Players divided over drug testing regime

Jim A

Professional
it touched a nerve last year when WADA showed up for an out of competition drug test on a cyclist that had just buried his son, they told him that failure to do so would constitute a positive test
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
Good find, thanks. Tennis is adopting the Olympic/Track level of testing.

It does create some personal privacy dilemmas. Getting a flat and missing a test and getting banned is ridiculous. And I'm not sure Fed is right - can you really get your levels down to normal in two days? I didn't think so.
 

seffina

G.O.A.T.
Yeah, necessary evil is the right way to put it. It's part of their job I guess. But I understand the point that it does make them feel like criminals as well. A few bad apples having to ruin it for everyone.
 

SempreSami

Hall of Fame
it touched a nerve last year when WADA showed up for an out of competition drug test on a cyclist that had just buried his son, they told him that failure to do so would constitute a positive test
The WADA are idiots, they wanted a sentence increased after two Italian footballers were suspended for 15 days because they were five minutes late for a test (neither tested positive) because the club president had given the team a talking to after losing a match. Those players are now banned for a year thanks to them and the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
 

miyagi

Professional
it touched a nerve last year when WADA showed up for an out of competition drug test on a cyclist that had just buried his son, they told him that failure to do so would constitute a positive test
I think that is ridiculous and insensitive....

I would refuse whatever the consequences if it were their child that had just passed awat and some idiot had showed up to test them they would be extremely distraught....

There HAS to be some common sense employed with this.....

When popular figures are suspended for not testing positive but for being 5 mins late or having a flat tire....they will get a HUGE backlash and they will be forced to change their stance.
 
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West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
...they wanted a sentence increased after two Italian footballers were suspended for 15 days because they were five minutes late for a test (neither tested positive) because the club president had given the team a talking to after losing a match. Those players are now banned for a year thanks to them and the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
Hadn't heard that one - pathetic.

The WADA are idiots,...
I agree. Like many groups (PETA is another example) - they took a good idea - testing for drugs to assure the public they are seeing clean events - and have gone overboard. They use labs with shoddy testing processes and once they suspect someone you are guilty until proven innocent. And proving a negative is very difficult if not impossible,.
 

avmoghe

Semi-Pro
Could someone explain if it is possible to reduce your levels to nominal after just 48 hours. "Hour every day" seems to be equivalent to imposing a mandatory maximum of almost 48 hours between successive tests.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
I wonder why Nadal feels so insulted...
Have you ever had someone knock on your door when you were at home and demand a urine sample? Have you ever taken a drug test? Sometimes they stand beside you to make sure you aren't using a Whizzinator (fake 'device' to get a sample of clean urine into the cup).
 

latinking

Professional
The WADA are idiots, they wanted a sentence increased after two Italian footballers were suspended for 15 days because they were five minutes late for a test (neither tested positive) because the club president had given the team a talking to after losing a match. Those players are now banned for a year thanks to them and the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
I heard something about this when I was watching Napoli vs Udinese. That is totally stupid. WADA goes overboard. My girl is dealing with them now. She plays field hockey for our national squad, she has a Pan American tournement coming up soon. She was sick a couple weeks ago, with a virus. I had to take her to the emergency at midnight, and they had to put her on an IV right away for the stomach virus she had. It was an emergency. Now WADA is giving her allot of crap. She now might be banned because of the drugs the hospital gave her. Hopefully we can clear this up before the tourney.
 
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latinking

Professional
Could someone explain if it is possible to reduce your levels to nominal after just 48 hours. "Hour every day" seems to be equivalent to imposing a mandatory maximum of almost 48 hours between successive tests.
Depends what is in your system. Some things don't take long to clear up. Others take a very long time.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
I think that is ridiculous and insensitive....

I would refuse whatever the consequences if it were their child that had just passed awat and some idiot had showed up to test them they would be extremely distraught....

There HAS to be some common sense employed with this.....

When popular figures are suspended for not testing positive but for being 5 mins late or having a flat tire....they will get a HUGE backlash and they will be forced to change their stance.

