September 06, 2006

Marion Jones cleared by second test: The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed Jones on Wednesday afternoon that tests on her "B" urine sample came back negative, according to one of her lawyers, Howard Jacobs. Those who commented in a previous thread are certainly welcome to stop by for punch and crow inside.

posted by wfrazerjr to other at 10:39 PM - 85 comments

I didn't comment on the previous thread, but i just read through all of the comments on it, and i have to say frazer that i see your point. We have lost our faith in athletes in america. I can certainly see why this has happened. However, it is wrong of me and anyone else to condemn potential PED users until proven guilty. I bet marion jones is thankful that they take two samples!

posted by brainofdtrain at 12:24 AM on September 07

This brings up several interesting questions. If one test can be wrong why can't two be wrong a small percentage of the time? Could Floyd Landis be the victim of two false positives? Which of Marion Jones' tests was accurate? Why does a sprinter fail a test for an endurance enhancing drug and a long distance cyclist fail a test for muscle building drugs? So many questions.

posted by Most_Voluble_Poster at 12:49 AM on September 07

Thanks for the link wfrazerjr, you don't have to worry about the post count getting to high on this one.

posted by Bishop at 01:05 AM on September 07

Interesting.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:05 AM on September 07

If the samples test different, then foul play is underfoot I would think, somewhere in the chain of custody, one of the samples was altered it seems, blah blah blah. This could get messy. Perhaps a battery of tests by more than one lab on each sample is needed?

posted by mjkredliner at 07:48 AM on September 07

Bah. I remain sceptical. But, no evidence is no evidence, so I guess I just go back to suspicion.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:48 AM on September 07

This is why the result of a positive test result should not be released or leaked until after both samples have been tested.

posted by bperk at 08:03 AM on September 07

Or maybe the line between a positive and a negative test is arbitrary and the testing techniques aren't really good enough to catch everyone. (Amateur's informed post in the last thread is worth rereading.) I have no idea if Marion Jones is doing something wrong or not, but to pass judgement on her without having any knowledge of the story past what you hear on Sportscenter is a bad idea. Everyone has an agenda, on both sides. Hasn't the Tour De France back-and-forth over the last few years taught us anything? Oh, and Drood, afx327vi, jwillbballin, gfinsf & commander cody: the floor is open.

posted by chicobangs at 08:41 AM on September 07

Seems to me if there is a positive and a negative result, then there are problems with the test itself. It would be like blowing a .10 on a breathalizer and then blowing a .01 on a second try. Something is not right some where.

posted by dbt302 at 08:43 AM on September 07

I would have to agree with Most_Voluble_Poster though. They prove that a test can be wrong, they know there are no perfect tests. If you have one positive and one negative then which one is right? If a false positive is possible then it is logical that a false negative could happen as well. If one sample test can be wrong the odds are there will be a time when both test wrong. In this day and age I think you have to try at least to catch those that cheat in this way but it seems maybe a better way of doing so is needed. I like the idea of having several labs do tests independent of each other, seems like that might cut down on the likelihood of mistakes. I think you need an odd number of tests though (at least 3) so you can have a better picture. as it stands now with one positive and one negative you don't know which one is wrong. Who knows maybe Landis did get screwed, the drugs they said he tested positive for were not drugs that would have enhanced his performance much, there were many choices of drug that would have been harder to detect and been more effective for what he was doing.

posted by T.C. at 08:47 AM on September 07

No - I've looked into it a little bit this morning, and with the fact that Victor Conte might as well be her nutritionist, CJ Hunter (ex-husband) saying that he injected her with steriods in Australia (It's in "Game of Shadows"), and Tim Montgomery (ex-boyfriend) also a convicted cheater, I have to say that she's still a cheater - she just got away with it. The evidence may be circumstantial and testimonial, but it still makes more sense than her being clean.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:28 AM on September 07

Still not buying it. Her thigh muscles are bigger then Schwarzenegger's at his peak. She got away with the 2nd test. If it's accepted that a test can be wrong, then it's every bit as likely that her "B" test was wrong as much as her "A" test.

posted by commander cody at 09:32 AM on September 07

I doubt she is clean, too, but EPO is not something she has been accused of before, and would not account for her large thigh muscles.

posted by bperk at 10:09 AM on September 07

Guilty or not, two tests, two results. Something's screwy somewhere, and I'm guessing it's somewhere in the testing process or the chain or custody of the samples. On a side note, wouldn't you be as careful as possible when handling vials of somebody else's urine?

