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Letters: Lance Armstrong and doping

August 28, 2012

Re "Anti-doping officials aren't playing fair," Column, Aug. 26

Mike Hiltzik's indictment of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's prosecution of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong illustrates a larger problem with the American legal system.

Courts have increasingly enforced arbitration clauses in a wide variety of contracts. It is a legal fiction to hold that signatories voluntarily consent to waiving their fundamental right to have their grievances adjudicated in court. Cellphone companies, stock brokerage firms and other corporate giants impose arbitration in their standard contracts on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

In Armstrong's case, the injustice is glaring: The Anti-Doping Agency proceedings are essentially criminal in nature, and the outcome — branding him a cheat and stripping him of his victories — is a career death sentence. To compete, Armstrong had to agree to this draconian process. If this can happen to him, it can happen to anyone — and it is.

Pierce O'Donnell

Los Angeles

I am rather amazed at this whole process. The fact is that Armstrong never failed a drug test in all the time he was riding. Now he is expected to prove a negative: that he never engaged in doping.

What ever happened to innocent until proved guilty?

Bob McLaughlin

San Simeon

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