Contador’s case made me think of the perfect doping crime. This is not related to his guilt or innocence, but rather to the process he went through (most of it outside of his direct control, but a clever athlete could aim for these steps on purpose). There are three main types of perfect doping crimes.
- Don’t get caught. This is obviously the best one, clean and simple (pun intended)
- Get the case thrown out. Whether you are a soccer/football or tennis client of Fuentes or your buddies have political cloud, if you can somehow make the case go away before it comes to trial, I’d still award you the perfect crime badge (scout’s honor)
- “C+” (new and improved)
The C+ method is one that has been largely ignored to date but has the most potential for success for athletes who lack the skills to dope under the radar or the clout to get the case thrown out. It does however require some “local clout”, so small-fry Chinese cyclists need not apply. But there are plenty of countries where protecting the national interest is still common. Here is how the process works:
- Test positive.
- Get the federation to delay an announcement while you get your team together (the federation may even suggest some members for your defense team).
- Get convicted or at least a recommendation to convict by your national federation when the pressure to come up with something becomes unbearable (make sure this happens in the off-season).
- Appeal the conviction or get somebody else to question the process or whatever, but keep it at the local level (getting the national federation of your sport into a procedural dance with your NADA is the preferred route here).
- Get the suspension overturned or the recommendation ignored when you want to race again in the early part of the season following season (for good measure, get your Prime Minister to chime in with a senseless comment).
- Get WADA to introduce lots of experts, this allows you to study their arguments (which legitimately takes time) and introduce your own to to force WADA to study their opinions.
- Go on a training camp to the country from which one of the CAS judges hails. If you can, do three training camps to cover all three judges.
- Get some idiot to question the independence of the CAS tribunal based on your training camp choices, forcing CAS to delay the procedures further while they prove their independence.
If you can stretch this entire process to 24 months, you can be convicted for 24 months served retroactively in its entirety, meaning you will lose 24 months of results but you will not lose any salary, endorsements, etc. And you’re free to move on immediately. For those who think the salary claw back clause in your contract poses a problem, not to worry. Most of your income is in image contracts and endorsements which are hard to figure out, and the claw-back is likely unenforcible anyway.