Saturday, June 10, 2017

Calling Out Nike’s BS Lack of Response to Oregon Project Doping Allegations

It’s been more than two years since the BBC came out with a report accusing Alberto Salazar of systematically abusing prescription medications and supplements to enhance performance. The report featured detailed stories of former athletes and coaches, including Steve Magness and Kara Goucher, who claimed that Salazar was constantly seeking an edge with supplements, pushing the boundaries of what clean sport allows. They claimed that Salazar used medical doctors for performance enhancement, not to address health issues. Since that time, the allegations just keep getting worse and more detailed

How has Nike responded to all this?


As an attorney, I strongly believe in the due process of law. No athlete or coach should be publicly accused without an appropriate process to respond.

But at this stage the weight of allegations is just too much for Nike to keep ignoring this or pretending it’s not happening. We’re past the point where Nike and Salazar can keep sending out milquetoast press releases and maintain their credibility. Salazar’s manipulation of medications is the biggest open joke in the running community, but Nike keeps pretending it's a non-issue.

This isn’t a Duke Lacrosse situation, where three athletes were publicly defamed because of the false accusations of one deeply troubled and unreliable witness.

Right now, there have been allegedly 17 former Oregon project athletes and staff who have accused Salazar of inappropriate behavior. Last week, Propublica published a report alleging that Oregon Project medical records may have been altered. Two days ago, the New York Times reported that the main Oregon Project doctor has received formal notice of allegations of anti-doping violations.

And still from Nike we hear nothing.

The longer this goes on, the worse this will be for Nike. If the allegations against Doctor Brown and Salazar are true, then Nike’s highest profile running program may have engaged in a conspiracy to commit and hide doping violations. But even if that isn’t true, at best, it would appear that the Oregon Project systematically engaged in borderline unethical behavior with respect to medications and supplements.

The one real allegation that Rupp and others violated anti-doping rules is telling in this regard. According to the leaked USADA report:
Galen Rupp’s lawyer handed over a worksheet from the pharmacy that prepared Rupp’s IV that the lawyer may have not understood. USADA thinks he thought it vindicated Rupp as he thought it referred to a “45 ml injectable” when in reality it referred to “four (4) 100ml IV infusion bags” each “containg a concentration of 9.67 grams of L-carnitine per 45 milliliters.” They also have evidence that Dr. Brown altered medical records or intentionally withheld information unlawfully to cover his ground and make it seem as if the amount of the infusion was legal. Rupp’s lawyer handed over a worksheet from the pharmacy that prepared Rupp’s IV that the lawyer may have not understood. USADA thinks he thought it vindicated Rupp as he thought it referred to a “45 ml injectable” when in reality it referred to “four (4) 100ml IV infusion bags” each “containg a concentration of 9.67 grams of L-carnitine per 45 milliliters.” They also have evidence that Dr. Brown altered medical records or intentionally withheld information unlawfully to cover his ground and make it seem as if the amount of the infusion was legal.
When you consistently push the absolute limits of what is legally allowed, even if you do not intentionally violate the rules, you make it much more likely that you will unintentionally violate the rules. Perhaps that's what happened here. And if so, it has the potential to cast a shadow over the entire extraordinary career of perhaps the greatest American distance runner of all time.

This is not just about whether Salazar technically violated WADA rules—even as evidence is mounting that he may have done so. Nike needs to address the way the program dealt with supplements generally, even if it is true, as they claim, that no rules were ever violated.

Here’s what Nike needs to do:
  • It needs to suspend Alberto Salazar and Dr. Jeffrey Brown, effective immediately, pending the results of the USADA investigation.
  • It needs to hire an independent, third-party law firm to systematically review the way the company’s athletic programs handled supplements and prescriptions, to determine who knew what when, whether any abuses took place, and who is responsible. If they find fault, the company needs to create a series of recommendations to improve processes so this does not happen again.
Until Nike addresses this issue head on, all Oregon Project running performances will be under suspicion. Right now, the Oregon Project is synonymous with bending the rules and doping abuse. To the extent that there might be clean athletes in the program, this is not fair to them. To the extent that they aren’t clean, it isn’t fair to rest of the world.  


