Nothing is as revealing of deep character as when the rich beat up on the less fortunate. The landowner who flogs the peasant working on his land. The rich man who has his servant beaten because they didn’t clean out the horse stables to their satisfaction or failed to detail the car.
Those were our thoughts when we read that Mr. Valverde is taking legal action against his accuser in the long and sordid and sadly undecided Operacion Puerto doping case. That would be whistle-blower, cycling savior and weed puller, Jesus Marzano.
Now living the extremely unpleasant and financially unrewarding life as a cycling outcast and black sheep, Marzano is employed as a gardener. Deep pockets versus empty pockets.
Mr. Valverde, having won over 20 races since he was allegedly implicated in the Puerto doping scandal, has plenty of legal force to exert on his former domestique. The time honored approach is to threaten the penniless accuser with bankruptcy unless a retraction is made.
There’s always the argument against whistle-blowers that they’re so angry, bitter and jealous that they seek to make those better than themselves suffer — even to the point of dishonesty. The knee-jerk quote is usually something to the effect, “they’re just trying to make money now that their career is over.” A stupid and weak-ass argument, we think.
Anyone who takes the irreversible decision to unmask wrongdoing knows their own career is over. In Marzano’s case. he knew he’s be cast out of Spanish cycling immediately and forever. His friends would stop calling and his entire life would implode. But that is what coming clean means. You wash yourself of the crime. What you want is to stop the lies and hypocrisy — all you want and all you have left is honesty. So taking money to spread more lies is the last thing you’d consider. When it comes to lying, Mr. Marzano has nothing to gain and Mr. Valverde has everything to lose.
Marzano testified before the court of arbitration in sport, telling them the same things he had detailed in the Spanish publication, Publico. “Yes I saw Valverde doping on many occasions. We were teammates on Kelme in 2002 and 2003 and shared a room many times. It was a widespread organized doping system. If you question it, you’re on the streets.”
Yes, Jesus Marzano is in the streets but more accurately in the garden. There’s probably nothing he wants more than to be left alone, for this Puerto doping nightmare to end. He’s told his truth and suffered the same consequences martyrs suffer.
Pick any news story you’ve ever read about a man or woman who exposed the wrong doing of some corporation. Their lives were wrecked, their careers, bank accounts, marriages and friendships destroyed. The only thing of value they have left is their integrity. Jesus Marzano can look himself in the mirror every day.
We hope the court in Luzanne, Switzerland recognizes the truth and rules accordingly. Alejandro Valverde is a great and talented bike rider but we say, leave the gardener alone.