Thursday, March 12, 2009

Follow-up on "Foundation Shenanigans"

I'm having a difficult time with the Foundation Shenanigans issue I discussed last week. I have a problem in that I think know that the Taylor Hooton Foundation is trying to do everything they can to educate kids about steriod usage. I couldn't be more supportive of their mission. But when I see some things that don't jive with what I have been told, I'm both disappointed and concerned. **

You see, at the bottom of the original linked-to story, it was noted:

After the initial publication of this article (on February 20th, 2009), it was removed and slightly altered from it's original form. The Taylor Hooton Foundation has removed any and all information gained from the Association Against Steroid Abuse from their own site, and expressed thanks to Anthony Roberts and for alerting them to the situation.
In a follow-up, after chatting with their attorneys, I wrote this:

I spoke with the attorney who represents Don's Foundation. He stated that Don "emphatically had no clue about Mr. Clapp's background." When Don initially started doing research, he was doing internet searches and came across Clapp's "Association Against Steroid-Abuse" and some articles that appeared to be legitimate. Don apparently did not know that Clapp was moonlighting as a steroid pusher. Don also vaguely remembers his chat with Anthony Roberts and fully admits that he didn't do enough due diligence.

Since then, the representative claims, they have revamped the Foundation's leadership, now chaired by famed WADA leader
Dr. Gary Wadler. Also on the board is James Whitehead (CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine). Per the representative: "This little foundation outspends all federal anti-steroid programs by a factor of 10."
All of that sounds just perfect and I was content to leave it at that. I really was. (I invited myself to the next Hooton Foundation "Chalk Talk" event at Yankee Stadium. I'd love to have them to present to my local schools. I invited those who were good enough to comment as an "interested party" to contribute to this site. Those invitations are still open. I'd love to have a guest posting from someone within the steroids industry, no matter what side you are on.)

Except, remember the quote above: "The Taylor Hooton Foundation has removed any and all information gained from the Association Against Steroid Abuse from their own site"? Here's the problem: It's just not true and it bothers me that I have to resurface this.

If you visit the Foundation's site (screen shot to the right; click for larger image), you will see what seems to be an intelligent, well-informed, well-written essay on "Steroids and Women". Had I been researching this topic and came across this article, I would have, like the THF, been thrilled to see something so thorough. However, if I was then informed that the author, the Association Against Steroid Abuse, was in fact a front to a pro-steroids outfit, I would not use them as a source. The original reporter was told by the THF that all Association Against Steroid Abuse references were removed and I was told the same. Yet, there it is, plain as day (in the red box on the screen shot):

Credit for this article: Association Against Steroid Abuse, 2008
The article is so well done, so well-researched and so well-presented. Good enough to lull anyone into not questioning the veracity of the source. Except if you've already been told that the source is bad news.

There was a comment from the original posting that piqued my interest and maybe they can consider this as a plan of action:

"Clapp is apparently operating his business under the government radar right now, and Hooton could really shed some unwanted light on him, if he chooses to (instead of just having his lawyers run PR campaigns on the internet for him)."
There's a rat living under your nose. You've been told it's there. Time to do something about it.

** [The title of a chapter of a yet-to-be-written book belonging to my father goes something like this: Ethics is a necessity but is only self-definable. It's pretty simple but it helped me decide whether to go ahead with this or not. Maybe we'll write that book someday. The chapter topics are damn good.]


The Common Man said...

That's really odd. Is this just the last vestige that they overlooked or has the foundation decided not to distance themselves from the AASA? And if not, why? If you get some kind of explanation, Jason, I hope you'll share.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

What's their reason for leaving it in?

Laziness? Could be. Maybe they will say "we thought we took all reference off the site. Thanks for alerting us to this"

Ambivalence? Doubtful, especially if you heard their attorney's reaction to their originally learning of the tie to pro-steroids sites, as told to me.

Deceit? Again, I will take the high road and say that I doubt there is anything deceitful going on.

But more importantly to me would be for the THT to use their platform (ie: A direct line to Congress) to have someone with some authority take a look at what Clapp & Co. are up to.

lar said...

It's a good question, Jason. And, not that I'm excusing them from blame or defending them, but I can easily see it being an honest mistake.

At my job, one of my responsibilities is to keep the office's web site up to date. the website was built long before I got here, so I couldn't say that I knew every page that was on the server (that was especially true when I was new). If someone had asked me to remove all mentions of something specific, I could very easily have missed one or two things, especially if they weren't too obvious.

Of course, I know that that is a limitation, so I always do my best to be extra thorough when going through the website. But it's not out of the realm of possibility, that's for sure.

Now, I'm one who tries maybe a little too hard to give people the benefit of the doubt most times, so maybe I'm stretching. Who knows? But, absent any other information, I can see this as a likely excuse

Jason @ IIATMS said...

I agree, Lar. Maybe "laziness" is too strong, maybe it's accurate. But I don't think there's a malevolent rationale behind it.