by Irvin Muchnick
Earlier this week we weighed in on the finding by SB Nation’s Thomas Hauser that Floyd Mayweather had had a kind-of-sort-of-legal intravenous injection the day before the Manny Pacquiao fight. The main reason we did so was that it was an opportunity to remind readers of yet another facet of the USA Swimming sexual abuse scandals on which the mainstream media refuse to splash daylight: the role of Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as a USA Swimming lawyer charged in the early 2000s with keeping the American public as little informed as possible about the widespread abuse in its ranks by some of the sport’s most prominent coaches.
USADA issued a double-talk statement in response to the Hauser article. Yesterday the Tygart gang put out a white paper — a very white paper — attacking the writer’s reporting. See http://www.usada.org/usada-response-to-inaccuracies-misleading-information-professional-boxing-article/.
Behind the thousands of words is nothing more than a lawyer’s brief, as was to be expected: full of nitpicking and hairsplitting in an arena where participants, fans, and observers deserve principles and intellectual honesty. The question that matters in the SB Nation article is: What was Mayweather’s medical condition that “precipitated his need for an IV” of “saline and vitamins”?
The “condition” wasn’t dehydration; Mayweather had cut all of three pounds prior to the weigh-in for the Pacquiao fight. Why dehydration under such circumstances would even qualify as a medical condition in the first place is risible. That’s more like a training tactic turned inside out into a strategic edge. USADA’s global counterpart, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), already bans such IV’s. In addition to its gamesmanship, such a gambit also can help mask use of performance-enhancing drugs.
A boxing insider summed it up for me. “Mayweather was flagrantly violating WADA rules, though not Nevada ones.” (Not yet, that is: Nevada and USADA are about to join the ban of such IV’s.) To cover their tracks, USADA gave Mayweather a “retroactive” therapeutic use exemption (TUE).
Tygart and the company that contracted his drug-testing mafia, Mayweather Promotions, still won’t say what the TUE was for; and that is the transparent, the essential, and darn near the only question the public wants answered. A public, by the way, that smashed pay-per-view and gate records for Floyd-Manny in May.
In lieu of being accountable for these fundamentals, USADA’s very white paper complains about items like the Hauser article’s use of scare quotes around “non-profit” and its statement that USADA was created in 1999, when every educated American knows full well that the agency didn’t start operations until 2000.
Which also happened to be two years before Travis Tygart, for USA Swimming, helped engineer the non-publicity of the guilty plea and bail-jumping of Danny Chocron, a swim coach at Tygart’s prep alma mater, the Bolles School in Florida, who had molested both girls and boys under his supervision — yet lives and coaches freely back in his native Venezuela, to this very day.