December 21, 2010
Recently I came across an exchange between cycling writer Shane Stokes and former doper Joe Papp on twitter. The conversation was to do with the possibility of declaring an amnesty on doping in cycling. An amnesty such as this, which has been suggested before, involves choosing a day in the calendar, deciding that anybody who doped, or had been involved in doping, before this day can admit it and be exonerated, but anyone caught from this day on will be banned for life, or handed some other severe punishment, in order to finally move on from cycling’s sinister past. The counter-argument is that exonerating former dopers and ‘moving on’ may put a stop to investigations into doping rings that may have been organised in the past, but a full pardon for everyone involved doesn’t weed the bad guys out. The drug suppliers, the drug administers and the drug takers will all remain in the sport, as a result of which, all the ingredients will remain for further doping scandals to envelop cycling. As Shane Stokes said ‘as long as they still have power and influence. They need to be removed from cycling, not pardoned’. Declaring an amnesty merely papers over cracks.