Banned Agent Mark Block Was In Monaco On Friday
The Banned Agent Also Allegedly Enjoyed The Nike Hospitality Suite At The World Championships in Daegu Last Year
Friday, July 20, 2012
One of the bigger LetsRun.com stories at the 2012 US Olympic Track and Field Trials was that LetsRun.com caught banned agent Mark Block enjoying the great action at the US Olympic Trials on the final two days of the Trials.
The reaction from the LetsRun.com audience was enormous. Many of you were outraged that a man with a 10-year doping ban would be allowed to enjoy the biggest meet of the year in the US from the VIP suite of the sport's #1 sponsor (Nike).
We received a lot of emails and calls - even a call from a former world champion - on the matter and nearly all were supportive of our efforts to rid the sport of drug cheats and all those that accept drug cheats with a wink-wink. People told us to keep up the good fight and refuse to look the other way.
Don't worry. Freeing the sport of drug cheats is one of our biggest priorities. We've been working on a follow-up story on the Block situation. We thought we had some time to get it out because one might think our expose would cause Mark Block to lay low for a while, but boy were we wrong.
Guess Where Mark Block Is Today?
We decided to rush the piece out right now because we learned earlier today from two reputable sources that Mark Block is currently in Monaco as we speak. Yes, that's right. The supposed banned agent has traveled across the globe and was seen this morning in Monaco, the site of the final Diamond League meet before the Olympics.
To us, that is unbelievable. People need to stop letting Block just thumb his nose at USADA and WADA.
What We've Learned Since Our Initial Story Broke - Block's Been All Over The Globe
As we said in our initial piece, sources have told us Block has been seen across the globe all year long. Since that piece has run, it has been confirmed by Block himself that Block was at Penn Relays earlier this year, as Block tweeted:
"Penn is always a great event to attend to see old friends and great athletics. But the atmosphere seemed down."
And the week earlier at the Mt. SAC Relays, world champions Carmelita Jeter and Jason Richardson both admitted to having dinner with him via Twitter:
Jason Richardson @JaiRich
...just getting in from good laughs and great food at Ruth Chris w/ @CarmelitaJeter @TheMarkBlock, my coach, wives, & family
Reply Retweet Favorite
20 Apr 12
Carmelita Jeter @CarmelitaJeter
Dinner tonite with my parents/manager/coach and @JaiRich. #TeamJet/TeamRich
Retweeted by Jason Richardson
20 Apr 12
Now it's possible Richardson's and Jeter's official agent, Chris Layne (Block's former partner), was at the dinner too, but neither athlete mentioned him by name, but Mark Block was mentioned by name.
We've also learned from a source that Block attended the Jamaica meet in early May with Jeter this year. In Jamaica, Block had access to the practice track. The following picture, which was tweeted by Richardson, shows a man who we believe is Mark Block walking with Jeter through the tunnel from the practice track into the main stadium:
Now Richardson has deleted that tweet, but don't worry, we saved it before he could delete it.
What About Nike's Reaction?
Once our initial story broke, Nike reacted as we thought they would. Nike issued a statement that basically said they didn't know how Block got into the VIP area. Their statement read as follows:
"Mr. Block was not an invited guest of Nike. Gaining entry into the Nike box is an informal process and we plan to review our protocol for access for future events. We did not intend to send any broader message about our position on doping. Nike does not condone the use of banned substances."
So basically Nike acted like that people high up at Nike didn't know he was in the booth. That's simply not a credible response.
Additionally, the source told us that Block was enjoying the meet in the Nike VIP area with Charlie Wells. Wells was the agent for disgraced star Marion Jones and was himself once banned from the sport by USATF for two years.
Nike's response of basically "We don't know how he got in there" is disingenuous for another reason. Another source - a man writing from an anonymous email account claiming to work for Nike - told us via email that Block was in the Nike hospitality suite at the World Champs in Daegu last year as well. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you.
If the sports marketing guys at Nike knew I emailed you I'd be finished there. Great job with the Mark Block expose. I was angered to see him hanging around the Trials. I wanted to inform you that he spent a considerable amount of time at the Nike hospitality suite in Daegu last year, and also was standing for extended amounts of time next to the warm up track in Daegu, just outside the fence that surrounded it. He was usually by himself at the track, which was especially creepy since he'd just be staring at the athletes for hours like a stalker. At the Nike suite, he'd hang out with Chris Layne, which is unfortunate because Chris is a great guy. Not sure why he still associates himself with Block. Also, the list to get into the Nike hospitality and the Nike VIP box at the Trials is tightly controlled. The notion that it isn't is complete BS. Whoever that Nike PR person is who said otherwise is lying.. I'm not telling you anything explosive but wanted to give you a little more scoop and to tell you the Trials was not an isolated incident, it's been going on with Block and Nike ever nice he was banned.
Now this guy wrote us anonymously (allegedly because he fears for his job), so you may want to take it with a grain of salt. However, we do have another source who said they saw Block in Daegu last year; otherwise we would have never published the anonymous email.
Nike claims they don't know how Mark Block ended up in their box at the Olympic Trials. Maybe they should ask some of the highest profile athletes that they sponsor as we bet they'd know. While they are at it, they ought to try to find out what he was doing in Daegu or perhaps even better look into if one of their employees invited him into the box.
From the evidence above, it seems Block is either the world's biggest track fan (who just happens to show up at seemingly every meet Jeter and Richardson are at) or he's still working in the sport.
Or maybe it's all a coincidence and he likes to vacation in Philly in April, Jamaica in May, Eugene in June and Monaco in July.
Maybe he's just in Monaco enjoying the French Riviera. If that's true, hey Mark, we hear London is a great place to go after Monaco.
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