Track Coach Sues Anti-Doping Agency

(CN) – Track coach Trevor Graham claims the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency defamed him by accusing him of providing performance-enhancing drugs to his all-star roster of athletes, including (nonparty) Olympic medalists Marion Jones and Antonio Pettigrew.

     In a pro se complaint in Raleigh, N.C., Federal Court, Graham claims the “outrageous slander” caused him “tremendous grief.” He said the agency wrongly banned him from coaching for life, without giving him a chance to clear his name.
     He questions the validity of the ban, claiming that the “USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Testing handbook does not have any rules for banning coaches in any event.”
     “Therefore how did USADA find a rule for banning me from coaching?” Graham asked in the complaint. “All the rules of conduct were written to ban athletes only.”
     Graham claims that despite his written requests, the agency failed to provide proof that a provision for banning coaches exists.
     “As of today, USADA have failed to provide me with any evidence to support their alleged claim that I should be banned for life and have ultimately taken away my coaching ability,” according to the complaint.
     Graham seeks damages, the rescission of his lifetime ban, alleging defamation and denial of due process. He says he was denied a hearing before the American Arbitration Association.
     USADA spokeswoman Erin Hannan denied Graham’s accusations, saying in a statement that the coach was afforded full legal process established under federal law before being banned from coaching.
     “This is obviously just another attempt by Mr. Graham to rob clean athletes of USADA’s limited resources by forcing us to defend this meritless suit, [with] which we have not even been served,” Hannan said.
     According to media reports, Graham provided the government its first physical evidence in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) steroids probe.
     Graham initially was granted immunity for his cooperation, but the agreement with the government did not protect him for making false statements.
     In July 2008 he was sentenced to a year of home confinement for lying to federal investigators.
     Graham first came to prominence in track and field as a member of the silver medal-winning Jamaican 4 X 400 team at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

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