court placing a verdict on the merits of the suspension versus the evidence presented during the appeal process.

USATF had been named as an entity which could have leaked the information according to Marion Jones’s counsel. However, matching their actions against those discovered weeks before with Justin Gatlin’s drugs positive test, USATF had more to win by leaking Gatlin’s test than it did by divulging Marion Jones’s results to a world which had begun looking the other direction – and continued doing so until she turned over a new leaf in October 2007.

Leaking information about Marion Jones’s positive “A”-sample test would have netted them an extreme swing upward in the international perspective concerning their fight against drugs and their attempt to root out persons taking drugs, despite their perceived importance to the sport. One need not go further back than their statement made earlier in chapter three to gain a perspective and understanding of just how hard they want to appear to be on drugs-taking under their jurisdiction.

Leaking information about Gatlin the former co-100m world record-holder, who tested positive for testosterone or a pre-cursor to it in Kansas two months before Marion Jones’s “A”-sample test was taken in Indianapolis, would have been as large a bust – if not more so. The Marion Jones story was an old BALCO link which hadn’t as yet yielded the result some in the public had sought, whereas Gatlin was the latest of Olympic champions produced by the United States, and a fresher, more interesting character who openly took a stand against drug usage.

Gatlin snitched on himself, however, stating to the world that he had tested positive. Had the USATF sought a scapegoat, it could have been Gatlin, a man who could run 100m in 9,77 seconds.

They didn’t, and thereby that lack of action moves us on to suspect number three.

[1] ESPN.com, “Jones’ coach confirms EPO finding, questions validity,” 2006-08-21

[2] USADA Protocol, Page 12 Anti-doping

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