Vaughters' Doping Confession
Jonathan Vaughters confesses to doping, but is he the victim or the Jedi Master of Spin?
who or what is the "standard" is a philosophical question way beyond my scope. We are all flawed to various degrees. For some athletes doping is a ways to a means. To others it's deplorable and they leave the sport. And between those two scenarios there are numerous shades of grey. This is not a black and white topic.
You only need to read the news to see that some people we trust are far from trustworthy. Why should sport be any different? We make morality choices every day - some small, others huge.
Vaughters has hired riders that have served a suspension for doping, but curiously Landis wasn't included. I asked Floyd and he told me, "I asked JV for a job and he told me he can't hire me."
Why couldn't he hire Landis? Probably it would have made entry into European races that much harder as Landis had been very vocal about corruption in the higher echelon of the sport. Remember, this was before Slipstream Sports (the company behind Garmin-Sharp) was a Grand Tour and classic winning squad and they were considered the underdogs. Vaughters did what he thought was best for himself and the team, didn't hire Landis and didn't mention his own doping.
Another statement that rubs me the wrong way is that because there was no anti-doping "IRS" he cheated. Just because no one is looking doesn't make it okay to cheat.
It's becoming more and more obvious that the poop is about to hit the fan regarding the Armstrong era of racing. Riders are coming clean and some of Armstrong's most trusted teammates have given some type of testimony that looks to be damaging. Vaughters did the smart thing - admitted to the truth with zero blow-back on him. I'm still glad he stepped forth, but more good could have been accomplished if he'd done so years earlier. It would have seemed gutsier if he'd admitted to this when he had something to lose. But that's what having a code of morality is.
There may be more to this story when the USADA hearings commence. Perhaps Vaughters, on advice of his lawyers, has had to keep some details to himself which will be revealed later.
A lot of good riders have been left behind in the wake of non-admissions, either being driven from the sport or they saw how the sport of cycling was run and wanted no part of it. They made a painful choice. Playing the victim card is an easy way to dodge any significant damage and play it safe. So before we hold Vaughters up as an example, let's really look at his admission - a well-crafted and smart piece of writing that allows him to continue. Unfortunately there are many riders who don't have that option of continuing.