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:40 AM on September 07

I think I'm agreeing with T.C. on this. One test says yes and the other says no. I don't think she guilty or not guilty until after at least one more test. Though to tell the truth it still looks like she's guilty to me simply because of her muscle development. No human being of either gender or any race gets muscles like hers without chemical help. Just doesn't happen.

posted by commander cody at 12:38 PM on September 07

weedy, exactly.

posted by garfield at 12:43 PM on September 07

It's a damn shame where in this great country of ours, that pro athletes are basically guilty until proven innocent. Her thigh muscles are bigger then Schwarzenegger's commander cody, that's pretty much because she runs for a living. I mean, com'on now. I am not naive and can understand why people are being so cynical about this whole ordea, but the reality of it is that no every athlete is using steriods. I'm sure that they're using something, maybe creatine, no2, power booster but watch how eventually, those too will be illegal to use. Ephedrine has been used for years before that was banned but those that used them are considered called cheaters. All that I have to say is one name: Barry Lamar Bonds. A LEGEND in his own right but guilty until proven innocent., which is a damn shame!

posted by BornIcon at 01:00 PM on September 07

It's a damn shame where in this great country of ours, that pro athletes are basically guilty until proven innocent. Can we create a SpoFi FAQ for this? Point the first: what "great country of ours" are you talking about? Marion Jones competes internationally which puts her under the scrutiny of both WADA and USADA. Those are the authorities in this case, not some legal system. Which brings us to... Point the second: the catchphrase "innocent until proven guilty" has meaning with regard to the legal system of the United States. It does not necessarily have any meaning in regard to other authorities that have the power to regulate people, such as the various authorities that create and enforce regulations re: PEDs in sports. Indignation over the fact that athletes are not considered "innocent until proven guilty" WRT use of PEDs is inappropriate: no one ever said that the system worked that way. If you've worked up a head of steam over the fact that the system works this way (and always has), you really need to get over it. Point once and for all (I wish): since PED regulation first started, in a sense it has always been the case that athletes (not just "pro athletes") have been considered "guilty until proven innocent". Athletes are required to demonstrate their innocence in the form of clean tests. Miss a test, it's a violation. Fail to test clean, it's a violation. The reason for the positive test does not matter, intent does not matter: the presence of the drug in your system equals guilt. There are solid reasons for doing things this way. It does not equate to perfect justice, but then, neither does presumption of innocence. Rather than failing to think through the issues and insisting that "innocent until proven guilty" is the way to go, the best way to deal with problems of the current system is to deal with its abuses and its deviations from original purpose (athlete welfare, let's remember). And someone, please, take Dick Pound out behind the barn and beat him with a sock of fresh horse manure.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:06 PM on September 07

No human being of either gender or any race gets muscles like hers without chemical help. Just doesn't happen. Commander Cody, you have any scientific evidence of that? Do you have first hand experience with the training regimens of world class sprinters?

posted by tron7 at 02:08 PM on September 07

No tron7, I have eyes.

posted by commander cody at 02:18 PM on September 07

Really. And how many scientific studies of athletes have those all-knowing eyes of yours read to come up with this conclusion? Two things. One: Steroids don't make you big. They help you recover from strenuous workouts better so you can work out more. That's how steroids work. They're not some kind of air pump you plug into your belly button to blow your muscles up like a carnival ride or something. If Marion Jones has large legs, whatever happened, she didn't buy them at Sharper Image or something. She had a natural skill which she then had to augment by training and eating right and staying disciplined and working hard to get them, just like Ken Jennings had to exercise his brain to win big on Jeopardy!, or Paris Hilton had to exercise her [DELETED] by [DELETED]ing her [DELETED]. A lot. Those kind of skills don't show up overnight. You still have to earn them. Two. It's a damn shame where in this great country of ours, that pro athletes are basically guilty until proven innocent. Miz Bat is right; the rules of a sport are one thing, the laws of the land are a completely unrelated thing. When people mix them up, it really, really pisses me off. And I second her motion to add something to the Guidelines about SpoFi being a website that serves people all over the world, not just one country.

posted by chicobangs at 02:34 PM on September 07

As I said, I don't need a scientific study because I can see. Her thighs are bizarrely, unnaturally, grotesquely, in-humanly large. I mean I don't have a scientific study showing that Leonardo DiCaprio is a crappy actor, but anyone with eyes and ears can tell it. I don't need a scientific study or even to know how to play a piano to be able to tell when someone is slaughtering a Mozart piece either, because I have ears. It's like asking for a scientific study proving the Sun exists when it's obvious.

posted by commander cody at 03:19 PM on September 07

It's like asking for a scientific study proving the Sun exists when it's obvious. A good comparison, though not by way of intent. You can look at the sun and say it exists, yes. You can't say why, or how, just by looking at it. You can look at her thighs and say yes they exists, and yes they are big. You can't say why, or how, just by looking at them.

posted by justgary at 03:41 PM on September 07

Well I sort of still disagree Gary, since her thighs are not just large, they're really really large. Much larger then one would expect to see on a normal person, even one who is an athlete. It's like when Giambi did the deodorant commercials. I didn't need a study to tell me he was using something because his shoulders and biceps were so big as to be cartoonishly large. Imho so are Jones' thighs. They're cartoonishly big.

posted by commander cody at 03:54 PM on September 07

Much larger then one would expect to see on a normal person, even one who is an athlete. So expectations and the commander's idea of 'normal' determine PED abuse. What do you expect athletes to look like, the bambino?

