Former 2:24 marathoner, now pushing 50 and reduced to a pitiable spastic shuffle • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on distance running since 1999; mostly a crank since approximately 2016 and possibly long before • Coach and adviser of less pessimistic perambulators • Dobie-mix owner Sentence-fragment impresario

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

More comedy from the Salazar suspension

File this in the overspilling drawer labeled Public statements that should have ended exactly one sentence earlier. From Sarah Lorge-Butler, to whom you should always devote your limited free RWOL clicks:


In sum, Sifan Hissan invites the reader to presume that she either knew nothing about the journalistic and legal investigations into Salazar before she joined the NOP or she didn't care and joined anyway; furthermore, she's basically admitting there's a shady pre-Hassan version of Salazar and that this one happened to be replaced by an upstanding one when she arrived. Maybe I am reading a lot into a few words, but I don't think so. I mean, what she's telegraphing, maybe without her own permission, might be more brazen: "Yeah, he's dirty. So are most people. If you think I am, prove it." Hassan appears uncomfortable speaking in public under any circumstances, and on the track generally looks like she wants to murder someone while trying to hold in explosive diarrhea at the same time; none of this is likely to temper this presentation one bit. What a goddamn shame.

Alberto Salazar's own sleaziness can be found at a glance in the brief statement he released yesterday on the NOP blog. It's clear he is getting no editorial help or is actively refusing it, because his "defense" consists of a poorly written claim that the same body that just suspended him for four years did cushion the blow with piffle, after all.

But Salazar outright lies. He writes that "the arbitrators ... even wrote about the care I took in complying with the World Anti-Doping code," but he wasn't suspended by WADA (not at first, anyway), He was in violation of USADA code and doesn't even deny that here. This is his modus operandi, which is a form of equivocation combined with a red herring: He'll pretend to have introduced and then defeated a given accusation against him, when in fact the accusation is either subtly different or coming from a different source. There are longtime journalists out there who continue to buy into the idea that if a respected figure even deigns to bluster about a charge against him, then the charge must be false or exaggerated at worst -- as if it's typical for crooks who happen to be sociopaths and narcissists to just throw their hands in the air and yell "Fuck it! Ya got me!" even after all legal and illegal channels have been explored and exhausted.

It should also strike remaining NOP supporters as suspicious if Salazar fails to soon address the specific violations USADA cited. Even if he engages in his usual dissembling if and when this occurs, it will be enough to satisfy his meathead supporters, and every demigod attracts a shitload of them. So it couldn't possibly hurt him to do this. Of course, if the predicted athlete exodus occurs, we may have seen the last-ever post on the NOP blog anyway, and I'm probably making a big deal out of a mere formality.

In case it's not clear, my response to whatever fallout billows outward to engulf other NOP members, former members and other associates is likely to be mockery at worst and detachment at best. Getting outraged at doping in sports, ipso facto, is almost like a high spending your life pissed off that a high fraction of the most visible millionaires on Earth achieved their status more through some combination of luck and treachery than as a result of brainpower or sheer hard work. Ruing the fact that the results are emotionally unsatisfying ("But I liked that one with the long ponytail!" or maybe "She was so nice when I ran with her those times!") is pointless.

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