On Thursday, the World Anti-Doping Agency filed an appeal with International Court of Arbitration for Sport, challenging the agreement between the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and former pro Tyler Hamilton that he accept an eight-year suspension from competition for a second doping offense. WADA has asked that CAS overturn the agreement and impose a life-time ban in the Hamilton case.
Hamilton’s attorney, Chris Manderson, released the following statement in response the WADA decision:
STATEMENT FROM CHRIS MANDERSON
ATTORNEY OF RECORD FOR TYLER HAMILTON
“Tyler Hamilton took Mitamins, an herbal anti-depressant, in a moment of crisis while out of competition, with no intention or possibility of enhancing his cycling performance. Despite that, the rules do not distinguish between an intentional doping violation and Tyler’s attempt to self medicate for depression. Based on their protocol, USADA imposed the minimum eight-year penalty in this situation, which was within the acceptable range of sanctions established by the World Anti-Doping Code, and we accepted that so Tyler could focus on his health and his future.
Now, contrary to Tyler’s settlement with USADA, WADA is pursuing a lifetime ban as if Tyler’s self-medication for depression had been an intentional violation to boost performance. There is no reasonable basis to have the maximum penalty imposed upon Tyler Hamilton for taking an herbal anti-depressant that happened to contain DHEA. Tyler has been diagnosed with and is battling clinical depression, an illness which many people suffer from, and which took the life of his grandmother and has afflicted his mother and sister.
Even worse, WADA has stated that the 8 year sanction ‘warrants scrutiny from an independent tribunal’ because ‘it was the result of an agreement between USADA and the athlete,’ as though Tyler and USADA had somehow colluded in wrongdoing by agreeing to a sanction within the acceptable range under the WADA code. WADA did not even notify Tyler nor myself (Tyler’s attorney of record) of its intent to pursue this action; we learned of it through the media.
WADA’s insistence on a lifetime ban against Tyler is a vindictive, personal and ruthless attempt to destroy a man who suffers from a serious illness, has ended his career, and has already accepted the penalty imposed upon him.”