Editorial: Far From Resolved, All Of The Questions Leading To The Uproar About USATF’s Initial DQ Of Gabriele Grunewald Remain

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By LetsRun.com
February 25, 2014

Yesterday, Gabriele Grunewald was re-instated as USA women’s 3000 champion.

Good news we thought.

Now that we’ve had a little time to digest it though, we aren’t feeling good about it all.

All of the questions we had about the DQ still remain.

How did it come about? How do we make sure all athletes are competing under the same set of rules?

The narrowly worded released that went out yesterday from USATF fixes the outcome, but it does nothing to ensure the process is fixed. Going further, it makes no logical sense and by definition can’t be true.

USATF head Max Siegel said yesterday, “Our women’s track & field meet officials, who volunteer their time to serve the sport, made a field-of-play decision based on the video evidence they saw. They followed the process laid out in our competition rules.”

That simply can’t be true.

The Jury of Appeals initially ruled that no DQ occurred. The USATF Rule Book (Rule 119 4a) says once that’s happened, no further action can take place unless ”new conclusive evidence is presented.”

1) By rule, the Jury of Appeals must have received “new conclusive evidence” for Grunewald to be DQd. If that is the case, then she should still be disqualified – after all the evidence is conclusive.

Rules are rules. Fair competition means the rules are enforced, even if fans do not like the outcome. Jordan Hasay can give up her spot to the World Championship team, but the outcome of the race should not be changed because it is unpopular. The rule book specifically states that all decisions by the Jury of Appeals are “final.” Changing the race results because it’s unpopular isn’t fair competition – that is a kangaroo court. With the current resolution, the outcome may be just, but the process is still tainted.

2) If “new conclusive evidence” wasn’t received, then Grunewald should never have been DQd and the rules weren’t followed. You can’t have it both ways.

Let’s use a criminal analogy. (If you want the sports analogy go to the bottom of this artice)*

Jordan Hasay/Alberto Salazar allege an assault by Gabriele Grunewald has taken place. The police look into it and decline to press charges. That decision is protested. A Jury of Appeals looks at it and says, “No assault took place. By law, the case is finished unless new conclusive evidence exists.”

Then the Jury of Appeals comes back later and says, “We’ve received new conclusive evidence. Ms. Grunewald is guilty.”

A national uproar takes place as the Jury of Appeals refuses to release the “new conclusive evidence.” Then to quiet the uproar, Jordan Hasay/Alberto Salazar say, “I’m sorry we don’t want to press charges.” The police then can’t simply drop charges. After all, they have conclusive video evidence a crime was committed.

That’s exactly what has happened in this case. The conviction has been expunged and the governor (USATF head Max Siegel) has now said all rules were followed.

By definition, it’s clear they were not.

USATF and Max Siegel should have a special counsel do an independent investigation into the Gabriele Grunewald disqualification. If such resources aren’t available, at a minimum, then the members of the Jury of Appeal need to publicly state how they made their decision on Saturday night and what evidence they viewed at the various stages of the process.

Today, we will try to contact the two people we’ve been told were on the Jury of Appeals to hear from them what happened on Saturday night. If you know who the third member of the Jury Of Appeals was, please contact us.

Do you want to get involved? We suggest you sign the petition started by the Track and Field Athletes Association calling on USATF to release the “conclusive video evidence” that was used to DQ Gabriele Grunewald.

Tweet comments under the hashtag #USATFchange #integrityofsport

PS. There was another disqualification this weekend after a protest was filed by Alberto Salazar that makes even less sense. It just hasn’t received as much attention as it didn’t involve the race winner. More on that later.

*Sports analogy
Final play of NFL Super Bowl.  Seattle Seahawks come up just short of touchdown. They lose – game over. Pete Carroll throws a challenge flag. Referee looks at video and says, “Challenge overruled”. Pete Carroll is allowed to throw another challenge flag. Referee looks at video and says, “Challenge overruled, again. Game over.” The Denver Broncos are told to go home. Teams and fans leave field.  Pete Carroll is in lockerroom. Finds referee. Throws another challenge flag. Goes into video booth with referee. Broncos coach John Fox wants to go in there too but is told he can’t. Referee rules “Pete Carroll you are right. There is conclusive evidence you scored. You win the game.” Evidence is shown to no one. John Fox asks to see evidence and told no. Fans are outraged. Protests erupt. A few days later, NFL head Roger Goodell says, “The Broncos have won the game because Pete Carroll has withdrawn his protest despite there being conclusive enhanced video evidence they did not. Don’t worry however, all the rules have been followed and this won’t happen again.”

More: Guest Editorial by Olympic Trials Finalist Mark Wieczorek Who Agrees And Says The Key Questions Remain Unanswered
*The Inside Story Of Gabriele Grunewald’s DQ – Insider Access, False Promises And A Violation Of USATF’s Own Rules?