posted by tron7 at 04:06 PM on September 07

...Much larger then one would expect to see on a normal person, even one who is an athlete. Who's this "one" person? No one else in this thread is comparing Marion Jones to "a normal person," or even "an athlete." Shit, I'm an athlete. Compare her to other Olympic sprinters. I bet her legs aren't the biggest in her sport, not by a long shot, and anyway, so what if they were? That's not how they measure races. That's what the stopwatches are for. Unlike Di Caprio's acting ability or the given quality of a particular artist, you can actually quantify Marion Jones' work, as well as her size (as if that proves anything; if you don't have muscular legs, you don't go into running in the first place, so that's kind of a chicken-and-egg argument.) Track is about speed and timing first, and strength and stamina second. Pretty much every sprinter, male or female, has large leg muscles, and have since long before steroids were even invented. Some people just got big legs. Earl Campbell had the biggest legs I've ever seen, and he was real good, but he's not the greatest rusher in NFL history. (Now there was someone who could have used some steroids. They might have helped him heal from his chronic injuries better, and kept him from becoming the vitual cripple he is now.) How do you possibly quantify Leonardo DiCaprio being a shitty actor? (Sure, he hasn't won any Oscars yet, but then again, neither did Hitchcock.) Your eyes may see a chick with overdeveloped hamstrings, but given your astonishing leaps in logic in this thread, frankly, I don't trust the conclusions you're drawing from that information once you take it in.

posted by chicobangs at 04:08 PM on September 07

You can look at her thighs and say yes they exists, and yes they are big. You can't say why, or how, just by looking at them. ohhhh.....I feel like someone is going to start busting out some a priori knowledge coupled with some synthetic statements and we'll be proving roid use Kant style. Who would have though empiricism would come up in a steroid debate?

posted by HATER 187 at 04:12 PM on September 07

Have you ever seen a speed skater's thighs? Haver you ever been to a Turkish prison?

posted by garfield at 04:20 PM on September 07

Pretty much every sprinter, male or female, has large leg muscles, and have since long before steroids were even invented. Some people just got big legs. Not only that, but some people just build muscle easier than others.

posted by bperk at 04:23 PM on September 07

I'm the "one" person who's opinion I rely on and that works good enough for me. After all this is a blog, not a court of law (as has been pointed out several times) and I don't have to provide backup evidence. I still say her thighs are as cartoonishly large as Popeye's forearms. As for DiCaprio anyone who has seen good acting can tell crappy acting. I don't care if he won 10 Academy Awards as that would only prove to me that they've finally gone completely out of their minds (after all they gave Crash, Best Picture! Ye Gods!). Calling him an actor at all is the same as calling Pauly Shore an actor. While technically correct neither one is a Bogart, Burton or even a Hanks. Haver you ever been to a Turkish prison? No, but I do like gladiator movies.

posted by commander cody at 04:24 PM on September 07

They're not some kind of air pump you plug into your belly button to blow your muscles up like a carnival ride or something. If Marion Jones has large legs, whatever happened, she didn't buy them at Sharper Image or something. She had a natural skill which she then had to augment by training and eating right and staying disciplined and working hard to get them, just like Ken Jennings had to exercise his brain to win big on Jeopardy!, or Paris Hilton had to exercise her [DELETED] by [DELETED]ing her [DELETED]. A lot. As God is my witness, I thought Paris Hilton used an air pump.

posted by BullpenPro at 04:28 PM on September 07

I have to admit, I have seen a grown man naked. But it was a long time ago, back in college. The trees were greener, the air was sweeter, the girls all wore skirts that showed off their legs. Gorgeous legs, thick and muscular like pistons, like marble, like pit bulls. Yes, that's it, the girls had legs like twin pit bulls, waving back & forth under their skirts, each with a running shoe stuck up their ass. That's exactly what it was like. I remember like it was yesterday. It was more like sometime last week. Good times.

posted by chicobangs at 04:29 PM on September 07

Now that's funny!

posted by commander cody at 04:30 PM on September 07

I bring zero level of expertise to this party, but it seems to me that the likelihood of a false negative -- as suggested by some above -- would intuitively be close to zero. Presumably, the tests look for X (where X is the very bad PED) in the sample, and if they find it the test is positive. If the test thinks that Y (where Y is everything close to but NOT a PED) looks a lot like X, the test may return positive. But if the test can possibly examine a sample that has neither X nor Y and can still return a positive -- wow, that's a really bad test. It's like when you go to a party and you think you saw Bob Saget in a beard but it was really Kenny Loggins vs. you thought you saw Bob Saget in a beard but you were watching something funny.

posted by BullpenPro at 05:22 PM on September 07

I feel like someone is going to start busting out some a priori knowledge coupled with some synthetic statements and we'll be proving roid use Kant style Made the thread for me. Thanks.

posted by yerfatma at 06:21 PM on September 07

Folks, The test for EPO is unlike any other test that WADA uses, and very very different from the tests used for steroids. Remember that EPO is produced naturally in the body and the test therefore has to distinguish between natural and artificial. In the case of EPO this turns out to be very difficult. Superficially this may sound similar to Landis' case. However, the two CIR tests done on Landis' urine prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was artificial testosterone in there. (You are free to believe that this was due to tampering, of course.) A comparable test for EPO does not exist. As for Jones' case, it might have been a false positive on the A sample, or a false negative on the B sample. There's no way to know. In my opinion she's probably guilty, based on Conte's detailed allegations and her association with Hunter, Graham, and Montgomery. Commander cody, any conclusion based on the "evidence" that an athlete has freakish physical attributes counts for even less. What would you expect, exactly?

