Steve Mullings Banned for life

Steve Mullings of Jamaica has been found guilty by an disciplinary panel set up by the Jamaica anti-doping commission (JADCo).  According the Jamaica Observer (the top local newspaper in Jamaica) he was nipped with his second such offence which by the World anti-doping association (WADA) rules means a guaranteed lifetime ban.
 Mullings was not available for comment since he was represented by his lawyer Mr Olando Terrilonge at the hearing.  We tried to get a word with him by telephone but our efforts were futile.  His former training partner and club mate Tyson Gay who is an avid opponent to drug cheats was also very silent on the matter.  As we are aware Gay is a regular twitter user and for some reason he has been muffled on this particular matter.  We believe that Mr. Mullings will appeal the decision, especially on the back of the refusal by the local authority in Jamaica to test his B sample.  Mr Terelonge sighted evidence of questionable sample management which could compromise the integrity of the test results.  He challenged that the handling of the sample was not professionally done and the sample could have been compromised between the time it was taken and the time it reached the lab in Canada.  Further more the main proprietor, doping control officer,  Dr. Paul Wright was not present when the sample was unsealed for testing.

Steve Mullings was banned for two years between 2004 and 2006 after failing a drug test in the summer of 2004 right after qualifying for the Olympic games that year. He returned from the ban in 2006 to a modest season which eventually picked up in 2007 with appearance and relay medals in the world championships that year.  The 2008 season was again poor before a resurgence in 2009 with wins on the circuit through 2010 .  In 2011 he produced his best ever form to finish in one of the automatic qualifying spots at the National Championships with personal best in the 100m of 9.80 in Eugene, Oregan. He ran under 10 seconds seven times and was tipped to be a medalist at the world championsships in Daegu.  It was not to be however as he was spotted for an adverse analytical finding following the national Championships in Kingston  The substance found in his system is  Furosemide, which is a well known masking agent for other more active drugs. 

 With the disgrace on the track and field fraternity caused in the Balco scandal in 2004 one hopes that this case will quickly be put to bed since the image of track and field has suffered extensively and the credibility has only now began to be restored.  Caribbean athletics in particular has been very strong over the last decade through the likes of Usain Bolt, Richard Thompson, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Kirani James, Asafa Powell, Kim Collins and Jehue Gordon.  These young professionals are blessed with immense talent and have worked extremely hard for their success.  It would be an indictment on the clean athletes if the image of the sport is damaged any further than it has been. 

While we do not cast any aspersions on Mr. Mullings since we take an objective stance given that he has the right to an appeal but we have to scold him on carelessness.  the fact is, he is responsible for what goes into his body and as a professional you cannot be naive enough to even accidentally expose yourself to banned substances.  There are thousands of athletes around the world and thousands of tests done throughout the year and no adverse findings are reported so we have to give credence to the system.  Therefore we have to agree that the system of testing is reliable. whether or not it is accurate we do not know but we have to accept the verdict in this case especially the fact that his credibility is destroyed having served a ban already.

What are you thoughts on this case?  Do you think he's guilty or just unlucky?