Velogal's Blog

Friday, November 10, 2006

The furious DNA sample debate and the hiring of Ivan Basso by the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team are inciting and exciting all the bloggers, posters and letter-writers, as well as the media. Everybody has a definite opinion and, of course, they are Right. Just ask them...

Maybe I have a little different take on this, but I am offering my thoughts - right or wrong - it’s all a matter of opinion. I am thinking of all professional cyclists on the UCI or Pro Tour teams, or teams anywhere that are hired, work for a salary, and have contracts. These people, these riders - women and men - are Employees. Right? They work for a company, a business organization, and for sponsors. Right?

So, tell me, how many companies here in the US could get away with requiring all their Employees to give blood samples for DNA testing and to keep for future use? How about in Great Britain, or Italy, Spain, Belgium or France - shall I go on listing countries where employees have acknowledged rights?

Can you imagine what Hell would break loose if General Motors, or Bristol-Meyers Squibb, or Yahoo, or Ebay, or Citigroup, or Hewlett-Packard, or Verizon - or name any of the Fortune 500 companies, (or any company big or small) would make an agreement between themselves that, as a condition of employment, they would require blood samples from each employee to use as they see fit at some future time?

Or what if the big unions in this country with members who are teachers, teamsters, farm workers, retail clerks, television and radio artists, health workers, journalists, AFL-CIO - the list is humongous - would all agree that, as a condition of membership, their members would be required to submit blood samples for future use?

Can you imagine the uproar in the media about human rights and worker’s rights? The American Civil Liberties Union would be deluged with calls - there would be strikes and work stoppages, marches in the streets, and lawsuits up the ying-yang. Elected officials would jump into the fray to speak out for our rights and the press would have a hey-day. It would make Watergate and Enron look wimpy...

Every damn one if us would be absolutely outraged and absolutely refuse to give blood samples for DNA testing and storage. Yeah, I know that companies can require drug testing, and you pee in a bottle. Required blood drawals and blood storage is quite another thing. Hell No, we wouldn’t buy that for a moment. Who, in their right mind, would obediently line up and stick out their arm? Would you? I sure as Hell would not...

So why is it different with riders on Pro Cycling teams? Why should those guys line up and give their blood to “prove that they are innocent” from current or future gossip, rumors and allegations? What a bunch of crap that is! Number One to be required to give blood, and Number Two to prove that you are innocent. And what a bunch of crap to then assume that a rider is guilty because he refuses a DNA test...

Don’t these professional cyclists (human beings) have the same human rights as the rest of us? If some rumor goes around your office, how do you prove that you are innocent? Should you be required to do that as a condition of staying employed or being hired? Should you be required to give a blood sample?

Yeah, I read all the comments from team managers who are so upset and pissed-off that Ivan Basso got hired by Discovery Channel without giving a blood sample to prove that he is innocent. Might I be so bitchy as to suspect that these same team managers are really pissed-off that they didn’t have the euros or the balls to hire Ivan Basso themselves? All those team managers who are now seeing their chance for the top spot on the podium go down the drain with the Basso/Discovery powerhouse in the line-up.

You know what I say to all of them? Quitcherbitchin, shut up and ride....


  • Well, I'm from Canada, but it seems to me LOTS of people have to give urine samples before they are hired.

    To me that's the same thing and yet I don't see a huge uproar of angry americans.

    Maybe I'm wrong about that. I know that I would have a huge problem with that.

    I agree with you, that a sample should only befor something specific they are testing for.

    BUT, one thing the teams need to learn is to 3rd party their own samples. So, at the nd of stage 17, Floyds sample is split between his 3rd party agent and the Tours testors so he would have had his own independant samples.

    By Blogger William, At 11:56 AM  

  • Velogal,
    I love your blog and I must admit when I first read about DNA testing my initial reaction was "hmm, okay give the DNA sample", but after reading your latest post you are 100% percent correct. And can you imagine if the NBA or NFL required a DNA sample. Oh the outrage that would ensue.

    The US Government does take a DNA sample of their servicemen/women but that's for different a reason.

    I'm convinced, you're right. Thanks for forcing me to really think about the issue. Nice job! Oh, and I especially liked the shut up and ride! ;)

    By Anonymous JoAnn, At 5:33 AM  

  • Strange thing though that one of the men who yelled the hardest that these guys should not be allowed in the Tour has now hired one of them.
    When he was riding for a different tour (and so he was an opponent) he was guilty and should not ride, now when he joins their team he's an innocent all of a sudden?
    I hope Basso is innocent. I hope Floyd is innocent. I hope Floyd tells Bruyneel where to stick it.
    Angry Floyd Fan.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 2:47 AM  

  • sorry, no real evidence against Basso. Business is business. Am really glad Basso is back, especialy in Discovery. He'll do good there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 9:34 AM  

  • Velogal, you're missing the point. If cheating, lying and fraud were extant among significant number of the workforce in any industry, and that industry were being endangered by this behavior, then you can bet that such draconian actions as DNA testing would be introduced.

    Pro teams and event organizers are not adopting this solution as a first resort. They have been pushed and pushed and pushed to this by the mafioso-like behavior of pro cyclists over the decades.

    The screaming two year-olds are finally about to be reprimanded by the parent figures, and boy are they screaming. I love it.

    How Bettini thinks he can get away with making provocative remarks such as 'let's get together in a private session and sort this out,' and then 'professional cyclists should be above suspicion' defeats me. In doing so he treats us fans like morons.

    By Blogger Skillsy, At 12:51 AM  

  • Paul - It seems to me that you are missing the point of my blog posting. I am talking about the rights of employees here in the US, or anywhere else, to not be forced to submit to DNA testing as a condition of employment, and I am saying that I think professional riders should have the same rights. This is a basic human rights issue to me...

    As for you statement that industry would introduce “draconian actions” in case of significant immoral behaviors in the workforce: No, Paul, they would not. Why? Because most workers have strong unions, plus vast legal recourse to prevent any such outrageous invasion of personal privacy, and disclosure of private medical information. The ACLU would jump on that in a minute and so would numerous other civil rights advocates and organizations. DNA testing or HIV testing as a condition of employment? No Way.... It goes far beyond basic drug testing, and is a shame that DNA testing is becoming a requirement to prove one’s innocence. Doesn’t it strike you that something is drastically awry with a justice system wherein one has submit blood to prove their innocence, without any charges against them?

    By Blogger velogal, At 9:29 AM  

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