posted by Amateur at 06:52 PM on September 07

Further reading: US-nee-Kenyan runner Bernard Lagat also had a positive A and negative B for EPO. Erythropoietin

posted by Amateur at 07:10 PM on September 07

marion jones is a great athelete.she was a major contributor on a ncaa basketball championship team.she is a great runner.she's back in shape after having a baby,and the rest of the world can't take it.she has been clean and clear time and time again,but they still are trying to treat her like she is ben johnson.why is usada/wada-yada-yada-yada hell bent on destroying her career?I'm sure there are plenty of athletes doing dirty who can be caught if they get off of marions case.she's clean,she's clean,SHE IS CLEAN!lLET IT GO!!

posted by mars1 at 07:34 PM on September 07

MSSSSWSS There you go mars. Obviously you've run out of capital letters and spaces so feel free to have some of mine.

posted by commander cody at 08:05 PM on September 07

Commander cody, any conclusion based on the "evidence" that an athlete has freakish physical attributes counts for even less. What would you expect, exactly? I would expect anyone not using the wonders of modern chemistry not to have extremities that are bizarrely large enough to look freakish. Like I said earlier it's like Giambi. Anyone who saw him early in his career and then saw him doing that infamous deodorant commercial would naturally jump to the conclusion that his was putting something in his body that just ain't natural. It was like Popeye before and after the spinach. To me it's the same with Jones and not just her either. I think both of the Williams sisters are more masculine then Mr. America. When watching them play I fully expect to see them call for a break mid-match so they can go to the dressing room to run an electric razor over their beards so no one notices the stubble. While I suppose it's possible for that to be true naturally, it ain't too likely. They look like badly drawn super hero cartoons.

posted by commander cody at 12:25 AM on September 08

commander cody, your arguments made little sense to start with, and as you make up new ones, they're becoming only more trollish, openly sexist and insulting. When you answer the copious scientific arguments people are putting forth by calling Venus Williams a tranny, the conversation is pretty much over.

posted by chicobangs at 12:44 AM on September 08

I'm not making up arguments, as I go along or otherwise. I haven't seen much of any scientific arguments here. Also I did not call the Williams sisters trannies, I just said that they are suspiciously manish for females. Hardly sexist, trollish or insulting, just one mans opinion. And that's what I've been stating, opinions, not arguments as I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. After all opinions make the world and the blogs go 'round and that's what this is, a blog, not a debate team where one is expected to score points.

posted by commander cody at 01:07 AM on September 08

I haven't seen much of any scientific arguments here. Well, except for amateur's explanation of testing that is.

posted by commander cody at 01:14 AM on September 08

I would expect anyone not using the wonders of modern chemistry not to have extremities that are bizarrely large enough to look freakish. Line up the usual suspects: Marty Feldman, Julia McNamara, Angelina Jolie, Jay Leno, Jorge Posada, and Heed from "So I Married An Axe Murderer" (photo not available due to issues with The Hubble Telescope).

posted by BullpenPro at 01:24 AM on September 08

Feldman had a genetic deformity, though he sure used it to his advantage well. I have no idea who Julie McNamera is, but she's sort of cute! Jolie has collagen injections in the lips. Leno's jaw doesn't count as an extremity, well unless it grows a few more inches and gets some fingers or toes, which it might. I don't see anything wrong with Posada, except for his obvious excellent hearing ability. Handsome kid actually. Besides half the kids I went school with had ears that big. I myself have two different size ears, with the left one noticeably larger then the right. Sure I accept that there are natural exceptions to most rules, but that still doesn't, to me anyway, explain Giambi's Popeye sized arms, Jones' in-humanly large thighs or the Williams sisters having the build of the above average strength truck driver.

posted by commander cody at 01:47 AM on September 08

Well, commander, the thing I object to in your argument is... uh... if you turn to your right, you may be better able... ...there you go. As I said, the thing I object to is your accusation that Angie has collagen injections. Prove it. Better yet, bring her over to my house and I'll test them myself.

posted by BullpenPro at 02:16 AM on September 08

LOL! I heard it on Entertainment Tonight, but of course I don't think they did a "scientific study", so I guess I have to admit I have no proof. You win.

posted by commander cody at 02:31 AM on September 08

cc, elite sporting competition is not about the average vs the average, or even about the statistically probable vs the statistically probable. Marion Jones, the best female sprinter the world has ever seen -- in other words, one in several billion among humans -- has a body that looks like it was designed for athletics. Why would that be a surprise? I'm sorry, but that's not proof that anybody actually designed it. As I said before, I believe that she's guilty, but it's not because she runs too fast or because she's too big, too mannish, or too unusual to be "natural."

