>When I started this blog last summer, my intention was merely to express my thoughts as a fan and share them with other fans. I was shocked to find out mine was the only English-language fan blog dedicated to our sport; other sports have thousands.
Never in my life did I intend it to stir up controversy or get people mad. Well, that changed this morning. Normally I get anywhere from five to fifty hits a day; today I’ve had 234 so far.
On January 6 I wrote a post about Derek Woodske’s two-year suspension and some connections I thought were a bit odd. Apparently last night someone sent a link to it out via e-mail; most spent less than one second viewing it, but a few left some rather heated comments and two threatened libel suits. This post is an attempt to address those issues.
When writing about public persons, to prove libel the plaintiff must show that the writer knew his statements to be false or had reckless disregard for the truth. These are fairly high hurdles to get over, and furthermore neither applies here. Still, I’d like to address the issues.
My original statement was that Woodske was given a two-year suspension for refusing to take a test, which is a factual statement. I did add a statement that was unclear: that it “counts just like a positive result”. By this I meant it earns the same penalty. While my statement might inferr wrongdoing, the same is true of the story issued by the AP and reprinted by hundreds of newspapers worldwide. My statements were no different and cannot be held to a higher standard.
As my statement regarding Jud Logan is concerned, my statements were limited to his career ending in a 1992 doping ban from a positive test for clenbuterol. This actually is in error; he resumed throwing at elite levels in 1997. An astute reader pointed this out and I admitted the mistake. As far as the doping ban, that is a factual statement. Logan himself issued a written statement at the time, referring to clenbuterol as a “safe alternative to steroids” and claiming he stopped using it in February (his positive test was in July). At that time Dr. Don Catlin said “It’s unusual for any drug to be around the body for months” but did admit there was no research in this particular case to know for sure (T&FN, October ’92, p. 87). In any case, Logan freely admitted using the drug as a performance-enhancer.
Aside from the triviality noted, none of my statements were in error–all check out factually. The retraction I’d like to make is the tenor of the post rather than the facts contained in it. Considering the BALCO and Sprint Capitol affairs, I’m of a cynical mindset these days when it comes to elite track and performance-enhancing drugs, and this attitude isn’t unique. I noted the coincidental nature of these events and speculated as to whether they may be connected or not. This is where I have offended, and I apologize and regret the error.