Is Floyd Landis The Only Person Who Thinks He’s Innocent?

For those who can’t stand the suspense, the answer is yes. If our readers wish to take a look at something truly sad, scroll over to Floyd Landis’ website, here. Landis states at the end of his August 15th posting that, “I am determined to show that I followed the rules and won fairly and cleanly. There is a greater integrity at stake here than just my own.” I have wracked my brain trying to imagine how Landis could come up dirty on two tests of the same sample, and haven’t come up with an answer (short of the authorities having mixed up his sample with someone else’s, which I think is exceptionally unlikely). The psychological damage of having the inspirational Zidane and then Landis stories hurtle to earth hurtle to earth has been more than I can take, so I have really tried to put my mind in a place where I could be convinced that Landis was wrongly accused. To this point, I have been unsuccessful.

So the question is, why is Landis continuing in a quest to “clear his name” when almost no one who is as rational, or more so, than I am believes there’s any chance he’s innocent. The only explanation I can come up with is that this is all a form of ritual. We know, and he knows, that he’s guilty. But we all feel better if he denies it. But at some point this takes on a cartoonish, OJ-style “still looking for Nicole’s killer” kind of quality, doesn’t it? So the question is, is there any point where Landis is better off just saying, “you know what, I did it. I’m sorry, but my fear that this was the only Tour de France I could ever win, was too much to avoid the pressure to cheat.” Would Landis be better or worse off in admitting what everyone already knows?

Author: Steven M. Teles

Steven Teles is a Visiting Fellow at the Yale Center for the Study of American Politics. He is the author of Whose Welfare? AFDC and Elite Politics (University Press of Kansas), and co-editor of Ethnicity, Social Mobility and Public Policy (Cambridge). He is currently completing a book on the evolution of the conservative legal movement, co-editing a book on conservatism and American Political Development, and beginning a project on integrating political analysis into policy analysis. He has also written journal articles and book chapters on international free market think tanks, normative issues in policy analysis, pensions and affirmative action policy in Britain, US-China policy and federalism. He has taught at Brandeis, Boston University, Holy Cross, and Hamilton colleges, and been a research fellow at Harvard, Princeton and the University of London.

11 thoughts on “Is Floyd Landis The Only Person Who Thinks He’s Innocent?”

  1. Somebody spiked his drink?
    If he is guilty, then somebody suplied the Testosterone to him. Somebody out there would know more, and could be induced to come forward. It's not like he had his own bio-lab to brew it up.

  2. Ok, ignorant question – a spike in testosterone in the middle of the race would be of zero competitive value – why bother?

  3. The Phonak cycle team Landis rode for(past tense) has been disbanded by the lead sponsors. This sort of collective economic sanction is rough justice, but offers a chance of changing the culture of tolerance of doping in cycling.

  4. I work in the Thoroughbred racehorse business, and, unfortunately, we face a similarly serious drug problem. The vets I have spoken to all agree that it is actually likely that the sample was somehow tampered with. They arrive at that conclusion because, as another in this thread touched on, Testosterone could not possibly act quickly enough to help Landis had it been administered during the race (remember: only one leg's test result came up positive).
    It is also quite interesting that the sample which turned up positive was associated with his most brilliant leg of the race, suggesting that whoever tampered with the sample was attempting to be especially clever.
    The only other possible explainations are that he knowingly cheated by using a susbstance which could not have helped his performance (highly unlikely); he was given something without his knowledge (a possible form of tampering, though highly unlikely if given by one of his allies for the reason already stated); or that he took a seemingly innocuous supplement which produced the positive (possible, given that many "natural" supplements would have such an effect, though unlikely given how incredibly careful elite athletes are in this area).
    Bear in mind that I am generally very skeptical of athletes in these situations, but in this case, I tend to be circumspect.
    In any case, this is no Barry Bonds slam dunk…
    Tony C.

