Has Phil Liggett lost it?

by _SiD_   September 25, 2012  

He's the voice of cycling, we all grew up with him blah blah blah.

But there's a stage when admiration becomes blind devotion and eventually, as seems to be the case, where he's morphed into a cult devotee?

Surely there's a point when he has to realise he's a journalist first, that's why he has a platform and a fan/admirer/friend second. He's always been on the quiet side of silent when it comes to voicing an opinion on drug use, but surely he's doing no one any favours (least of all himself) with this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJz4kwm9mXc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

27 user comments

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Oh the irony - 'Previously, on Ballz'

If lance were racing today, what's the betting Phil would get his name wrong?

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [412 posts]
25th September 2012 - 14:44

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He is blind to the truth, just like mysogynist snapper Graham Watson. Both have made so much money out of Lance The Liar that they can't cope with reality.

Liggett's apparent senility was discussed here before the Olympics.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1965 posts]
25th September 2012 - 15:22

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He is a loon and I bet he is gutted Vino has retired Olympic Champion because he cant shout that out any more. Mind you if he is still commentating next year it will be "Here is Sammy Sanchez, Ex Olympic Champion"

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
25th September 2012 - 16:56

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What has he said thats wrong in this interview??

I can't wait for the UCI and other agencies to get the full facts and rule on it. Bored of speculation

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8859 posts]
25th September 2012 - 17:34

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Gkam84 wrote:
What has he said thats wrong in this interview??

Are you serious? The whole thing is a piece of hearsay. The story he recounts is so ridiculous as to be self-evidently untrue. He claims to be able to prove his allegations, but only in South Africa (?), yet doesn't. (Of course he could just be saying that he could prove he met a chap in Colorado, although why he could only prove this in SA...) I do not know how anyone, even the most devoted fan, could witness this intervew and still believe Lance Armstrong to be innocent.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th September 2012 - 18:24

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Liggett has commercial interests with Armstrong - as, for that matter, does Paul Sherwen (Armstrong is a shareholder in one of Sherwen's African mining companies) - so anything he says must be put in that context. He states near the top of the interview, for example, that Novitsky's US federal investigation finished in February because he found no evidence of doping, which is not the case; Novitsky apparently found no evidence of fraud, which is what the investigation was launched for (though the case may be resumed if the drug distribution stories prove to be correct, which may well cause Armstrong a whole lot more trouble than the mere losing of his titles). Liggett is a confused, fact-light commentator and fact-light witness where Armstrong is concerned.

@Gkam - you a shareholder in Livestrong as well? What has Liggett said that's wrong? Really? And what 'agencies' are you talking about? I know from another thread that you trust the UCI implicitly for some reason, but USADA (the anti-doping authority in the country from where Armstrong was licensed to race throughout his life) have already had the facts and ruled on them. These were the facts that Armstrong, with millions at his disposal to fight against, didn't dispute. Hence, USADA have banned him for life and withdrawn recognition of his TdF titles.

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
25th September 2012 - 18:58

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Are you talking about this part?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJz4kwm9mXc&feature=player_detailpage#t=762s

Where does he say he can only prove it in South Africa??

On the interview as a whole. I think Phil is just airing what we all are saying.

Who are the witnesses? What deal are they getting? Why is it being chased now?

I also liked how he commented on the statute limitation. Because the limitation is normal 8 years within WADA's rules.

Quote:
Tygart said USADA is fully entitled to act beyond the eight-year statute of limitations normally applicable within the framework of the World Anti-Doping Code.

“This right no longer exists once the prosecution manages to prove that the athlete who cheated influenced the witnesses who could have proved his guilt during these years,” Tygart said. “We are certain that this happened (with Armstrong) and we will explain this to the UCI when we give them the file.”

SO not only have they got witnesses to the drug use/dealing but now they also have witnesses who were "influenced" to keep quiet about it......

My guess is they have now been "influenced" to speak out about it.

As for your assumption Rumpo that I still believe Armstrong to be innocent. I've never said that. I will wait until all the facts are out before making any judgement and not jump on the band-wagon that you and others have.

Unless you have read all the evidence against him as held by USADA. How can you make an honest judgement as to his guilt?

