USADA Sells Landis' "Yellow Gold" on EBAY
April 19, 2007
Today USADA announced that to defray the enormous legal costs of prosecuting Floyd Landis it will soon be selling the beleaguered billionaire's urine samples on EBay.
"We hope to raise between 4 and 5 million dollars," burbled USADA's chief Drug Buster Jack Hoffer. "And we'll need every penny to put this guy away once and for all."
Mr. Landis has been accused of testing positive for epitestosterone after the fabled stage 17 of the 2006 Tour De France, which he went on to win. Mr. Landis has mounted a vigorous defense, which appears to have caught USADA off guard.
"We had no idea it would be so difficult, or expensive, to prosecute Mr. Landis, " said Mr. Hoffer. "Most 12k dreamers would simply roll over. It's awfully hard to beat us. After all, we made the rules, we pick the judges and we control the evidence."
"And if we don't like the way we drafted a rule, we can always make up a new one to help us out in a pinch, " he laughed. "Same goes for the evidence."
Recently USADA had come under fire for convincing it's panel of judges to allow it to test more of Mr. Landis' urine, despite explicit rules to the contrary. It's standard procedure for an athlete to micturate into a cup, which is then divided into two specimens: A and B. If the A sample is found positive, then, and only then, may the drug busters test the B sample.
"We saw no reason to follow that rule," explained Mr. Hoffer. "Our judges really bailed us out on this one. If the new tests prove positive, well it just confirms our case. If they're negative, it just shows the French lab rats weren't drunk the entire time. You know the old saying about a broken clock being right twice a day."
"And the good news is our Frog Allies have assured us they can do the deal with only 2 or 3 of the 8 specimens now available, " continued Mr. Hoffer. "What they don't test, we'll sell on E-Bay. We've already received bids from National Enquirer, Star, and a group calling itself Le Tour Pour Le Francaise."
"Man, I'm telling you, there's gold in them there pee cups!" Mr. Hoffer yukked.
Asked whether selling an athlete's urine on EBay might violate the athlete's right of privacy, or perhaps amount to a theft of private property, or infringe on civil liberties, Mr. Hoffer bristled. "Are you kidding me? Right of privacy? When a dreamer signs up for a UCI license, he gives up all of that nonsense. Besides which, it's our cup, and we have the goods tucked away in our vaults. You know the old saying, ownership is 99% possession."
Critics have questioned USADA's new "prosecution for profit" policy. They argue that the authorities now have an incentive to both collect massive quantities of urine and fudge results to increase the number of frivolous but potentially lucrative drug busts.
"Hell, they might as well steer the top ten finishers directly into a paddock and hook them up to a suction activated catheter and milk 'em for all they got," warned cycling rights advocate Billy "the Reverend" Stone, a former drug prosecutor and self-admitted sufferer of benign prostatic hypertrophy.
"We're talking about a classic fetch and fence grift here. First you store up an enormous urine bank, then you send the specimens to the sweetheart wink-wink French for testing. You gin up a bunch of positives, lower the boom on the marquis deep pocket players, generate a bunch of media attention, and then sell the surplus specimens to the highest bidder. It's brilliant."
Rev. Stone pointed out that since the Landis star-chamber prosecution charitable donations to USA Cycling and other bodies have dwindled. "What they've lost in corporate sponsorships and private donations, they need to make up by hawking celebrity kidney secretions, " said Rev. Stone. "And urine is not exactly difficult to produce. Anyone with a bladder, a Sharpie and a willingness to compromise the truth can do it."
"I won't be surprised if we start seeing buckets of urine purportedly from luminaries like Lance Armstrong for sale, which could seriously cut into USADA's monopoly," predicted The Reverend. "In fact, I can forsee a black market of rogue private grifters bent on grifting the official grifters."
Mr. Hoffer rejected Rev. Stone's concerns. "We own the market. With each specimen purchased, we will provide a certificate of authentication, with an official embossed stamp and everything. And if you call our toll free number in the next 24 hours, and mention this article, we'll throw in a stray pubic hair and maybe even a Dixie cup."
Mr. Hoffer was optimistic about USADA's case, after a rough start. "We got a little cocky there at first, thinking we had Floyd by the balls, so to speak. We trotted Dick Pound out to call Floyd all sorts of names, but that sort of backfired, because it turns out nobody likes a dick."
"Granted, Floyd gained some points with the sloppy lab work, " Mr. Hoffer conceded. "And I got to give him his props for alerting the U.S. Senate that millions of taxpayer dollars are being used to finance a soviet-style show trial system to string up America's top athletes. But if this EBay thing works out like our MBAs tell us it will, we should be flush. We could certainly prosecute more cases and bring in more cash if we didn't have to deal with pesky obstacles like due process."
Asked if a policy that results in a raft of frivolous drug busts is good for the sport, Mr. Hoffer chuckled. "Why should the best riders get all the glory? Why not let the 12k dreamers get their fix on the podium, too?"
"Besides which," Mr. Hoffer continued, "if we execute our plan successfully, there won't be any more elite racers left who actually puncture the $12k ceiling. Only the average, down on their luck racers will be allowed to compete, and it's doubtful they'll attract any serious sponsorship cash. Sure, right now you got a few billionaire bikie gods to deal with, but they'll soon either go into 12k Detox or bankruptcy court. You get rid of the mega-stars like Floyd, pretty soon all that's left are sleep-on-the-floorpack filler, who are easily controlled. Heck every town has a Cleveland who would gladly plead guilty to trumped up charges just to read his name in Velo News."
Asked if a policy that reduced the number of cycling superstars, and thus the price of fresh urine samples from new studs, would hurt USADA's bottom line, Mr. Hoffer again twittered. "Our bean counters tell us we can manufacture enough urine from Lance, Floyd, Basso, Ullrich, Merckx, Lemond and Hipp to keep us in the black for a very long time. We've even got plans underway to sell waste products from legends like Coppi, Anquetil, and Pantani. Death is no excuse when there's money to be made!"