Lance Armstrong’s plans to organize a casual pick-up basketball game at his house were abruptly cancelled after the United States Doping Agency stepped in.
Earlier this week the disgraced former winner of seven Tour de France titles was forced to withdraw from a Masters swimming event in Austin because the International Swimming Federation ruled that he was ineligible because of his doping offenses.
Now it appears that even a friendly game of hoops in his own driveway is off-limits. A statement from Travis Tygart, the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, made it clear that Armstrong won’t be playing any games any time soon.
“We gave Armstrong several chances to speak the whole truth and nothing but,” said Tygart. “He declined and so there will be no triathlons, no mountain bike races, no swimming meets and no fun sports activities with his friends.”
Armstrong’s lawyers are protesting that there are no laws preventing their client from playing hoops on his own property with close friends. “There’s no governing body for pick-up basketball, there’s no WADA signatory, there’s no nothing,” said Tom Herman, legal consul for Armstrong. “This is persecution, pure and simple and Lance is being singled out. It’s a waste of tax payer money, too.”
According to one witness, a representative from USADA broke up a three-on-three game at the former champion’s house on Wednesday late afternoon. “There was some pushing and shoving and yelling and this guy in a dark suit sends Lance’s friends home. It got ugly and embarrassing,” said Neal Sinsky, a neighbor across the street.
A defiant Armstrong has already tweeted that he’s throwing a beer pong party this Saturday night and dared Travis Tygart to try and stop him. That announcement may yet land Armstrong in more hot water. Lawyers for USADA have already sent a letter to the International Table Tennis Federation asking them to prevent the rec room pong party from taking place.
Federation president Adham Sharara is in the process of reviewing the USADA request but suggests that it’s unlikely to restrict Armstrong. “If the game is strictly casual with no opponents holding an ITTL license then I don’t see what we can do,” said Sharara. “We might have an issue if he’s using official paddles and balls but that’s not something we generally get involved in.”
However, Tygart and USADA show few signs up letting up on Armstrong. “Until Lance comes clean and testifies before the appropriate authorities, we will continue to protect the rights of clean athletes in this country,” said Tygart. “That’ means no frisbee, no touch football, no air hockey, no badminton. If he wants to shoot marbles, he better go under oath first.”