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Yes, he's been "found" guilty by USADA because he refused to fight it anymore, in my eyes, that doesn't make him guilty. I'll wait until all the facts are out in the open.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8859 posts]
25th September 2012 - 19:17

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I lost all respect when Liggett wrote in Cycling Plus* a defense of Landis shortly after his tour 'win' strongly pointing to some sort of anti US conspiracy.

Interestingly David Millar tweeted on this that Liggett has for him "never been the voice of cycling".

*not sure who was the editor then Thinking Smile

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
25th September 2012 - 20:22

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Yes he said he could prove it in SA. But didn't say ONLY in SA. Considering the show is broadcast in SA. I think that's a fair comment.

If it was a UK show, He might have said that he can prove it in the UK.

But maybe the fact he's going to SA soon with Robbie McEwen, David Millar and Pat McQuaid. He meant he can prove it while he's over there?

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8859 posts]
25th September 2012 - 21:16

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Gkam84 wrote:
Are you talking about this part?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJz4kwm9mXc&feature=player_detailpage#t=762s

Where does he say he can only prove it in South Africa??


From the Ballz interview:-
"Now I can tell you one thing, and I could prove it in SA but I...I met a chap who worked with Armstrong on Saturday in Boulder Colorado. And he told me that he had a visit, two years ago to tell... and the question was, they were agents from a particular agency and they said "Will you tell us that Lance Armstrong took EPO? And we could assure that you will never want for money again"...

Also ,if you reread my post, I did not say that you thought Lance Armstrong was innocent. But the very notion that a person is innocent until proved guilty is false. A person is PRESUMED innocent until proven guilty. Whether you still extend that presumpton to people who refuse to face the charges laid against them is stretching it a bit.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th September 2012 - 21:19

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Don't you think he would have just said "I can prove it"?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th September 2012 - 23:45

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And why hasn't he? This interview was given over four weeks ago. These allegations, IF TRUE, would blow USADA's case against USPS to pieces.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th September 2012 - 23:48

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"Yes, he's been "found" guilty by USADA because he refused to fight it anymore, in my eyes, that doesn't make him guilty. I'll wait until all the facts are out in the open."

Just factually incorrect, Gkam. USADA put the case against him to him and invited him to respond, which is how it works. First he attempted to have it thrown out for lack of competence to bring the case. This was itself thrown out by the local court. Then he refused to engage. So USADA enforced the ban. Now, this is USADA right, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the competent anti-doping authority? This is what they do. And I'm sorry to break it to you, but their views are a little bit more relevant than yours.

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
26th September 2012 - 13:50

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Gkam84 wrote:

Who are the witnesses? What deal are they getting? Why is it being chased now?
......

SO not only have they got witnesses to the drug use/dealing but now they also have witnesses who were "influenced" to keep quiet about it......

My guess is they have now been "influenced" to speak out about it.

SO MANY athletes who have doped and later professed their guilt have talked about the strain of living a lie, and of how much better it feels, psychologically, to tell the truth. And pretty much every one of those who have talked openly about it say how they don't want others to have to make the same choices they felt they were forced into - and the only way that's going to happen is to get everything out in the open, explain the pressures and the reasons for doping.

You talk about the influence to speak out? It comes from their love of the sport, from a human's basic need to be honest, and from the gathering momentum that comes from the omerta gradually being eroded away.

posted by bashthebox [644 posts]
26th September 2012 - 14:40

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drheaton wrote:

Wow, is that what life is like in the land of the Unicorns and golden rainbows? Llandis and Hamilton only ever came clean because they got caught and had no other option. If they hadn't been forced into a corner they never would have confessed. That's the truth of it, there was no altruistic motive involved, it was pure, selfish, self-preservation. Also, by coming clean, both have scored book deals and profitted yet more from their cheating. Love of cycling and their basic need for honesty didn't stop them from vehemently denying their doping until they had no other option.

GKam is specifically talking about people being coerced into giving a certain version of events. Likewise he's talking about current pro's being offered deals in order to secure their testimony or being threatened with bans if they withold it.

I'm no lawyer but those kind of tactics sound borderline witness intimidation.

Ha, yes perhaps I didn't phrase myself appropriately there. Yes they were caught, and yes that makes it a lot easier to come clean about everything afterwards. Also, unicorns are lovely.