This will probably be litigated and remedied somewhere down the line.

However, addressing this contingency, will most likely result in a nearly as bad intrusion on such a human tragedy. Requiring the production of death certificates and/or funeral bills, in a specified and narrow time frame.

Trust me.

Unfortunately these types of things are invariably the result of "the target" of the perceived wronged party's peers, known or unknown to him/her, having so abused the existing rules that the pendulum had to swing toward the more strict side of things.

And when the pendulum swings it generally stops in a zone, the unitiated perceive as incredibly unreasonable.

The reason is, people. People are lax. People don't read the brochure. The guilty will explore every avenue of escape that an agency like "WADA" has not found a reason to specifically address in the past.

I am in a line of work that requires random testing. Whether through laziness, failing to perceive the seriousness of non-compliance or guilt, I've seen guys "on the carpet" to "fired" for anything from failing to reach the testing site within the prescribed time or not showin at all, because:

"I had to get a haircut and my shop was on the way."

to

"I just took one (the test) two weeks ago."

to

"My grandmother passed." perhaps raising the target's deceased grandmother count 4 or 5 by that time.

From the outside looking in it appears unreasonably, well......unreasonable.

But trust me, it is without a doubt, the result of the actions of both the uninformed and/or guilty parties of the past. People are people, and whether it's a product of their own ignorance or the clever actions of the guilty, those people, "the other ones", generally identify the unforseen loopholes that agencies like WADA then needs close with ever more stringent testing and rules addressing such testing.

In short the few tend to ruin things for the many including those who abided by the old rules and/or had nothing to hide in the first place.

The proverbial "Necessary Evil".

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West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
This will probably be litigated and remedied somewhere down the line....In short the few tend to ruin things for the many including those who abided by the old rules and/or had nothing to hide in the first place.
Well said and reasoned. But some things are easily corrected - and WADA seems incapable of any flexibility - it's a tough job they have, no doubt - there are chemists out there as we type these posts looking for the 'next best thing' to cheat a test with.

The analogy I'd use for WADA is to the local cop who lets his power go to his head and becomes a tyrant.
 

NamRanger

G.O.A.T.
Have you ever had someone knock on your door when you were at home and demand a urine sample? Have you ever taken a drug test? Sometimes they stand beside you to make sure you aren't using a Whizzinator (fake 'device' to get a sample of clean urine into the cup).

When trying to solve a problem, it is better to go overboard and usually weed out most of the problem first and then fix the solution. As long as the solution works, it can be viewed as a "necessary evil".


Once they have found a happy medium, I believe that everything will be ok.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
When trying to solve a problem, it is better to go overboard and usually weed out most of the problem first and then fix the solution. As long as the solution works, it can be viewed as a "necessary evil".
I'm a pretty disciplined guy. But the problem is, when you give a group too much power, the 'roping them back in' becomes impossible. WADA knows they can ruin an athlete's life. Dick Pound, who is either the current or former head, has become a lunatic. Wired Magazine had a good profile a year or so back...
 

miyagi

Professional
This will probably be litigated and remedied somewhere down the line.

However, addressing this contingency, will most likely result in a nearly as bad intrusion on such a human tragedy. Requiring the production of death certificates and/or funeral bills, in a specified and narrow time frame.

Trust me.

Unfortunately these types of things are invariably the result of "the target" of the perceived wronged party's peers, known or unknown to him/her, having so abused the existing rules that the pendulum had to swing toward the more strict side of things.

And when the pendulum swings it generally stops in a zone, the unitiated perceive as incredibly unreasonable.

The reason is, people. People are lax. People don't read the brochure. The guilty will explore every avenue of escape that an agency like "WADA" has not found a reason to specifically address in the past.

I am in a line of work that requires random testing. Whether through laziness, failing to perceive the seriousness of non-compliance or guilt, I've seen guys "on the carpet" to "fired" for anything from failing to reach the testing site within the prescribed time or not showin at all, because:

"I had to get a haircut and my shop was on the way."

to

"I just took one (the test) two weeks ago."

to

"My grandmother passed." perhaps raising the target's deceased grandmother count 4 or 5 by that time.

