I’m not sure I understand Freeman trying to pin this on Sutton, and Sutton not playing ball.
Boiling it down is it fair to say the truth is either:
Freeman’s original story is to believed, they were ordered in error and he tried to cover it up. In which case it all gets pinned on Freeman and he loses his licence. Presumably this is Sutton’s/BC/Sky’s preferred outcome?
They were for Sutton’s floppy weiner, but how does that help Freeman? Isn’t the problem the cover-up which he’s already admitted?
They were for some other non-rider who for some reason Freeman isn’t offering up. This doesn’t even make sense unless Freeman thought it would be fun to go with option 2 for the japes
They were for a rider. Both Freeman and Sutton are trying to stop that getting out but trying to pin the blame on the other fella
My guess, based on no inside information at all is:-
Sutton tells Freeman “Order this gear, we all used it in my day and it was great. Never had any bad effects on me”
Physio discovers the delivery and reports it to Peters
Freeman falsifies evidence to prove that he sent the stuff back
Freeman gets caught
Freeman doesn’t want to implicate riders so tells half truth - “Shane made me order the gear, but it was for his personal use”. He probably thought that there was no way that Sutton would leave his villa in Spain to attend a GMC tribunal.
Sutton takes issue with the fact that his masculinity is being called into question and attends the tribunal with all guns blazing
Freeman has admitted that the original story isn’t true, there was no error but he is now saying he was bullied into it by Sutton (who is plausible scapegoat as he is a bully). The GMC have an endocrinologist witness, who will likely state that there was no clinical need. Seems to me that Freeman was thrown under the bus initially with the book as a ‘golden handshake’. But now Sutton is being thrown under too. Steve Peters will have to deny everything. But so many questions to be asked about how it really was and the possibility of someone cracking and it all come crashing down. If Peters is the phsyciatric genius how did he not stop Sutton’s bullying? How did Sky/BC not notice medical records not being there? Atention to detail, with all this gong on, you can’t have it both ways? etc.
Does anyone really think the patches were for Sutton?
The defence is on why he should keep his medical licence (which I don’t understand anyway, what exactly is he going to do with it, why not just let it go, cut his losses?) is that he was bullied into ordering it - so the questioning is about proving that Sutton is a bully, presumably they can’t suggest athletes used it ('cos he was their doctor so should have known if they were taking it, and no-one is going to go for it) So they have to suggest that Sutton bullied him into purchasing it for him, it’s possible the questioning was designed to get a rise out of him to make him seem bad.
Certainly sounds like Shane Sutton is a piece of work. If Freeman was under a lot of undue pressure, he should have taken steps to cover his back if it was happening consistently.
I have no idea what transpired and whether or not Freeman is an okay guy, or a bit dodge; but surely when stuff like this happens at work, and intelligent grown-up takes steps to insulate themselves from any fallout. I’m not saying whistleblowing, I’m saying you have smoking guns to pull from your arsenal if the need should ever arise. Even if that’s just used as leverage out of court.
Can’t help but think of Jess Varnish and all the people that tried to say she was the delusional one. And no wonder Victoria Pendleton is as bonkers as she is. Why does sports coaching attract these sorts of people? That ego boost saying they’re ‘my athletes’, or the ‘living through the athlete’ aspect. It’s very strange.
Who knows who was trying to protect who. But history repeating itself in the same timeframes, as the USPS/Radioshack/Astana empire came crashing down, the BC/Sky empire does too. If there’s money to be made by a few then the scandals will follow.
For all the big budgets and corporate speak, I suspect normal HR processes and standards are a bit thin on the ground in an elite sports team like BC. Results are everything and if you don’t produce, you’re out on your ear.
TBH if there is dodgy stuff going on there, I’m surprised that no one apart from Jess Varnish has spilled the beans so far. They take 6 or so kids into the academy every year and only a small proportion of them become the stars who win Olympic medals and ride for WorldTour teams. There must be lots of people who’ve not made it and been spat out into the real world with nothing to show for their years of hard graft.
I think that’s elite (amateur i.e. national team) sport.
Rowing at Caversham is the same. Squad and then team selection is brutal and if you don’t make it you’re out.
Most people who enter that world know what they are signing up for (it’s not employment and doesn’t have HR processes and the like, it’s elite selection based on merit at the point in time of selection.)
Only one cyclist has really had a hissy fit IIRR, and only one rower (who tried to sue the national team for not giving him a fair trial or something similar.)
And I think that’s a poor excuse that the federations hide behind. Sportspeople don’t really “choose” to go in that direction. It’s a conveyor belt that they’ve been on since they were really young and the safeguardsare in place as kids, but as soon as they’re 16 or so and get “professional” contracts they just become pawns of the system. But the key is the word - contract. The federations really need a better duty of care system
It’s endemic throughout professional sport. Some people thrive and some people just sink. It’s another one of those questions that is without an easy answer.
I think this world also protects coaches like Shane Sutton because these athletes have no other guide and because it’s so common and they’re in the system for so long, this behaviour is accepted as normal and ‘that’s just how it is’. They also control so much, which leads to the veiled threats to athletes of loss of funding etc etc. So very complex
I think Pendleton’s issues go a lot further back. In a documentary I saw she said something along the lines of getting into racing so that her father would love her more when she won, in comparison to her brother.
I think perhaps you are focusing on cycling.
With my rowing example, Caversham is the national training centre for the senior oarsman (not juniors or U23s). If you prove yourself in the club or university system (there are clubs which are centres of excellence that aim to develop talent to a standard that they can try for the national squad) then you might get asked to come and train in the squad at Caversham.
There’s no conveyor belt - at least none that people feel they are stuck on - and people aren’t given funding contracts until they are in the squad and have produced the goods.