Local News

Local Sports Law Expert Questions USADA Tactics

Posted June 25, 2004

— The track-and-field doping scandal is hitting the Triangle hard.

Many of the country's top runners train here, including at least one who may face a lifetime ban for illegal steroid use.

A local man who helped start the Olympic drug training program decades ago said Thursday that the latest crackdown is too aggressive and is destroying reputations.

Jones is under investigation by the

United States Anti-Doping Agency

but faces no charges for steroid use.

Jones' former husband, C.J. Hunter, tested positive for steroids. Her current boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, faces doping allegations and

a possible lifetime ban.

According to a San Francisco newspaper report, Mongomery testified to a grand jury that he took performance-enhancing drugs.

But that does not mean Jones did.

Neither Jones nor Montgomery has tested positive for steroids.

Speaking to Duke law students Thursday, sports law expert Jim Coleman scolded USADA for being too aggressive.

"Show that they used drugs without a test that indicates they had the drug in their system," Coleman said. "In my view, that's not fair.

"I think what they (USADA) are doing now is inappropriate. I think it's unbecoming for an Olympic organization to act this way."

Coleman helped establish the drug testing program for the U.S. Olympic Committee years ago. He prosecuted athletes and later defended them. Coleman said the USADA is taking investigations to the public too early.

As a result, the punishment comes before the proof.

"That's really important," Coleman said. "The punishment, in terms of doping, is the allegations."

The USADA said its process is fair and does not compromise any athlete's rights. Coleman said he is all for cleaning up the sport, just not by needlessly tarnishing reputations to do it.

Montgomery's spokesman told WRAL his client is training in North Carolina for the July 9 Olympic Trials. He said Montgomery has done nothing wrong and will fight the allegations until the end.

Montgomery and Jones are two of several people connected to Trevor Graham, their former coach. Graham was interviewed in Raleigh by federal investigators looking into a California-based drug company.

Michelle Collins, who also trained with Graham, also is facing a possible lifetime ban.

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