By Justin Cherot
Okay… see if you can follow this:
On May 9 mediocre NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamines. NASCAR wasted little time in dropping the hammer, suspending the driver indefinitely from competition.
But, Mayfield, like many athletes who do something wrong usually do, admantly denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the methamphetamines showing up on the test were due to them being ingredients in his medication.
What Mayfield did that many other athletes don’t do is take his case to a federal judge… and won, largely in part to key testimony by experts from both the World and U.S. Anti-Doping agencies claiming that NASCAR’s testing procedures have serious flaws.
NASCAR naturally appealed the ruling, and decided that one more test was in order. Fine, Mayfield thought, I’ll just get two independent tests of my own.
So, by now you all know what happened: Mayfield flunked the NASCAR test, but apparently passed his independent test held at a LabCorp facility.
NASCAR claims it has damaging testimony from Mayfield’s stepmother about how she’s witnessed him using meth like 30 times in seven years. Mayfield is tired of NASCAR’s lies.
Dude… I’m good, but even I can’t make this stuff up.
Jokes aside, no matter what happens in the next few weeks, the damage has been done. I don’t even follow Mayfield but everytime I look at him I can just see him snorting lines in his basement muttering, “Jimmie Johnson ain’t %$#… where’s the clicker?”
I know I’m not alone in thinking such weird thoughts. If you asked ten people if they believed Mayfield about not doing meth, nine of them would vehemently shout no and the tenth person would just shrug with doubt. Drug tests are pretty concrete: either it’s in your system or it’s not. Not too much room for gray area there.
But, hear me out…
Suppose I tell you I know a guy with two DUI’s who has a court-ordered Ignition Interlock on his car. In other words, every time that dude wants to start his car he has to blow into it. If the device senses ANY alcohol on that person’s breath the car will not start. What if I told you that one cold winter day he blew 12 times into the device and failed 11, yet claimed not to have had a single thing to alcoholic beverage that day or in two-plus years? You would probably just assume that he was absolutely intoxicated without question, right?
Or, would you believe his story backed with multiple sources and eyewitness accounts about having used Prestone De-Icer (which contains methyl alcohol) to melt the ice off of his windshield and accidentally leaving it in the backseat with the cap off?
(I’m not even going to tell you which story the Motor Vehicle Association believes.)
The point is, as crazy as this Mayfield story may sound, he may actually have a valid point…maybe not about NASCAR out to completely derail the career of their 48th ranked driver, but about the inconsistencies of NASCAR’s testing procedures. NASCAR can dump on LabCorp all they want, but the fact of the matter is that they’re a fairly reputable testing facility. As a matter of fact, if you want a job in Columbia, Md. or the surrounding area, chances are you have to urinate in one of their fine cups. Do you think companies would entrust a very important step in the hiring process to a rinky-dink operation?
All I’m saying is this: before we ostracize Jeremy Mayfield from the racing community and as a functional member of society, let’s hear all the facts first.