posted by Amateur at 07:46 AM on September 08

Hardly sexist, trollish or insulting, just one mans opinion. And that's what I've been stating, opinions, not arguments as I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. All well and good, but it wasn't that long ago, well within living memory, that "everyone" "knew" that women were not capable of running marathons. It was "known" to be physically impossible. Just flat-out could not be done. Marathons are not the only case in which what people "knew" about women's athletic capabilities proved to be Just Ain't So, but it's one of the starkest such examples, because it is so easily disproved: if some woman ran the distance, clearly the statement is false. Unfortunately, all too often, the reaction to this and other cases in which a "women can't" assertion was disproved is to label the woman who did it a freak of nature (or non-nature). This is how you are labeling Marion Jones, and whether you meant to use it in this way, you are using a tactic that has been used many times in an attempt to ridicule women out of full participation in sports. You, like all of us, have to deal with the burden of history. If you have a daughter, commander c, I hope that you will think about this, and reconsider your statement. Girls really don't need to hear their fathers saying "women can't".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:47 AM on September 08

And oh yeah, Venus Williams is a babe. So there.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:48 AM on September 08

CC, what about Margo Dydek of the Connecticut Sun? She's 7'2" tall. Is she surgically altered? Did her parents stretch her daily on a rack? Pump her meals full of HGH? Or is she just an exceptional specimen? I lean toward the last choice. I'm not saying that MJ is clean. I'd like to think so, but there are certainly questions. I just think that your assertion that she couldn't develop those thighs without modern chemistry is unfounded, and not well thought out. Are her thighs huge? Sure. Are they natural? Don't know. Could they be natural? Of course.

posted by ctal1999 at 09:35 AM on September 08

Good gravy. It's one thing to suggest that empirical eveidence is needed to assume guilt or innocence, but it's quite another to have one's head stuck in the sand. Jones is a steriod user. She was a customer of Balco and a key client of Victor Conte. He was sitting beside her and CJ Hunter at his press conference when he was caught. He admitted to doping her - actually sticking the needle in - during the Olympics in Australia. Conte admitted seeing her stick steriods into her massive thigh, himself. Kelly White stated that she knew Jones to be a user. Tim Montgomery is a user and another Balco client. At some point, you've got to admit that it's more likely that she used than not. If you're all just going to sit there and wait for infallable evidence from WADA, you're going to just sit there and wait. These athletes have perfected the art of denial, shifting blame and avoiding positive tests. Not to mention the fact that they are covered for by USA Track and Field. Jones simply got away with it. I fail to see how anyone with a shred of rationality can come to any other conclusion.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:51 AM on September 08

If you're all just going to sit there and wait for infallable evidence from WADA Weedy, for the most part, people in this thread have been rather careful to separate the issues of Jones' guilt or innocence, questions of USADA (not WADA in this case) procedure, and opinions about how big a woman's muscles can be "naturally".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:06 AM on September 08

Well said, l_b_b. Most of us have made no assertion that she's clean, just that it's POSSIBLE that she is. She may well be guilty, but it's not a certainty. How often do we hear about somebody who's been in prison for years (or zapped in the chair!), only to find that they were wrongly convicted. In virtually every one of those cases, there was evidence (probably circumsantial for the most part) and eyewitness testimony (in fewer cases perhaps, but still a preponderence), and the indicators turned out to be wrong! The witnesses were mistaken, or lying. The evidence was flawed or coincidental, and painted a damning, but incorrect picture. All we're saying is that her detractors might be wrong, even if things don't look good for her.

posted by ctal1999 at 10:24 AM on September 08

l_b_b. No where in my opinions did I ever say anything about women not being able to compete. I never said women "can't" do anything, so I have no idea where you're coming from. All I said was that in my opinion Jones looks like she has had chemical help because her thighs appear, to me, to be larger then normal. That is hardly a condemnation of women in athletics. I also said that, again in my opinion, the Williams sisters appear, to me, to have also had some chemical help. That is also not a condemnation of women tennis players, but rather an observation. Again, I did not, at anytime, condemn women in athletics, only stated an opinion about some athletes who happen to be women. I also said the same thing about Giambi and while I have no scienctific evidence and can not state that I have absolute proof of it, I suspect Giambi is a male. Just don't ask me to prove it. Since it's just my opinion. I'm sorry, but that's not proof that anybody actually designed it. I am not trying to prove anything. I am not submitting evidence to a jury or judge. This is not a court of law. One does not have to prove ones own opinion. I am also not submitting arguments as I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. This is not a debating society.

posted by commander cody at 11:00 AM on September 08

Oh and Venus Williams is not a babe. Though I can't prove it.

posted by commander cody at 11:01 AM on September 08

I just think that your assertion that she couldn't develop those thighs without modern chemistry is unfounded, and not well thought out. Are her thighs huge? Sure. Are they natural? Don't know. Could they be natural? Of course. And I am not trying to say anyone of a different opinion is wrong ctal, I just happen to disagree. I said earlier in the thread that yes I accept that there are exceptions to the norm (or rule) and that it is possible that her legs are natural, but that I just don't think so in Jones' case. I can't prove it, I just IMHO don't think so.

