USADA statement on Marion Jones

Updated: June 16, 2004, 5:14 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The following statement was issued Wednesday by Travis Tygart, director of legal affairs for USADA:

"USADA does not comment regarding the substance of its investigations. However, USADA is aware that Marion Jones has made public comments regarding the USADA process and USADA's requests that Ms. Jones provide information regarding her relationship with BALCO.

"For this reason only, USADA will address Ms. Jones' baseless attacks on the USADA process. First, USADA's primary objective is absolutely a search for the truth. If Ms. Jones wants the truth to come out, then we share that goal. No athlete who has not engaged in doping behavior has any reason to fear, or otherwise avoid, the USADA process. No athlete is entitled to preferred treatment or will be allowed to circumvent that process.

"USADA treats the content of its investigations confidentially because this is required by the USADA Protocol. This confidentiality requirement was put in place to protect athletes and USADA abides by it. Athletes are not constrained by this requirement. This means that any athlete including Ms. Jones is free to share all correspondence, documents and information requests they receive from USADA with the public.

"Any suggestion that the USADA process compromises any athletes' rights or is unfair is a blatant distortion of the truth. The truth is this arbitration process is grounded in a federal statute (The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act) and contains all of the safeguards to ensure a fair hearing.

"Once a matter proceeds to arbitration, USADA offers evidence to an independent panel of arbitrators and the athlete through counsel presents a defense. Ultimately, it is the arbitrators, not USADA or others, who decide what weight will be given to the evidence, what burden of proof applies, and whether an anti-doping rules violation has occurred. If the athlete is unsatisfied with the outcome of that hearing, the athlete can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and have an entirely new hearing. This process was put in place following the 2000 Olympic Games and all U.S. Olympic athletes who compete have agreed to this process."

ALSO SEE