From the outside looking in it appears unreasonably, well......unreasonable.

But trust me, it is without a doubt, the result of the actions of both the uninformed and/or guilty parties of the past. People are people, and whether it's a product of their own ignorance or the clever actions of the guilty, those people, "the other ones", generally identify the unforseen loopholes that agencies like WADA then needs close with ever more stringent testing and rules addressing such testing.

In short the few tend to ruin things for the many including those who abided by the old rules and/or had nothing to hide in the first place.

The proverbial "Necessary Evil".

5
Whilst we dont want drugs cheats in tennis....

The above examples are absolutely unreasonable....when it happens to Roger Federer or Nadal and they are missing from Wimbledon or Roland garos and the fans and viewing figures drop dramtically as they would then it will be a different story.

Drug testing is supposed to catch the cheats and not penalise the clean and innocent...

it is should be strict and FAIR!!
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
So there are drugs that can go untested by traditional testing methods?

Sorry for the naivity.
Yes. Because the bad guys are coming up with new ones all the time. Think about your PC virus scanner - it's looking for the known viruses and worms that losers create. And you get (I hope) frequent updates to the files - because new one viruses show up all the time.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
I'm a pretty disciplined guy. But the problem is, when you give a group too much power, the 'roping them back in' becomes impossible. WADA knows they can ruin an athlete's life. Dick Pound, who is either the current or former head, has become a lunatic. Wired Magazine had a good profile a year or so back...
I didn't read the article however I can imagine that someone charged with the responsibility of testing and enforcing violations of PED's, is simply in an untennable spot.

He's got to be underfunded as compared to his "competitors" trying to "out molecule" testing procedures and when addressing publicly probably sounds like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, simply because he sees evil chemists in every shadow.

The one variable he can control is compliance with the testing. And in truth in fairness to all, every loophole he hasn't seen or thought of yet, must be closed to maintain as level a playing field, both his and that of the athletes he monitors, as humanly, bordering on inhumanly possible.

Like I said. I am subject to random testing. We're monitored giving our samples the whole nine yards. Is it an invasion of my privacy. No, not really. In my mind it's pre-vindication. Transparency in a field in which the opposition is free to make any unsupported allegation they can think of that could my ability to perform my job effectively. So I don't see it as an intrusion.

OTH, I am a big boy, with lots of experiences good and bad. I have seen the "poppy seed" false positives. My co-workers and I have addressed this type of testing as well as other things in our work, where we sometimes wonder aloud about our shared concerns of such agencies feeling compelled to "catch a few" to validate their funding and veritable existence.

However, my experience tells me that while working in an agency with a fairly substantial workforce, that those abuses have not occurred and if errors were made or the testing itself was flawed intitially it was recitified ASA practical. I'm fully aware that the person temporarily in the hotseat for it didn't think that the remedy came soon enough, but after getting past it he has stated he was surprised at how quickly it was rectified. And while one error is too many, it was only one, early on in the past 15 years or so.

In a perfect world we wouldn't need such things. But in the world we live in, unfortunately we do. Again, that necessary evil.

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angharad

Semi-Pro
Whilst we dont want drugs cheats in tennis....

The above examples are absolutely unreasonable....when it happens to Roger Federer or Nadal and they are missing from Wimbledon or Roland garos and the fans and viewing figures drop dramtically as they would then it will be a different story.
I don't think Federer or Nadal would honestly run into the same issues, though. The Whereabouts program - the "new regime" - has each player specify an hour of the day when they can be tested (between 6 am and 11 pm), and where they'll be for that hour. How difficult is it to be awake and in your hotel room from 6am - 7am, or from 10pm - 11pm? You can also change your plans on the fly, as necessary, through things like text messaging. I believe they even have a 24-hour (or nearly 24-hour) contact that can be reached in case of an emergency. And it's quite clear through the Bryans' example that a missed test doesn't equal a suspension, as having "two strikes" clearly hasn't prevented him from playing.

