Velogal's Blog

Friday, August 19, 2005

Roger Hammond is on fire now that he has been named to ride on the Great Britain team at the six0stage Tour of Great Britain, starting on Aug 30th. He’ll also do the World’s - wearing the GB championship jersey and looking for a repeat win. Photo is from the 2004 training camp...

So I told you that I would let you know about the letter I wrote to the SL Tribune about that column in the Business Digest. (See August 17th blog post) I’m going to share the letters with you - mainly to encourage you to write to a newspaper or any other media form, when you disagree, or see some kind of injustice or innuendo, or see mistaken assumptions.... Following is the email sequence with Linda Fantin, Business Editor of the SL Tribune:

My email to reporter Linda Fantin on Aug 17th:
I am really annoyed and disappointed about this paragraph in the 8/16/05 Business Digest column about Lance Armstrong's Nu Skin
convention appearance:

"Armstrong has been accused by other cyclists of taking performance-enhancing drugs, which may explain the disclaimer on Nu Skin's Web site: Lance Armstrong's speaking engagement at the Nu Skin Enterprises Global Convention does not imply an endorsement of the company or its products."

What was your intention and purpose in adding this innuendo? The disclaimer is there because Lance is a paid keynote speaker, just like other celebrities who appear at conventions, and Nu Skin is not retaining (paying) him to endorse their product. Pretty simple... The same as when Tiger Woods is a keynote speaker at a convention, or any other sports celebrity. There is no hidden meaning, Linda, it's just business. A disclaimer is required so there will be no implied endorsement...You write a Business Digest column, don't you? I guess I am assuming that you have some grasp of business principles. It's obvious that you've not done your homework about cycling...

Linda Fantin’s response to me, dated Aug 18th:
Your point about such disclaimers being a normal business practice
is a good one. But I disagree that it was inappropriate to include
such information and to note that Mr. Armstrong has been accused by
some of his colleagues of taking performance-enhancing drugs.
As you point out, it stands to reason that Mr. Armstrong would
insist on such a disclaimer if for no other reason than to make sure
that people do not assume the opposite is true -- that he is acting
as a spokesman for a company that makes many substances banned by
athletic organizations. In my editorial judgment, it would be an
error of omission not to note both of those facts.
Your admiration for Mr. Armstrong is understandable. My intention
was not to make it look like Mr. Armstrong was guilty, only to
acknowledge an obvious juxtaposition.

My response to her Aug 18th email, also dated Aug. 18th:
Thank you for your response to my letter. But, if you are going to write about "both of these facts":
1. Could you be specific about what are the banned substances that the Nu Skin company makes? In looking at the Nu Skin website, I see that they market products for skin care, hair care, oral care, fragrances and cosmetics. I don't see any banned substances on Nu Skin's product list, nor do I see any obvious juxtaposition of their products to banned substances or performance-enhancing drugs.
2. Could you be specific about what "athletic organizations" you are citing that ban these Nu Skin substances?
3. Could you be specific about what colleagues have made accusations about Lance Armstrong? There have not been accusations from any other riders that Lance Armstrong has used performance-enhancing drugs. What is your information source?

Linda Fantin’s response, also dated Aug 18th:
Dear Sammarye,
NuSkin has a dietary supplement division called Pharmanex which
makes various performance-enhancing products. However, upon further
research - prompted by your questions - I must correct my earlier
statements. While the World Anti-Doping Agency recommends that
athletes avoid supplements, there is no evidence that any Pharmanex
product contains substances banned by WADA. And a group called
Consumer Labs, which appears to be independent of Pharmanex, has
certified the company's products to be safe for athletes.
This has not always been the case. For years, Pharmanex was a
leading producer of ephedra and recently won a lawsuit that
overturned the federal ban on the banned stimulant.
I was mistaken, and I thank you for helping to educate me. In
hindsight, I should have not linked the disclaimer to the allegations
against Mr. Armstrong. I will discuss the possibility of running a

My response, dated Aug 19th:
Linda -
I appreciate your willingness to dialogue with me, and your offer to run a clarification of your column of August 16th.


  • Hey Sammarye,
    Great job! Let's hope that the "discussing the possibility of running a clarification" works out. Bet her editor will quickly bin that idea though.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 9:49 AM  

  • Sammarye
    Great job. I'm sure she will never write another word about Lance without doing a thorough check of her facts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11:57 AM  

  • This is what passes for journalism these days????? Can you imagine that from Edward R Murrow or Daniel Golden?? Good grief!
    Way to go Sammarye!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11:57 AM  

  • That last one was from me.
    Bill Hue

    By Anonymous Bill Hue, At 11:58 AM  

  • Very nice job Sammarye! You kept things very professional and assertive. We admire you!!


    By Anonymous Mark, At 12:03 PM  

  • You do us proud, girl!! You asked for specifics about her claims and she had to do a background check!! Oh my goodness....what a new idea for a reporter! :(

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 3:12 PM  

  • As Penn & Teller would so elegantly say:


    She tried to give you the brushoff, and when that didn't work, she simply feed you a line of Bullshit!

    I don't suppost that should suprise anyone, after-all they are in the nutrients business, aren't they?

    By Anonymous Floyd, At 5:58 PM  

  • I just read that Lance is riding with President Bush this weekend at the President's ranch in Texas. I knew that, but I just heard that it's closed to the press and only Discovery will be allowed there to film. Should be fun to see what they come up with. I hear Bush is pretty competitive.

    By Anonymous Mark, At 10:32 PM  

  • You go, girl!! I like to think that journalists try to get their fact straight, but they don't always, as running the bit about Lance's accusers seemed more exciting. Way to hold her feet to the fire!! You better get a retraction, too!!

    By Anonymous toolgirlcr, At 6:15 AM  

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