Diana Taurasi may be facing a two-year ban from competition outside the United States and has already been released from Fenerbahçe, but some of her fans in Turkey aren’t giving up the fight to get allegations of doping overturned.
The following letter was recently sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by an unnamed group of supporters (the epistle even appears in media without closing or signature) complaining of some unfair charges levied against she who is/was formerly thought to be among the all-time greats:
To whom it may concern‚
As a group of avid basketball fans that truly believe in the integrity‚ ethics and fairplay‚ we would like to bring to your attention the events unfolded around Diana Taurasi’s alleged use of a banned substance.
On or about December 23‚ 2010‚ we learned that the Fenerbahçe Basketball player Diana Taurasi’s A sample‚ taken after a regular league game against Istanbul University contained a banned substance. Apparently‚ the news leaked and Taurasi’s right to confidentiality as a result was breached.
On December 28‚ 2010‚ only five days after the news was leaked‚ the head of the Turkish Football Federation Anti-Doping Organization and the Chairman of the Turkish Basketball Federation Health Department‚ Prof. Dr. Turgay Atasu‚ went on various media outlets and declared that he was confident Taurasi’s B sample was also positive and she should be banned two years. Dr. Atasu clearly violated Taurasi’s fundamental right to presumed innocence and rendered the process of analyzing the B sample a mere formality.
Please note that when Dr. Atasu was drawing his conclusions when Taurasi’s B sample was not even opened and clearly he was formulating public opinion that Taurasi was guilty of doping and she should be punished. He further went on and said he was in favor of exposing cheaters as soon as there is some evidence of wrongdoing. His total disregard of due process and confidentiality of results is self-evident in his widely published remarks.
Dr. Atasu is a public official in a position of authority in doping matters and he is also head of a health committee with the Turkish Basketball Federation that is responsible from receiving and evaluating the test results. His comments published in all major news outlets are outrageous‚ unacceptable and in clear and irrefutable violation of WADA Code Article 14.2.5.
Furthermore‚ in the last few months there are at least five other athletes accused of doping using the same banned substance‚ modafinil. After 2.5 years of no reported doping cases how can one logically explain the sudden explosion of Modafinil in five other athletes within a very short time? Given the tarnished history of Hacettepe University Doping Control Center and their suspension in 2009‚ this raises very serious concerns about the integrity of their testing procedures and the results.
While we are in favor of punishing those who cheated to gain a competitive advantage‚ we are also strong advocates of fair testing done in a professional manner adhering to the highest procedural and ethical standards. Unfortunately in Taurasi’s case it is clearly impossible to talk about such standard. Dr. Atasus comments coupled with this lab’s questionable history and practices raise significant concerns and questions that are yet to be answered!
Based on these facts we kindly request:
– Immediate suspension of Hacettepe University Turkish Doping Control Center.
– A thorough investigation of Dr. Turgay Atasus’ public comments to understand how he was sure that Taurasi’s B sample was positive before it was even analyzed?
– Was he in contact with the lab personnel?
– Did he influence the testing process to determine the outcome?
– A complete review of the lab’s procedures‚ analysis techniques and instruments in light of all positive cases for the same substance that occurred in a very short period of time.
– Most importantly a retest of Taurasi’s both A and B samples in another accredited laboratory to alleviate significant doubts and concerns about the integrity of the results.