posted by commander cody at 11:08 AM on September 08

Okay - my bad. (Did I just write that? Are the kids still saying that?) However, CC has a point - PEDs provide the avenues for more frequent training, the noticeable effect of more frequent training is larger muscles, not to mention unintended growth in other areas - bones, tissues and the like (see Barry Bonds' head). Extra large thighs may not be the end all and be all of evidence to abuse, but since we all agree that she's likely an abuser, doesn't that make them evidentiary? This seems like basic common sense to me. Common sense can apply here, guys. In fact - with all the PR posturing and double speak coming from the parties in question, it's actually a pretty good tool. I agree with you ctal - let's look at this from the perspective of a murder trial. We have eye witness testimony that she cheated, and we have her suppliers and closest associates admitting she cheated. The weight of evidence is pretty good. We don't have a positive sample. This is true. So she isn't going to get the chair and she can compete. And without writing a four page diatribe on the preponderance of evidence, testimonials and motivations of every one in this sordid tale I will simply say that she most assuredly is a cheater. And the obviousness of that truth is what is important in these cases.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:28 AM on September 08

Any kind of muscle you can build with steroids you can build without; it's just much, much, much harder to do so. You cannot tell that a person is (or isn't) a steroid user by looking at them. Human beings would sometimes be better off without eyes, because they make things that look different seem more important than they really are. And DiCaprio is a good actor; see This Boy's Life. Not that he hasn't had some bad performances, such as that awful Iron Mask movie. As far as Jones goes, I see no reason whatsoever to believe she used EPO. On the other hand, she, like the overwhelming majorty of top athletes, has almost certainly used performance enhancing drugs.

posted by spira at 11:51 AM on September 08

l_b_b. No where in my opinions did I ever say anything about women not being able to compete. I never said women "can't" do anything, so I have no idea where you're coming from. I thought my communication was quite clear, but I'll give it another try. I was explaining some history to you of which you may not be aware. From my earlier post, and sorry for the length, but the context is important: Marathons are not the only case in which what people "knew" about women's athletic capabilities proved to be Just Ain't So, but it's one of the starkest such examples, because it is so easily disproved: if some woman ran the distance, clearly the statement is false. Unfortunately, all too often, the reaction to this and other cases in which a "women can't" assertion was disproved is to label the woman who did it a freak of nature (or non-nature). This is how you are labeling Marion Jones, and whether you meant to use it in this way, you are using a tactic that has been used many times in an attempt to ridicule women out of full participation in sports. You, like all of us, have to deal with the burden of history. I did not say that you said that women couldn't compete. I said that statements such as yours have a lot of historical baggage, and are historically associated with people who didn't want women to compete. I would further say that while your motives are different, your reasoning is the same as theirs: this fits outside my notion of what is and what should be, therefore I will label it as freakish rather than consider that I may just be missing some of what's out there. When you combine a natural ectomorph with an intense dedication to training and nutrition, you get something that you're not likely to see just walking through the mall. Outside the normal range? Sure. Freakish? That depends on how narrow your view is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:24 PM on September 08

No l_b_b, I understood the point you were trying to make, but I still don't see how it relates to my opinion in any way. I am not labeling Jones as a freak of nature because she is a very athletic woman, I am labeling her a freak of modern chemistry because she huge bizarrely large thighs for a human being. To me her gender is mostly irrelevant, beyond the fact that most females do tend to be smaller then most males, which is why I disagree with you that I have to bear some sort of historical baggage. My opinion of her has nothing to with her being a female, because I also mentioned Giambi, who I also believe, imho, is a freak of modern chemistry and is male (I think).

posted by commander cody at 12:48 PM on September 08

As far as Jones goes, I see no reason whatsoever to believe she used EPO. Well, Victor Conte said she did, once. The standard BALCO regime for athletics included "the Clear" (a.k.a. THG), Human Growth Hormone, Insulin, and EPO. The benefit from EPO in this case can be debated. Now, granted, Victor Conte is not necessarily the paragon of virtue, and I don't believe a lot of what he says. And Jones' positive test at this time may have been a false positive. But I think we have to count this as evidence.

posted by Amateur at 01:17 PM on September 08

Weedy: However, CC has a point - Extra large thighs may not be the end all and be all of evidence to abuse, but since we all agree that she's likely an abuser, doesn't that make them evidentiary? I think this is about as "evidentiary" as "the eyewitness saw a black man hold up the liquor store, and you're a black man." Really, every single one of the world's best sprinters (not to mention track cyclists, speed skaters, and weightlifters) has enormous thighs. A fact is evidentiary only as far as it helps us discriminate between the guilty and the innocent. And even though I agree with you and CC that Jones is probably a PED user, I still think it's worth arguing this point. You think it's OK to use Jones' thighs as evidence against her because we have lots of other evidence against her. So what about the Williams sisters? CC has now extended his opinion to cover them, too. Is their physical appearance also "evidentiary," in your opinion? I have never seen a shred of credible evidence implicating either player. I won't sit by and watch that kind of "common sense" reasoning without saying something.

