May 23, 2014

Anti-doping agency calls track coach’s lawsuit ‘baseless’

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says it will ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit to allow its process to continue.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency calls a defamation lawsuit filed by former Olympian and American track coach Jon Drummond “baseless” and an attempt to circumvent an established process designed to protect athletes from receiving banned substances.

Drummond sued the agency and Tyson Gay this week, alleging that they falsely accused him of providing performance-enhancing drugs to the star sprinter.

Drummond, who runs a training facility in Arlington and coaches track and field at Grace Preparatory Academy, is under investigation by the agency and faces a lifetime ban from the sport. He says Gay’s “false testimony turned the anti-doping agency against him.”

The agency says it will ask the court to dismiss the case “in favor of the well-established arbitration process.”

“Mr. Drummond’s baseless lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is an effort to circumvent the mandatory arbitration process established to protect the rights of all clean athletes, coaches and the integrity of competition,” Annie Skinner, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Springs-based agency, said in an email.

“Under the rules which were approved by athletes, the U.S. Olympic Committee and all U.S. sport federations, Mr. Drummond will have the opportunity to have his case heard by a panel of independent arbitrators, who will ultimately weigh all evidence presented and determine the outcome of the case,” she said.

Mark Whitburn, an attorney for Drummond, declined to respond to the agency’s comments.

Gay received a one-year ban from the anti-doping agency this month for taking prohibited substances. He and his agent have not responded to numerous emails and phone calls from the Star-Telegram.

But Gay has said he hopes to be able to talk about his suspension, which ends this summer.

“There’s a lot for me to tell, my side … ” Gay told the Lexington Herald-Leader this month while attending his daughter’s track meet. “But under the rules of USADA, they didn’t want me to speak on the case. But they definitely understand what happened, and USADA understands that it was a mistake. That’s why they’re allowing me to run this year.”

When Gay explained testing positive for banned substances last year, he told The Associated Press that he doesn’t “have any sabotage story.”

“I don’t have any lies. I don’t have anything to say to make this seem like it was a mistake or it was on USADA’s hands, someone playing games. I don’t have any of those stories. I basically put my trust in someone and I was let down.”

His coach, Lance Brauman, told USA Today last year that the person Gay trusted had “no affiliation with me or anyone else in my training group.”

Drummond coached Gay from 2007 to 2012.

Gay did not receive the typical two-year suspension because the agency said he is cooperating with investigators and providing information on others who might have used performance-enhancing drugs.

According to the lawsuit, Drummond and Gay visited an Atlanta chiropractor in 2012 and Gay received supplements to help relieve “nagging” injuries. The supplements were various creams with labels stating that they contained banned substances. According to court documents, Drummond asked for an explanation and was told that the creams contained food-based products.

When Gay received a shipment of supplements from the chiropractor, valued at $9,000, Drummond recommended that he discard them, according to court documents.

In summer 2013, a year after he stopped working with Drummond, Gay tested positive. Gay told the anti-doping agency that the cause was the creams that Drummond had told him to use, records show.

Later, after meeting with the agency, Drummond also remembered a bag of substances that Gay had received in 2012 from an unknown source, the lawsuit states. Drummond told Gay not to use anything in the bag, took it from him and stored it under a sink in his home.

He later gave the bag to the agency.

Drummond discovered that Gay told the agency that Drummond had injected him with substances from the bag in 2012 and had talked about the sprinter using human growth hormone, the lawsuit said.

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