Cycling vs. Floyd Landis: Can Swiss court really tell him what to say?

Guess which of the following Floyd Landis is explicitly forbidden to say about the UCI (cycling’s international federation), Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen, according to a Swiss court ruling (pardon the profanity):

  1. They’ve taken bribes.
  2. They delayed publication of a positive test by Alberto Contador.
  3. They burned LiveStrong bracelets at a cocktail party.
  4. They concealed doping cases.
  5. They’re terrorists.
  6. They’re just like Gaddafi.
  7. They’re responsible for the international economy crashing.
  8. They’re bigger than Jesus.
  9. They load the dice.
  10. They stack the deck.
  11. They’re full of shit.
  12. They have no regard for the rules.

Correct answer: All but 3, 7, 8 and 10. See the ruling for yourself.

Now guess where Landis has to publish a retraction of claims against the UCI and others at his own expense — it doesn’t specify standard ad rate or advertorial deal.

  1. The Wall Street Journal
  2. USA TODAY
  3. The Onion
  4. L’Equipe
  5. Le Temps (Switzerland)
  6. NYVelocity.com
  7. Velo News
  8. Cycling News
  9. De Volksrant (Netherlands)
  10. Velonation

Correct answer: All but USA TODAY and The Onion.

We’d need a lawyer to tell us if, say, NYVelocity.com is compelled to take a Landis retraction. That’s not an idle question. NYVelocity is taking up a defense fund for journalist Paul Kimmage, who faces a similar suit in Swiss court.

“But the only cyclist I know is Lance Armstrong,” you say. “What does this mean to him?”

It means that you might want to be careful about accusing the UCI of covering up a positive test for Armstrong. So in a tangential sense, it’s a “win” for Armstrong, but a slight one.

Landis did not contest the case. Kimmage’s case is due in court in December.

Can any lawyers tell us what Switzerland plans to do if Landis decides paying back the “Floyd Fairness Fund” donations are a higher priority than paying for ads in all these publications?

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