Either way, it’s past the point where Nike can pretend it’s not an issue. The longer Nike plays pretend, the more it starts to make sense to point fingers at not just Salazar or Brown, but at Nike on the whole, CEO Mark Parker, and the Company’s Board of Directors.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Weird fruitarian ultrarunner guy in the news


Well, I think he's in the news again. But not for his diet or ultrarunning.

I was reading a legal blog called the Volokh Conspiracy, and there was a story about a New York businessman being prosecuted for allegedly falsifying judicial orders. The businessman's name was Michael Arnstein. I went to the website for the business in question, and yeah, I'm pretty sure it's him.

According to Volokh Conspiracy:
Michael Arnstein runs the Natural Sapphire Company. Upset at some allegedly libelous criticisms of his company, he filed a lawsuit and got a court order requiring a defendant to take down those criticisms. He then sent the order to Google, asking Google to deindex those URLs — to hide them from Google search results (as Google often does when it sees such a court order).
And then Arnstein submitted 11 other orders to Google, each mentioning a new allegedly libelous URL (or list of URLs), each in the same case, and each with a different order date. Unfortunately, they weren’t really orders — they were apparently forgeries, copying the caption to the case and the judge’s signature. (1234567891011.) Google did indeed apparently deindex some material, relying on some of these orders.
Not good.

I don't practice criminal law. But I've actually stumbled upon this phenomenon before. Forging a judicial order is a great way to get someone to do what you want. But when you get caught, well, let's just say that judges don't tend to be too lenient with people who fake legal orders for profit.

If true, this dude's in a lot of trouble.

Might be a challenge to keep up that whole fruitarian diet in prison.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Salida

Two weeks ago my wife and I moved to Salida.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to live in the mountains. Now we do. It’s totally surreal.

I know that I’m biased, but I think this is about the coolest little town on earth. The vibe is great. Tons of culture for a town this small – plenty of places to eat and socialize. Still in the baby stages of developing a social circle, but everyone we’ve met has been warm and welcoming. It’s exceeded all expectations.

Salida’s a crazy fun place to be a trail runner. There’s a link to BLM land that connects from my house to the Little Rainbow trail, which connects to a bunch of other trails, which then connects to both the Arkansas Hill Trails across Highway 50, or, if you want to get really ambitious, to the Rainbow Trail, which can take you all the way to Westcliffe to the East or to the Monarch Crest Trail to the West, the Colorado Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail, which can take you to either Mexico or Canada. Plus all 14 Sawatch 14er trailheads and 4 Sangre de Cristo 14er trailheads within an hour of my front door. 

After ten years or running circles around Wash Park, it feels like running heaven.

I like it so much I feel guilty -- just super lucky and trying to appreciate that fact. Still, there's no guarantee that my business will do well here, so I'm just trying to enjoy each day and not think too far ahead. 

This morning we joined the Chaffee County Running Club for a jog. Impressive at it sounds, it was only six of us, and that includes me and my wife. I got to run with snowshoe and burro-running legend Tom Sobol for most of it, which woke up the fanboy in me. Man, that guy has some stories to tell. Like the time when he debated signing up for Hardrock the night before the race ($70 entry fee at the time). Super humble and friendly guy. And he can definitely still run.

The move even inspired me to sign up for a couple of races -- first time I've signed up for anything longer than a 5k since 2012. I’m doing the local trail marathon in March and then I put my name into the SJS 50 lottery for June. Figure I’ll be spending plenty of time at elevation, so not a bad time to get back into it. I won’t be setting any competitive goals for either. Just looking to get back to spending a lot of time outside and up high.

With all that said, if you read this blog and you know me, shoot me a message the next time you’re down our way. One of the only downsides of being here is that we’re so far from most of the people we know. So we'd the love the company if you're ever in the area.