Monday, November 02, 2009

Andre Agassi And Doping II

This is not a dead issue.

"We take it extremely seriously if anyone has taken anything on the banned list of drugs, whether it is believed to be performance-enhancing or not," Howman told the Sunday Telegraph.

Last week's admission by Agassi that he took crystal meth and then deceived the authorities by declaring that he had fallen prey to "spiked soda" will not be allowed to rest by Wada.

The agency has an eight-year statute of limitations and cannot punish the player now he has retired, but Howman is demanding that the ATP and ITF take action. He wants the governing bodies to investigate whether he "lied on oath" after he failed the drugs test in 1997.

"Wada's position is simple," said Howman. "The tennis authorities should investigate a possible breach of the law by Agassi, if he lied on oath about this, and also a possible breach of the law by his lawyers. If his lawyers knew at the time he was lying, then that is extremely serious.

"There are limitations over what he can do, but we don't believe this is a dead issue. We believe the authorities should be investigating the possibility of perjury."

Wada are due to send out letters to the authorities this week.

I don't see how WADA can really do anything since it didn't have jurisdiction over the case in 1997, but it sure doesn't appear as though it wants to be disregarded.


cms said...

Statues of limitation exist for a reason. They can't just decide to punish someone after the SoL because they're pissed that they were fooled. And a letter to the ATP would not constitute "under oath." If he testified, that's different, but from what we understand at the moment, it was only a letter.

Agassi's lawyers vetted this reveal to within an inch of its life, I'm quite sure. If the ATP or WADA finds a loophole, his lawyers should be called on malpractice.

Craig Hickman said...

That's basically what I wanted to write. ;)

Karen said...

@cms, unfortunately it is not that cut and dried. Perjury does not have to be a vocal statement, it can also be statements knowingly made and/or contained in a document which the affiant knows to be false. He provided to a tribunal information that he knew to be false and which he swore, whether in affidavit form or not to be true. The fact that it is not a court of law is irrelevant. The panel that read the explanation of the drug use took the statement to be a true account of what happened and made their findings based on that fact. It is a similar scenario as if a prosecutor put a witness on the stand or engages in behaviour that he knows to be false and relies on it as if it were true. It is perjury no matter how you slice it and is a punishable offence in any court of law with which I am familiar.

Karen said...

In addition, there are always wherefore and whereas for any limitation law that I have come across, especially in the British commonwealth where I practice. In the Commonwealth if one is statute barred from bringing an action one can apply to the court for leave to file one's application outside the time permitted having regard to the fact that the circumstances of the case have just now been brought to light, i.e. say for instance directors were defrauding a hedge fund for years and liquidators went in but only discovered the fraud 3 years after their appointment and as such are only just now able to bring action, the limitation law would state that you only have 2 years to bring such a claim, but if the liquidators can prove that the directors by their own withheld vital information during the winding up process then leave will be granted by a court duly constituted to hear the proceedings and rule that a law suit should be brought. In Agassi's case, he knowingly withheld pertinent information, i.e. that he knowingly ingested the drug and that it did not in fact belong to his "assistant Slim" and as such he did not come to court with "clean hands" or in the law "equity". He knew that the information he was providing was tainted and he still proceeded along those lines.

Whole Sight said...

Perjury does not exist in the abstract; as a charge, it requires a specific judicial body with both the will & the power to prosecute. It seems unlikely that any such body exists in Agassi's case. WADA is not that body. The ATP is not that body. The ITF? The word "perjury" doesn't even appear in the 262-page ITF anti-doping program description except in reference to a requirement that ITF laboratory personnel cannot have been convicted of perjury . . . in a criminal court, of course, not before the ITF itself.

Either the ATP or the ITF could issue some sort of non-binding censure, and maybe they will if they feel it would be a good PR move - but can anyone see either body attempting to take more serious action? Most likely it would have to be ad hoc, and that is where Agassi's lawyers would step in. A nightmare from the ATP's point of view.

Personally I hope this dies a quick death after the various parties express their moral outrage, etc. What matters is doing a good job of doping standards now, not after the fact.

Beth said...

Am I completely naive or am I alone in wondering why on earth Agassi felt the need to confess this revelation? Guilty conscience? Throw ATP under the bus while flipping them the bird? What? I just don't understand why he would do this and disappoint so many fans and admirers of both tennis and himself. And what about the children at his school? What are they to make of their school's founder having intentionally lied about drug use and covering it up?I am simply speechless. Okay, if this is a 'don't do what I did kids' admission perhaps there's some merit but otherwise his confession seems selfish to me. If he can be held accountable, albeit years late, he should be. Thoughts??

Helen W said...

Beth I read somewhere speculation that Agassi may want to get into politics, and in preparation, he wanted to get all skeletons out of the closet beforehand.

I agree with you (and Safin) -- it seems self indulgent to make this public confession long after he can be held accountable.

Beth said...

I am just so curious at his motivation.....why? Never read that he has considered public office and, even still, just doesn't add up to me.

Kia said...

Helen W, politics may very well be the reason as its one of the few avenues that drug addiction could be an issue.

There is also the idea that he had to get the story out there before someone else did. The sudden & acrimonious termination of his long time relationship w/ Perry Rogers puzzled me. Maybe its irrelevant to the situation but they had a personal as well as business partnership that spanned decades. It wouldn't be the first such set up to go up in smoke w/o nefarious reasons but the timing is still suspect...

Pamela said...

Perfect summation:

Self indulgent.

Graf_sampras said...

Safin: Agassi should hand money back

Reuters - Tue, 10 Nov 10:04:00 2009
Buzz Up!

Marat Safin has come up with an instant remedy to help Andre Agassi clear his conscience after his admission that he lied about using drugs - hand back the millions of dollars he made in prize money.
TENNIS marat safin roland garros (eto foto tebe ne podhodit - ischi novoe!!!!) - 0
More Stories

* VIDEO - Agassi: I needed an escape
* Gasquet appears at CAS hearing
* WTA: Doping system too tough
* Nadal insists tennis is doping free

Safin also suggested Agassi might also want to consider forfeitting all the titles he won during his long and celebrated career if he was serious about coming clean.

"He feels guilty? So let him just give back his titles, money, his Grand Slams!" Safin told French sports daily L'Equipe.

"If he is so fair play, he should go all the way. You know, ATP have a bank account, he can refund if he wants to."

Safin, currently playing his last tournament in Paris this week, also questioned Agassi's motives for revealing his past drug use in his autobiography "Open".

In his book, Agassi revealed he had used and tested positive for crystal meth in 1997 but escaped punishment by lying to the investigators.

The American has since spoken about his remorse over his actions but Safin said was concerned about the way in which he confessed.

"I won't write my biography. I do not need any money. The question is: why did he do it?" Safin said.

"What's done is done. He hopes to sell more books. But he is completely stupid!"

"I do not defend the ATP but what he said put them in a bad position. ATP allowed him to win a lot of tournaments, to make a lot of money.

"They kept his secret so why be so cruel with them? There are times you need to be able to shut up."

Earlier this month, the World Anti-Doping Agency said they were investigating whether to lay fresh charges against Agassi.

Jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy said...

not trying to take people away from this blog which is a great tennis blog, but here are some original thoughts on agassi…i wont bother posting everything i already wrote, but to sum up - its all about the $$$
Click here to read the rest