posted by Amateur at 01:33 PM on September 08

No - I don't think the Williams sisters are users, primarily because there is nothing that I've read or seen to support that position. Plus, they don't strike me as overly muscular by the standards of Jones. I do find physical evidence to be telling however, I mean - look at Jones' jaw moreso than her thighs (which, admittedly would be big from all that there sprintin'). That's a heavyweight jaw. She could chew bullets. I really think that suggesting that we're scraping for evidence in the same way as the example you cite (black man robbing liquor store) is more than a little erroneous. It's more like "I saw a man robbing a liquor store - and you're a man, holding a gun with a bag of money in the car." It is because of the weight of other evidence that puts her particular - repeat particular - musculature into question. This includes her massive thighs (which are large, even for a sprinter). That's the rub. Some of this strikes me as pretty obvious. I'm all for benefit of the doubt, but let's not collectively be played the fool for the sake of a misguided application of the idea of rule of law.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:08 PM on September 08

What I don't understand is why there is any need to argue about this one way or another. The fact that I hold the opinion that Jones has probably used chemical means to enhance her performance and that I think the Williams sisters are more mannish then feminine does not mean that I am saying people who feel otherwise are wrong or should feel any more of a need to change me over to their view then I feel to get them to change their minds to mine. We are talking opinions here, not points of law. I'm not attempting to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, just giving my feeling about it. If I said that I think the sky is more blue today then it was yesterday and someone else thinks it's actually less blue that doesn't mean either of us has to prove the other wrong. I suppose we could go online somewhere and come up with one true answer, but what would be the point? Besides the only thing that would happen then is that someone else here would find a website that proves the sky is not ever actually blue but that it just looks like it. At what point does it stop being expressing opinions and start to become a wasteful (and really boring) exercise in nit-picking?

posted by commander cody at 04:15 PM on September 08

At what point does it stop being expressing opinions and start to become a wasteful (and really boring) exercise in nit-picking? But what is the point of having a forum to discuss your opinions if you're not going to give others the opportunity to illustrate how your opinion may be structurally flawed? Do we come to SportsFilter just to shout our opinions with no expectation of generating any reaction whatsoever? Are we all just pointlessly shouting out into the e-ther? Does anyone's opinion ever actually mean anything? Man. This thread is sucking my will to live. I'm gonna go call my mom. Tell her I love her.

posted by BullpenPro at 04:41 PM on September 08

commander cody, I have no interest in changing your opinion "that Jones has probably used chemical means to enhance her performance and that I think the Williams sisters are more mannish then feminine", because it's quite clear that you're set in that opinion, and you know what they say about leading a horse to water. I do have an interest in pointing out the hostorical baggage in calling a female athlete "more mannish than feminine". You're using loaded terms; don't squawk if they blow up on you.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:55 PM on September 08

If I said that I think the sky is more blue today then it was yesterday and someone else thinks it's actually less blue that doesn't mean either of us has to prove the other wrong. You didn't express simply an opinion, cc. You said: No human being of either gender or any race gets muscles like hers without chemical help. Just doesn't happen.

posted by bperk at 04:56 PM on September 08

And is our universe actually just an atom in the fingertip of a larger creature!?! Of course people can question each others opinions and I have never had any problem with other people disagreeing with me. What bothers me is when people expect me to prove my opinions. To mean opinions are nothing something that lend themselves to being proved or dis-proved. In my opinion I think green is a nicer color the orange, but I can't prove that it is, I just think so. If someone wants to say their opinion is different then mine that's fine, but since it's an opinion that means that they are no more right or wrong then me and I'm no more right or wrong then them. Tell your mom I said "Hi", cause it reminds me that I should give mine a ring this weekend.

posted by commander cody at 04:58 PM on September 08

But bperk that is an opinion. In my opinion no one gets muscles like that without chemical help.

posted by commander cody at 04:58 PM on September 08

l_b_b the fact that I think that about them doesn't make me wrong, it just means that's what I think. It also doesn't make me some sort of sexist who has to answer for other previous people's historical chauvinism. Just because other people have used the same opinion as I have in the past to justify their sexism is just a coincidence and doesn't blow anything up on me.

posted by commander cody at 05:02 PM on September 08

l_b_b the fact that I think that about them doesn't make me wrong cc, you keep tossing out this strawman. I wish you'd listen to what people are saying to you. Despite your complaints, no one has asked you to "prove your opinion", although some have challenged things that you have stated in a way that implies that they're facts (see bperk's example above). I never said you are "some sort of sexist". For the fourth and last time, you are using terms that sexists have used to keep women out of sports. You seemed unaware of that; well, now you know. If you were to choose to continue using those terms in that way, then I think perhaps that might say something about your attitudes.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:15 PM on September 08

To slightly change the subject, I think that this turn of events should help to quiet conspiracy theories that anti-doping authorities are out to get American superstars. I would guess that there is no female athlete in the world that WADA wanted more than Marion Jones. Hopefully this will raise public awareness about the urinary test for EPO and how crappy it is.