It's a bit harsh, yes, and certainly invasive. If that's what it takes to keep the sport clean, though, I can't argue with it.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
...I am subject to random testing. We're monitored giving our samples the whole nine yards. Is it an invasion of my privacy. No, not really. In my mind it's pre-vindication. Transparency in a field in which the opposition is free to make any unsupported allegation they can think of that could my ability to perform my job effectively. So I don't see it as an intrusion.
Interesting. In my line of work everyone is tested coming in - and I believe can be tested if they start exhibiting strange behavior or a huge drop in performance.

I see what you're saying - and for jobs where the public's health is in question (e.g. Air Traffic Controller), tougher measures are probably valid and I'm all for it.

But this is sports, not life and death. And being a few hrs late shouldn't be a potential career killer...
 
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Thank you. A timely and interesting article. If I were the players, I would lobby for one thing and thats some flexibility on the time. I would say a two or three hour bracket, rather than a strict one hours. So the testers end up waiting a few minutes, or even an hour. So what? They get paid for it and it would make the athlete's life a little more reasonable.
 

NamRanger

G.O.A.T.
Whilst we dont want drugs cheats in tennis....

The above examples are absolutely unreasonable....when it happens to Roger Federer or Nadal and they are missing from Wimbledon or Roland garos and the fans and viewing figures drop dramtically as they would then it will be a different story.

Drug testing is supposed to catch the cheats and not penalise the clean and innocent...

it is should be strict and FAIR!!


Tennis is one of the few and unique sports where the players actually have far more power than the league itself. The ATP needs both Federer and Nadal more than Federer and Nadal need them. Trust me, unless they tested positive (and it was fully proven they did), they would not be suspended.
 

boredone3456

G.O.A.T.
This is stupid. Having to tell this group where you are going to be every minute of everyday just in case they want to show up and demand you pee in a cup is a complete invasion of privacy. I know some people would say why would you care if you have nothing to hide, but the fact you could get a strike if say, you told them you were going to be at a hotel and then you had to go to the hospital because a family member is gravely ill and you weren't there to pee in their cup is assenine. Yes you get three strikes, but in all honesty that doesn't make up for the indignity of having to tell them everything about your actions everyday. Life happens, stuff changes, and from reading this these people are not at all sympathetic to this, just wait till these stupid reasons for giving strikes start accumulating to top players getting banned for no reason and then the lawsuits will come.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
Tennis is one of the few and unique sports where the players actually have far more power than the league itself. The ATP needs both Federer and Nadal more than Federer and Nadal need them.
That is very true. They're not indentured servants. Forget them - if one of their buddies they trusted not to cheat got busted, they could get another 14 guys to start their own league - think of the top 16 guys doing 15 tournaments around the world? It would be big. They'd still make tons of cash (more?) - and would be in control and not subject to overzealous tyrants.
 

seffina

G.O.A.T.
I heard something about this when I was watching Napoli vs Udinese. That is totally stupid. WADA goes overboard. My girl is dealing with them now. She plays field hockey for our national squad, she has a Pan American tournement coming up soon. She was sick a couple weeks ago, with a virus. I had to take her to the emergency at midnight, and they had to put her on an IV right away for the stomach virus she had. It was an emergency. Now WADA is giving her allot of crap. She now might be banned because of the drugs the hospital gave her. Hopefully we can clear this up before the tourney.
I know. They can't even take cold medicine at times. It's a little extreme at times.
 

