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Stern says WADA becoming 'harder to take seriously'

11/3/2006 - NBA

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."