Being coerced into giving a certain version of events though? I'm really not sure there's any need. Those pros and ex pros who have talked about the doping describe things which are almost beyond belief. The pressure is on the riders from the very structure of the sport to do everything and anything in order to win.... quite apart from the health risks involved in steroids, HGH, EPO and all, there's a staggering amount of failed blood transfusions too. Which is horrific.
Yes, they had the choice not to dope, but then they'd have been blown away by the dopers. You cheat, you at least have a chance of winning the race - and there's always the possibility you wouldn't get caught.

To change the sport, the ONLY way is to destroy the omerta, to get EVERYONE talking openly about it all, to see all the evidence from all sides. One almost wonders if the reason USADA are taking so long to release the evidence is because they want to bring down the staggeringly corrupt UCI at the same time.

posted by bashthebox [644 posts]
26th September 2012 - 16:00

1 Like

bashthebox wrote:
You talk about the influence to speak out? It comes from their love of the sport, from a human's basic need to be honest, and from the gathering momentum that comes from the omerta gradually being eroded away.

Llandis and Hamilton only ever came clean because they got caught and had no other option. If they hadn't been forced into a corner they never would have confessed. That's the truth of it, there was no altruistic motive involved, it was pure, selfish, self-preservation. Also, by coming clean, both have scored book deals and profitted yet more from their cheating. Love of cycling and their basic need for honesty didn't stop them from vehemently denying their doping until they had no other option.

GKam is specifically talking about people being coerced into giving a certain version of events. Likewise he's talking about current pro's being offered deals in order to secure their testimony or being threatened with bans if they withold it.

I'm no lawyer but those kind of tactics sound borderline witness intimidation.

Again, I'm not defending Armstrong and I certainly think he's probably guilty but I would quite like to read through the evidence and testimony before coming to a final judgement. The memories Armstrong gave me as a kid growing up watching him ride down grass verges and pick himself up off the tarmac after tangling with a hat before smashing Ulrich to pieces deserve to be shattered by hard evidence, not the promise that USADA has hard evidence in a draw in a filing room somewhere.

dullard wrote:
Now, this is USADA right, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the competent anti-doping authority? This is what they do. And I'm sorry to break it to you, but their views are a little bit more relevant than yours.

Is that why the court that threw out Armstrong's case also severly criticised USADA and their actions?

Dullard and Rumpo, are you jumping up and down so hard on this bandwagon because for so long you protested that Armstrong was innocent or will you try and claim you 'always knew he was doped up'?

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
26th September 2012 - 16:01

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Also, the Armstrong case that was thrown out of court was a fraud case. The evidence gathered by that case has now been used to get him for doping.

posted by bashthebox [644 posts]
26th September 2012 - 16:02

1 Like

bashthebox wrote:
Being coerced into giving a certain version of events though? I'm really not sure there's any need. Those pros and ex pros who have talked about the doping describe things which are almost beyond belief.

Like you said, they get into the habit of lying and they need a serious push to come clean, I doubt Vaughter, Leipheimer, Vande Valde, Zabriskie et al would have come clean without having a good reason, reduced bans or favourable treatment would have sweetened the deal enough for them to testify knowing they weren't going to be punished too harshly.

I don't know anything, and haven't read anything about other cases where USADA might have tried to 'persuad' people to testify against Lance, I was just picking up on GKam's comment above.

bashthebox wrote:
The pressure is on the riders from the very structure of the sport to do everything and anything in order to win.... quite apart from the health risks involved in steroids, HGH, EPO and all, there's a staggering amount of failed blood transfusions too. Which is horrific.
Yes, they had the choice not to dope, but then they'd have been blown away by the dopers. You cheat, you at least have a chance of winning the race - and there's always the possibility you wouldn't get caught.

To change the sport, the ONLY way is to destroy the omerta, to get EVERYONE talking openly about it all, to see all the evidence from all sides. One almost wonders if the reason USADA are taking so long to release the evidence is because they want to bring down the staggeringly corrupt UCI at the same time.

Sorry about the Unicorn comment, I actually went back in to remove it before you post, been a long day and I got a bit carried away Sad Apologies.

