Lance-o-Rama has broken out … again. But this time, we’re getting a confession. On air. On Oprah. Tonight.
While many people speculate about this being his first step towards redemption, a comeback, a new chapter in the doping arms race, the one thing nobody seems to be discussing right now is what L’Affair de Lance means for you.
After all, if you’re like most Americans, you watched the Tour de France for about five minutes, and cheered when Armstrong won. You know a little about his cancer charity, and that he dated a pop star. And that’s about the extent of emotional energy you’ve expended. Since I’ve written a lot about doping in sports – and delved into how anti-doping agencies like the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) conduct business – I’ve expended a lot more energy on your behalf.
So here’s the thing you need to know: The USADA takedown of Armstrong matters, and it could effect everybody. Because it will enhance the power and reach of a private, non-profit business that has managed to harness the power of the federal government in what’s quickly becoming a brand new war on drugs … with all the same pitfalls brought to you by the first war on drugs.
The USADA is a private outfit. Yet it gets taxpayer money. And it has existed in this weird legal nether world since its creation in 1999 at the instigation of the International Olympic Committee, United States Olympic Committee, and President Clinton’s White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The USADA is designated by the U.S. Congress as the company that handles anti-doping for this country, because the World Anti-Doping Treaty – a UNESCO-promulgated document that the U.S. signed with almost no discussion – obligates the U.S. to do a number of things, which includes conforming our laws to the international anti-doping code.