Saturday, May 22, 2010

On Floyd Landis: What Makes Sports and Sports Law Interesting

What makes Sports and Sports Law so interesting is how its controversies frequently serve as a microscope into the human condition. Take the case of Floyd Landis. The cyclist from Amish country in Pennsylvania’s version of the Bible belt had won the 2006 Tour de France, returned as a small town hero, and then was stripped of his title after accusations of doping. Offering his roots as the best evidence of his integrity, Landis spent hundreds of thousands of dollars contesting the accusations, accusing the French officials of anti-American bias: “All day long I heard him shout so loud, crying out that he was framed.”

Now he admits everything, and accuses everyone else in the sport of doing the same.

I almost always get fooled by these folks. Whether it’s Mark McGuire on Sixty Minutes or Bill Clinton pointing his finger denying he had sex with “that woman,” or Colin Powell showing us where the WMDs are hidden, or Justice Clarence Thomas claiming Anita Hill’s accusations were a “high tech lynching.” I just can’t imagine how someone has the chutzpah to look millions straight in the eye and flat out lie. (Larry Craig I never believed.) What kind of skill does it take to be so convincing when inside they must know they will eventually be hoisted by their proverbial own petards? And when will I learn that human beings are so talented at being deceitful?