The main issue here seems to be that you don't see cycling today as having progressed from doping whereas I do. I see the peloton as a much cleaner place and with the likes of Sky and Garmin in there young pro's can feel confident that they no longer have to dope to keep up. It wasn't always like that, it probably wasn't even like that 5 years ago, but I think things have vastly improved.

The omerta doesn't really seem to exist any more (hopefully)and with the likes of Millar in there doping isn't as taboo a subject as it once was so I don't see what benefit there is to cycling in having prolonged account from every ex-pro about what they did, how they did it, where they got it from and who else was doing it.

This is where I think McQuaid missed a trick in not saying that the UCI could and should have done more. That would have drawn a line under the matter and hopefully allowed us all to move on.

bashthebox wrote:
Also, the Armstrong case that was thrown out of court was a fraud case. The evidence gathered by that case has now been used to get him for doping.

That was the Grand Jury case where they were trying to prove that he used government funds to dope (because US Postal was effectively a government team) but couldn't get sufficient evidence to get a conviction, all they had was testimony but no hard evidence (financial records etc). That case was ditched and the evidence used to get him for doping where witness testimony is sufficient for a 'conviction'. The court case that was thrown out was when Aramstrong was trying to block the ban and in that instance USADA was heavily criticised despite actually winning.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
26th September 2012 - 16:28

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A few points.
Phil Liggetts story about "agents" is complete nonsense. Hold it up to analysis and it falls apart.

Yes the Judge did criticise USADA. The trouble is that many people will point this out without adding that the Judge also criticised the UCI.

I will freely admit to never having been an Armstrong fan. This had more to do with his unpleasant personality than any suspicion of doping. However the only "bandwagon" I can see in this issue is carrying LA fans and UCI apologists clutching at straws.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
26th September 2012 - 16:47

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Can't stand the bloke, was always an idiot, and an extremely tiresome commentator to have to listen to.

I avoid watching races where he and his equally inept colleague are commentating. Sky commentary is so much better imo ....

posted by Karbon Kev [677 posts]
26th September 2012 - 16:53

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/19737213

Sounds like we'll need to wait another few weeks for answers on the Armstrong case.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
26th September 2012 - 21:12

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drheaton wrote:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/19737213

Sounds like we'll need to wait another few weeks for answers on the Armstrong case.


Indeed. If only Phil Liggett would come forward with his proof, the whole matter could be put to bed.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
26th September 2012 - 21:35

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What puzzles me most is how come its taken so long to put together their 'reasoned decision'. Surely they had to do most of the work to make the decision in the first place? Very odd. Almost seems like having made the decision they're now trying to justify it.

Oh well, time will tell I guess. Best put October 15th in my diary.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
26th September 2012 - 21:58

1 Like

drheaton wrote:
What puzzles me most is how come its taken so long to put together their 'reasoned decision'. Surely they had to do most of the work to make the decision in the first place? Very odd. Almost seems like having made the decision they're now trying to justify it.

Oh well, time will tell I guess. Best put October 15th in my diary.


Three members of USPS have gone to arbitration. I would suggest that USADA are anxious not to go public with all of their evidence until these cases are dealt with.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
26th September 2012 - 22:16

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Wonder what Phil will say now after reading the USADA report?

The twitter feed has dried up.

_SiD_'s picture

posted by _SiD_ [179 posts]
10th October 2012 - 21:35

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_SiD_ wrote:
Wonder what Phil will say now after reading the USADA report?

The twitter feed has dried up.


Was thinking the same thing.

Pretty blunt statement from Leipheimer in WSJ today, including this:

"I came to see cycling for what it was: a sport where some team managers and doctors coordinated and facilitated the use of banned substances and methods by their riders. A sport where the athletes at the highest level—perhaps without exception—used banned substances."

Or does Liggett know better?

Statements have been issued by Hincapie (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/535106/hincapie-admits-to-dop...) and VDV too (http://christianvdv.com/blog/christian-vande-velde-statement/).

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1965 posts]
11th October 2012 - 13:08

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_SiD_ wrote:
Wonder what Phil will say now after reading the USADA report?

The twitter feed has dried up.


He'll probably do exactly the same as he did after his defence of Landis proved misjudged - Lie doggo for a few months and then return as "The Voice of Denial". ("Cycling" shurely? Ed.)

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
11th October 2012 - 16:00

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