Tyson Gay excuse and inconsistent punishment makes it imperative the IAAF take responsibility to mete out punishment

By Robert Taylor, Special to Trackalerts.Com

The talk about Tyson Gay not knowing as a reason for him testing positive three times in succession is not as cut and dry, as some believe. Another argument can be that he had been taking banned substance since 2012 and although he passed tests at the Olympics games and after, he did not expect the testing authority to catch up to him.

For Tyson Gay to believe the natural cream argument, shows that this argument borders on the absurd, ridiculous or stupid; you may select one. To equate it as ok for NFL athletes so it is ok for track and field athletes when the positive requirement standard and punishment is so far different, it calls into question the education policy of his country governing body. To use such an excuse and disclose it publicly is either genuine or his expectation of the average fan intelligence is very low. To be fair, I have heard excuses that were far more outlandish than this before. He could be innocent and blindly followed someone but it is clearly an illogical behaviour to say the least. Sometime something can seem too unreal to be true but in fact, it is. So who to tell what is fact from what is fiction?

Clearly out of this must be severe punishment for the people Tyson Gay claims to have trusted. If we are to believe there is a strong drive to stamp out illegal drugs especially something as powerful as steroids, those responsible for advising Tyson Gay on the illegal drug taking should pay a significant price. Especially if the authority that mete out punishment hope to be taken seriously.

So far, I have read that Tyson Gay got 12 months sentence and his London 2012 Olympic silver medal in the 4x100m relay has been returned. If he were taking the drug since July 2012, how did it take them until May 2013 to come up with a positive test? Thus, the excuse of “he was innocent because he tested positive for it three times in such short a time” should not be taken as gospel. At the very least, his handlers or the person (s) who introduced him to the anti-aging clinic (assuming this is where the steroids came from) most likely knew it would have eluded the testers. It leaves me to wonder who else was getting the cream rub into their skin that only those doing the recommending know about.

The penalty of one year came into question the punishment structure of track and field. It seems the individual nature of the sports permeated throughout the sports. Thus, each federation or drug testing body distributes punishment the way each wants. A one-year sentence for anabolic steroid seems extremely lenient. This is highlighted by the fact that the body responsible for overseeing the drugs control in Jamaica issued an 18 months ban for stimulant to both Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson.

The rule is that one is ultimately responsible for anything one consumes unless one can prove that sabotage was a reason. The USADA said Tyson Gay cooperated and thus the reason for the 12 months suspension. I guess he gave up others and was forthcoming with when he started usage etc. If so be the case, I would like to see the heavy penalty issued to those in track and field responsible for influencing Tyson Gay into “naively or ignorantly” if that is the case, accepting a cream that contains steroids in it, assuming this cream produced the steroid.

Regardless of the situation, it looks grossly disproportionate in penalty when two athletes get 18 months for stimulant and one gets 12 months for steroids. There could be a good reason for this but it sure makes the Jamaican authority (JADCO) look unnecessarily harsh.

This is not the first time JADCO gave disproportionate penalty relative to USADA. Dominique Blake of Jamaica, got six years for testing positive twice for banned stimulants,  while Gatlin a USA athlete, got four years for a positive stimulant the first time and steroids the second time around. This proves to me that punishment should be the sole responsibility of the IAAF. WADA on the other hand, responsibilities should be about education, research and testing.

The fact that Individual nations can sometimes be subjected to internal pressures of Jingoism or in the case of JADCO, external pressure from foreign media makes the inconsistency likely to happen again. The major media houses coming out of Britain especially, had a strong effect on JADCO, thus they sought to sacrifice the athletes to show they are vigilant against drugs usage.

Only if the IAAF takes sole responsibility for punishment will there be objectivity in appearance and fact. At this point, not many believe there is objectivity and one would be hard press to see consistency. Track and field is a sport that has far too many cynics as fans. 

The IAAF needs to improve the way the sport is being viewed. The negative image which started in 1988 is yet to be abated. It is due time the ruling body takes more control and move the sports towards a more positive light. For one, the Tyson Gay 12-month suspension might have a sound reason behind it but many cannot see it. This can only create negative beliefs towards USA athletes and their federation’s drive to end performance-enhancing drugs in the sports. This is something the IAAF and the sports of track and field can ill afford to accept.

**The views expressed in this article are those of the author (Robert Taylor) and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, trackalerts.com.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here