  5. Frankly, I am more convinced of Floyd's guilt based on his behavior following the positive results than I am by the actual circumstances.
    Instead of angrily accusing the lab of letting someone tamper with his specimen, he has fallen back on rather weak, general denials.
    First, he complained about the semi-official leak of the results before the B sample was tested. This is a genuine complaint, but who cares? You've just been accused of cheating to win the Tour and your first concern is that the accusers didn't follow protocols?
    Next, he has fallen into this general "I'm innocent" claim without proffering a theory for why the samples were positive. If you want me to believe that you are innocent, I need to see a lot more angry table-banging and finger-pointing.

  6. Landis has bought his own B.S. Come on, we've all seen instances of this — although maybe I've observed more of it after working in law firms for 20-plus years. People convince themselves of something and then, by continuing to insist on it, further engrave it into their brains, even though it is not objectively the truth. I bet if you hooked Landis up to a polygraph he'd test out as believing what he's saying.
    It's called "denial." Except for gravity, it's the strongest force in the universe — and I have days when I'm not so sure gravity is stronger.
    I have toyed with various theories about this, just as a way of making sense of it myself, but I always come back to the idea that it's a way of saying, "whatever I have or haven't done I don't deserve what's happening because of it." For Landis, who I assume worked his ass off for years training for the Tour, and probably knows of other people who also used testosterone or other forbidden items, his EMOTIONAL reaction is that it isn't fair for him to get all this bad press and hoo-hah for something not limited to him.
    I am NOT saying the bad press and hoo-hah is objectively unfair. I'm just trying to make sense of an emotional reaction. It's similar, I think, to the reactions of parents whose children are convicted of crimes and sent to prison. Their pain at what is happening to their kid (and maybe guilt at whatever mistakes they may have made in their upbringing) morphs from "my precious baby doesn't deseve this treatment he's getting because he did Thing X" to "my baby didn't do Thing X."

  7. Floyd didn't do it. I don't trust the UCI, WADA, the French lab, the French or USA Cycling. Floyd ain't Lance. He's just a riders rider. He is not as articulate as Lance and doesn't have the support of anyone at this point except the people who know him. He is being tried and hung without a trial. The heads of the organizations involved can't even follow their own rules. None of the people commenting here are going by anything but their opinion. In the US we don't find people guilty based on an uninformed bystanders opinion.
    All of the noncycling administrators should be fired and replaced with people who know what it's like to be an athelete and rider.

  8. No, Floyd is not the only one. Taking testosterone at the time alleged would provide him with absolutly no advantage. He knows that. I know that, and I'm not involved in cycling. Testosterone could be beneficial during training, but not during a race. Landis would be an idiot to try it, knowing that if he won the dope would be exposed in the mandatory winners drug test.
    Landis was tested several times during the race, and tested the day before and the day after the tainted sample was taken. He could not be clean on, for example, Tuesday, dirty on Wed. and clean on Thursday. It doesn't work like that.
    Something is fishy here. The test results were released far too quickly, very much outside the norm to release them before sample B was tested.
    People are too quick to tear a guy down. On this one, few people are bothering to think it through.

  9. Anyone who would trust Dick Pound or anyone assocaited with him with their lives is already dead.
    Maybe Landis keeps insisting he's innocent because… Wait for it…
    He's innocent?
    Why not let the process play out, and see if he gets his public hearing (who looks like they have nothing to hide now?) before you anylyze him?
    He's a real human being, you know. He's not just an image on your TV

  10. Funny how 1 of Landis' 5(?) samples tests positive
    and 0 of probably over 50 of Armstrong's test never did. From the interviews pre-Tour all the American riders were saying what a stand up guy Landis was (while barely hiding their disdain for Armstrong).

  11. The case is still open, and neither the charges nor the defense have really been offered as of yet. I'd prefer him to be innocent, and there explanations of unclear plausibility that say he is. We just don't know yet.
    I am keeping a close track of this case in a blog that may be of interest to those who care or are curious, at http//

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