Last Friday a Pensacola Fl judge issued a restraining order allowing former world record holder and drug-cheat Justin Gatlin to ostensibly run the upcoming Olympic Trials in Oregon (just who was to be restrained we wanted to know?).
As well documented, Gatlin tested positive for testosterone in 2006, which first led to an 8 year ban, reduced to 4 year ban, upheld by the highest sports court in the known universe -- The Court of Arbitration for Sports. However the judge felt that the four year ban discriminated against Gatlin's ADA rights, based on an earlier 'conviction' of amphetamines, which were prescribed for ADHD. Now it appears the judge backed away from the starting line, essentially saying he had no standing in international drug/PED court. To the Washington Post:
The federal judge in Pensacola, Fla., who last Friday granted a temporary restraining order that opened the door for Gatlin to compete at the trials reversed course yesterday, denying Gatlin's motion for a preliminary injunction and vacating the original order.
Gatlin's attorney, Joe Zarzaur, said last night that Gatlin planned to appeal and would ask the judge to restore the original order pending the appeal.
Now the background:
Gatlin, who is serving a four-year ban for two doping violations, had argued that barring him from the trials in Eugene, Ore., which begin Friday, violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Gatlin's first positive test in 2001 was for a stimulant in the attention-deficit disorder medication he had been taking since childhood.
Gatlin also tested positive for a steroid in 2006. The standard penalty for a positive test for steroids is two years.
The U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and IAAF, the international track federation, argued during a hearing Monday in Pensacola that Gatlin's case had already been adjudicated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the decision was binding. The USOC further argued that to allow Gatlin to run at the trials would be unfair to other athletes since the International Olympic Committee had already said it would not allow Gatlin to compete at the Olympics.
And the money line:
U.S. District Judge Lacey A. Collier wrote in yesterday's seven-page opinion that his court did not have jurisdiction to interfere with the anti-doping protocols but rebuked the sports' bodies, calling their actions "arbitrary and capricious." The decision rendered moot an appeal earlier yesterday by the USOC of Friday's ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.