angharad

Semi-Pro
This is stupid. Having to tell this group where you are going to be every minute of everyday just in case they want to show up and demand you pee in a cup is a complete invasion of privacy. I know some people would say why would you care if you have nothing to hide, but the fact you could get a strike if say, you told them you were going to be at a hotel and then you had to go to the hospital because a family member is gravely ill and you weren't there to pee in their cup is assenine.
If a player feels that strongly that it's an invasion of privacy, they can certainly leave. Keep in mind that it's really only the top 50 that are subject to Whereabouts, and the top 50 are generally the ones that are tested constantly anyways. As for plans changing - you can update your information through text messaging as soon as you know that something's come up. You get three strikes for 18 months. I highly doubt that any player would need all of those if they were careful.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
I highly doubt that any player would need all of those if they were careful.
No offense, but I have a feeling you don't fly often - or have your own plane! As much as they fly you could get 3 misses just from airport delays - and remember they don't let you turn your cell on (and wouldn't work) at 37k when the pilot says "ladies and gentlemen,..."
 

angharad

Semi-Pro
No offense, but I have a feeling you don't fly often - or have your own plane! As much as they fly you could get 3 misses just from airport delays - and remember they don't let you turn your cell on (and wouldn't work) at 37k when the pilot says "ladies and gentlemen,..."

Actually, I fly a fair bit. For that example, though, let's say your flight takes off mid-morning. You can be at home (or in a hotel) for 6am-7am, then leave to go the airport. If the flight's delayed an entire day due to weather, you obviously won't be in the air and will be perfectly capable of updating your schedule via SMS or a phone call. Not to mention that a designate - a coach, trainer, parent, spouse, etc - can file or change information for you in that situation. All it takes is a bit more scheduling on the part of the players.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
I haven't read up on it, but my educated guess is that while the ATP may have power to control their own circumstances, they probably elected to subjugate themselves to the authority and a very specific set of controls outside of their own, in order to keep their member athletes eligible for the Olympics every cycle.

While I don't think Americans perceive or realize how important the Olympic Games may be to the ATP, I will guess that on an international level, for its prestige and in the interest of expanding the game in new growth markets, etc. there was probably very good economic reasons to do that.

If that's what they, the ATP wanted, I think I would be safe in assuming that the Olympic governing bodies would make the sport's inclusion contingent on the same testing methods and regime that every other medal sport is subject to.

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M

Morrissey

Guest
Hadn't heard that one - pathetic.

I agree. Like many groups (PETA is another example) - they took a good idea - testing for drugs to assure the public they are seeing clean events - and have gone overboard. They use labs with shoddy testing processes and once they suspect someone you are guilty until proven innocent. And proving a negative is very difficult if not impossible,.
I'm curious as to how you think PETA has gone overboard? My wife and I are PETA members. I'm all ears. I am not arguing, just wanna hear why you think that.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
I'm curious as to how you think PETA has gone overboard? My wife and I are PETA members. I'm all ears. I am not arguing, just wanna hear why you think that.
No problem. Here goes: PETA is so 'pro-animal' that they think everyone should be a vegetarian. I find this ridiculous. I love animals. But there are some who's 'role' is to be food for we humans. I eat tons of salmon. I don't want to hear that fish 'suffer' when they get hooked. Bears eat salmon. Should we force bears to stop eating salmon and only eat soy? I don't think so.

I'm all for the 'no fur' and don't torture animals that are part of my 'food chain' - make their death quick and painless. And I'd give evil prison sentences to anyone who abuses dogs, cats, etc... But don't tell me what I can and can't eat.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
Actually, I fly a fair bit. For that example, though, let's say your flight takes off mid-morning. You can be at home (or in a hotel) for 6am-7am, then leave to go the airport. If the flight's delayed an entire day due to weather, you obviously won't be in the air and will be perfectly capable of updating your schedule via SMS or a phone call. Not to mention that a designate - a coach, trainer, parent, spouse, etc - can file or change information for you in that situation. All it takes is a bit more scheduling on the part of the players.
Sorry, not buying that you fly - if you do you've been lucky. Back to my statement - at 37k, there are no options! I can't count the # of times I've circled over Lake Michigan waiting for the plane to be cleared to land at O'Hare.

