Stern says WADA becoming 'harder to take seriously'

Updated: November 3, 2006, 8:21 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- NBA commissioner David Stern criticized the World Anti-Doping Agency on Friday, saying the organization has lost respect in the international community.

Stern jabbed WADA head Dick Pound for his treatment of Floyd Landis, the Tour de France winner who tested positive for testosterone.

"[WADA] is actually getting harder to take seriously," Stern said before the Bucks-Raptors game. "Whenever an organization which purports to be even-handed and fair announces that a 'B' sample isn't necessary, then they lose an enormous amount of respect."

Pound, a Montreal lawyer, has crusaded for all major sports leagues to conform to WADA's global strategy on drug testing. He has criticized each of the leagues, including the NBA, for not being more stringent in its testing, and for treating the process with indifference.

"We have these very intense procedures we deal with our players on, and we throw them out if they fail the tests," Stern said. "But we also have a number of processes in place to protect them.

"Anyone who doesn't think that the processes should be used to the utmost is not someone that is worthy of our ongoing support and respect. As an observer, I thought that was totally off-base."

The NBA randomly tests players four times a season. Players who test positive for steroids or performance enhancing drugs get a 10-game suspension for a first offense, a 25-game ban for a second offense, a one-year suspension for a third offense and disqualification if they're caught for a fourth time.

Stern stood by the league's drug plan.

"We have our tests," Stern said. "We have the broadest possible test in sports. We'll expand it if we're told that it needs to be expanded. But I don't want to launch fears that are apparently unfounded."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press