posted by Amateur at 09:31 PM on September 08

But I didn't use them as a sexist. I consider myself to be a supporters of women's rights and have been for more then 30 years. The reason is that I happen to believe in many of the things the women's movement believes in like equal pay, the right to choose, etc. That said I'm certainly not going to change my opinion about a certain athlete just because she happens to be a woman and because it might offend the party line of feminism. That would be as morally dishonest as if I did condemn a particular athlete just because she is a women. The athlete that I believe has monstrous freakishly large thighs just happens to be a woman, but I would believe the same thing if it was a man. It does stand out a bit more because of the fact that most women are physically smaller then most men, but beyond that her gender is a non-issue to me. As I said just because some men in the past have used the same reason to put down women athletes in the past, does not mean that is how I am using it or that I should be condemned for using the same words. It's the difference in intent that is important and it's hardly fair to chastise me because of the actions of some men in the past, in fact it's downright sexist. No strawman here l_b_b. Commander Cody, you have any scientific evidence of that? tron7 And how many scientific studies of athletes have those all-knowing eyes of yours read to come up with this conclusion? chico Commander cody, any conclusion based on the "evidence" that an athlete has freakish physical attributes counts for even less. amateur I'm sorry, but that's not proof that anybody actually designed it. amateur again Not asked to prove my opinions?

posted by commander cody at 09:36 PM on September 08

For the fourth and last time, you are using terms that sexists have used to keep women out of sports. You seemed unaware of that; well, now you know. I'm slow, that's been obvious for some time, but can you list those terms? I don't see them. I really don't see her thighs to be that outlandish. I mean, she's a world class athlete who's legs are her weapons. Looks like she's trained them well. Espn, just came on the tube and told me that the possibilty of the second test being erroneous was extremely "minute." And, yes, they mentioned EPO testing specifically. And, yes, I trust them unconditionally. I really don't know if she found herself surrounded by cheaters and tried to seperate herself from them, or if she was the problem all along.

posted by tselson at 11:18 PM on September 08

After all this is a blog, not a court of law (as has been pointed out several times) and I don't have to provide backup evidence. I still say her thighs are as cartoonishly large as Popeye's forearms. posted by commander cody that's what this is, a blog, not a debate team where one is expected to score points. posted by commander cody At what point does it stop being expressing opinions and start to become a wasteful (and really boring) exercise in nit-picking? posted by commander cody What bothers me is when people expect me to prove my opinions. posted by commander cody Sportsfilter is a blog with a community. What you seem to dislike is exactly why I enjoy sportsfilter. On a personal blog you can say "marion jones uses steroids because she looks like she does" and unless you enable comments your opinion goes unchallenged. I can go to a red sox message board and say "ortiz is the easy choice for mvp" and it'll fly uncontested. That doesn't happen here. Grum, or bullpenpro, or someone else would show up with stats to prove me wrong. Now, hopefully, I can back up my claim. If all I've got is "he just is" I might as well back out of the thread. Having your opinion is fine, and if the look of her thighs is good enough for you, that's great. But don't post it here and then not expect people to call you on it. And if you do, it's probably best to say it and back away, since that's all you have. You don't have to prove anything, but people expect members here to back up their claims. Hence the guideline "SportsFilter is not the site for stream of thought garbage and unsupportable conjecture". I've seen new members join, leave unsupported claims, and when challenged, leave just as fast. That's kind of sad, but kind of cool also. There's plenty of places for them to join and go unchallenged. Sportsfilter isn't one of them. Comments that are of the nature of 'bonds has a huge head so he's using steroids' have never gone over well on sportsfilter, and hopefully, never will. And no, I'm not comparing you to that type poster. I just think this is one case where you have an opinion that really doesn't fly anywhere except in your personal view, and this isn't a personal site. It's a community. So you gotta deal with everyone taking a critical look at your opinon. You don't have to prove anything, nor answer to them, but when your opinion is basically 'I don't believe the test because she has huge thighs and looks like a man' you've got to expect it. I'm not sure why you're shocked. Jolie has collagen injections in the lips. Off topic, sure, they're abnormally huge, so some people say she had injections simply because of that reason. But I've never heard any real proof. I've seen pictures of her as a child, and even in this not very good photo, her lips are huge. Seems more logical than 'she has big lips so she must have had injections'.

posted by justgary at 01:51 AM on September 09

So, no opinions, just stats? OK.

posted by commander cody at 02:04 AM on September 09

So, no opinions, just stats? OK. Not at all what I said. Most of sportsfilter is opinion. Informed (backed up) opinions go over better. I'm not exactly sure how you can disagree with that. You're welcome to your opinon. I'm just trying to help you understand why you got so much flack for it. If you want to re-act to everything I wrote with a sarcastic one liner, that's your choice, and I guess I wasted my time.

posted by justgary at 02:45 AM on September 09

What matters isn't the result so much as the effort, gary.

posted by yerfatma at 09:20 AM on September 09

This includes her massive thighs (which are large, even for a sprinter). That's the rub. Massive Thigh Rub. Totally the name for my new band. "Holiday in Cambodia" in 3...2...1...

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:30 AM on September 09

Aw, Totally missed that. I feel shame.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:40 AM on September 09

What matters isn't the result so much as the effort, gary. On my tombstone.

posted by justgary at 11:59 AM on September 09

I just want to know, what's wrong with massive thighs?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:43 PM on September 09

Cleopatra's Grasp.

posted by yerfatma at 08:53 AM on September 10

Cleopatra's Grasp. Not bug. Feature.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:52 PM on September 10

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