Floyd Landis: An American Hero

That’s the banner at FloydLandis.com. Really [at least when I checked a few minutes ago -- I assume they'll be changing that pretty soon]. Under the “Athlete’s Rights” tab, it says:

Floyd Landis brought the same competitive drive and focus he used to win the Tour de France to his anti-doping trial. Landis became the first athlete to ever make his anti-doping trial public and was hailed a hero in his stance for athletes’ rights. His moral victory stands as a victory for athletes everywhere. Landis risked it all to prove his innocence in a brutal battle against the opposition’s “win at all cost” mentality. Landis’ courage resulted in a complete overhaul of a failed system.

Looks pretty silly now, after Landis has admitted that he was, in fact, lying (and doping) all along.

But the interesting thing (to me) is that Landis made, as his website notes, a very public affair out of his fight against the doping allegations, and embarked on a substantial fund-raising campaign to raise the several million dollars that he needed to fight the charges. He toured across the country, asserting his innocence over and over again, and asking for contributions to his legal defense fund. Let’s see – I think we have a name for that in the law. Intentionally and knowingly stating a falsehood, on which others might reasonably be expected to rely (and on which they do rely) to their direct financial detriment. “Fraud.” If I had given Landis any money after hearing his sad tale of persecution and laboratory foulups, I sure would be angry right about now.