May 24, 2004
USADA’s mission is to deter the use of drugs in sports by protecting the rights of clean athletes to compete on a level playing field, the integrity of sport and the health of athletes. Since its formation in 2000, USADA has fulfilled this mission in a responsible, fair, and objective manner and will continue to do so in its investigation into the BALCO materials it received from the Senate Commerce Committee and all other evidence related to that investigation.
It is USADA’s practice not to comment publicly on its investigations into particular cases. USADA has never made any public comment concerning Marion Jones before her press conference today. However, since Ms. Jones chose to publicly address our meeting in a press conference, USADA will briefly respond.
“USADA met with Ms. Jones today at her request so that she could share any knowledge she has that is related to the BALCO situation,” said Travis T. Tygart, USADA’s Director of Legal Affairs.
“To avoid any subsequent misunderstanding we had asked if Ms. Jones would agree to have a court reporter present at the meeting or otherwise have it recorded. She would not agree. Without further comments on the substance of the meeting, USADA does confirm that Ms. Jones was given documents related to its investigation, which she took with her,” said Tygart.
“I am aware of Mr. Burton’s comments following today’s meeting. It is clear from those comments that Mr. Burton rejects the idea of a non-analytical positive and contends that only athletes who test positive or admit to a violation can be sanctioned,” Tygart stated. “Without commenting on the specifics of any case, USADA confirms that that Mr. Burton is absolutely incorrect in his position.”
“USADA will add the information learned today from Ms. Jones to our other evidence as we continue to collect facts related to the BALCO materials received from the Senate Commerce Committee.”
Information on the USADA process:
The rights of athletes to engage in the established process before accusations, rumors or innuendos of doping are publicly levied against them is just as important as the integrity of clear sport which USADA protects. Athletes deserve the thorough and deliberate process that has been established by athletes, the USOC and sport organizations as set forth in the USADA Protocol.
This multi-leveled process begins with a review by USADA of information it receives of potential doping violations, followed by a review by an independent review board and ultimately arbitration before the American Arbitration Association with an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. As a matter of law, an athlete has no ability to seek the intervention of courts concerning a matter arising under our process.
This model, which is fast, fair and transparent, has served as the basis for models agreed to by athletes, sport organizations and governments throughout the World, and as set forth in the World Anti-Doping Code.