And what about the women? Is is safe for them to be giving their detailed daily schedule out to strangers? This policy is overkill - defend it all you like, I'm not buying. Please list the drugs that can be flushed in a matter of hours that can dramatically improve athletic performance.
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
Did I read incorrectly or does it say

"an (what I took to mean "ONE") hour, each day, every day."

Later in the article says this:

“You got to communicate … where you’re going to be at all times,” Mike Bryan said. “They even want to know when you’re flying in, the day you arrive, if you’re going to be at the hotel for an hour. We missed a couple. Just weren’t thinking. Just down in L.A. One time I got a flat tire. You just got to be ready for anything.”

Which means either I or he or the writer of the piece is misinterpreting "an".

I could be wrong, but I would seriously doubt, that this is a 24/7 thing and surmise if a particular player was either being truthful or a wisea$$ in an innocent attempt or other, to skirt the rule and gave them "an hour" that they were on Quantas to or from Australia, then they might have asked:

"Really? What flight? When do you leave, from where and what time is the flight due to arrive and where?"

It doesn't bother me because my supervision knows where I am for four days a week, 10 hours a day, when they can test me anytime they want. And that's the only time they can test me, but that amounts to 40 hours a week. As opposed to 7 hours if I've interpreted the article properly.

But my job requires they know where they can contact me 24/365, when they can test me for cause, even when on vacation, or activate me when I'm off. So I'm used to it.

Again if I want to maintain my employment with who I work for that availability is required and amounts to nearly 6 times as much as an ATP player.

A lot of the time these guys are globetrotting so I can see a scenario where a player can make a claim to be unavailable for an unacceptable period of time, simply by staying out of WADA's reach. And because of that globetrotting, particularly in the off season, when it is far more likely that the abuses will occur, it has to be a logistical nightmare to carry out those tests effectively and when deterrence would be a major secondary benefit.

Again though I don't know the Olympic/WADA requirements for sure, but if I'm right, telling them where you'll be, which again I'm guessing is an hour of one's choice doesn't seem all that invasive.



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angharad

Semi-Pro
Sorry, not buying that you fly - if you do you've been lucky. Back to my statement - at 37k, there are no options! I can't count the # of times I've circled over Lake Michigan waiting for the plane to be cleared to land at O'Hare.

And what about the women? Is is safe for them to be giving their detailed daily schedule out to strangers? This policy is overkill - defend it all you like, I'm not buying. Please list the drugs that can be flushed in a matter of hours that can dramatically improve athletic performance.

I'll admit that I've been pretty lucky flying in the past. There's only been one or two notable incidents, both of which were in Atlanta, but that's not really here-or-there. Again, if a player is flying and their spouse or parent isn't, the person not flying would be perfectly capable of changing the information as necessary. And, once more, the player is perfectly capable of scheduling flights around the time frame needed.

I don't understand why you'd be more concerned about the female players than the male players, but I'll try to explain this again. With Whereabouts, a player files where they'll be staying, plus exactly where they'll be for an hour of every day. The player chooses which hour, as long as it's between the hours of 6 am and 11 pm. The rest of the schedule the player has doesn't matter and isn't submitted. Is that any more dangerous than a newspaper broadcasting what hotel a particular player is staying at for a certain tournament? And again, they're not handing out copies of their schedule to anyone who asks. They log in to a secure server and enter their schedule there, or they can fax it into the office/SMS it in/call the office contact.

The funny part about this is that I'm not trying to defend the system. I can understand why people seem to think that it's overkill, but obviously the players agreed on it or they wouldn't be playing. My only point for the past few posts has been to clarify what the system actually is, as there seem to be a lot of misunderstandings about what it is/who uses it/how it works.
 
The new rules are unnecessarily humiliating. There are ways to be strict and rigorous with doping testing, but what they are trying to do is simply a disgrace.
Imagine if your employer made you pee in a cup every Monday to make sure you have not been smoking any doobies during the weekend. In my opinion this is just a public relations stunt from the organization to show that the sport is clean, but it might end up backfiring, as I can't think too many reasonable people would agree with what they are trying to do.
 
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