A Swiss judge has returned a judgement against Floyd Landis in the UCI’s defamation case against him. If you want any indication of how the UCI will likely handle the evidence from USADA and how they will proceed in their case, you only need read the judgement, which forbids Landis from stating:
“…that the Union Cycliste Internationale, Patrick (Pat) McQuaid and/or Henricus (Hein) Verbruggen have concealed cases of doping, received money for doing so, have accepted money from Lance Armstrong to conceal a doping case, have protected certain racing cyclists, concealed cases of doping, have engaged in manipulation, particularly of tests and races, have hesitated and delayed publishing the results of a positive test on Alberto Contador, have accepted bribes, are corrupt, are terrorists, have no regard for the rules, load the dice, are fools, do not have a genuine desire to restore discipline to cycling, are full of shit, are clowns, their words are worthless, are liars, are no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi…”
The language in the ruling is strongly in favor of the UCI. Wikipedia defines defamation as:
“the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation a negative or inferior image.”
Sure, the first part of the statement (“…have concealed cases of doping, received money for doing so, have accepted money from Lance Armstrong to conceal a doping case, have protected certain racing cyclists, concealed cases of doping, have engaged in manipulation…) could be seen as defamatory. I have to question how much effort they put into the decision, however, when they repeat “concealed cases of doping” in paragraph II.
That said, that the ruling would explicitly forbid Landis from stating that McQuaid and Verbruggen “…are corrupt, are terrorists, have no regard for the rules, load the dice, are fools, do not have a genuine desire to restore discipline to cycling, are full of shit, are clowns, their words are worthless…” says a lot about the nature of the decision. While these statements could be taken as inflammatory and hurtful insults, I don’t think that any reasonable person would fail to see that they are opinions, not statement of facts. You would not have to go far in the blogosphere to find a large number of people who feel the same way about the UCI.
Meanwhile the evidence against the UCI continues to mount. A recent article in the London Sunday Times says the the UCI most definitely covered up a 2001 doping positive of Lance Armstrong’s. Also, it’s pretty clear to anyone who follows cycling that the UCI sat on Alberto Contador’s positive test for months before being forced to take action.
Landis will have to pay court costs and damages as a result of the ruling and will have to “present operative provisions” (apologies?) in the Wall Street Journal, L’Equipe, cycling news, Velo News, Velo Nation and other media outlets.
The decision from the Swiss court can be found here: http://www.bikeworldnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Judgment-Floyd-Landis-EN.pdf