Advertisement

IAAF Calls Reynolds’ Judgment ‘Worthless’ : Jurisprudence: It says it won’t comply with court order to pay sprinter $27.3 million and hints it might countersue.

Share via
TIMES STAFF WRITER

One day after a U.S. federal judge awarded Butch Reynolds $27.3 million in his lawsuit against the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the governing body for track and field called the decision “worthless” and hinted that it might take further disciplinary action against the world record-holder in the 400 meters.

In a statement released Friday, the IAAF reiterated that it would not comply with the court order. It also said that it is contemplating a countersuit against Reynolds for libel and an extension of his suspension from competing in the sport beyond Dec. 31.

“In continuing this campaign against the IAAF, he has made a number of libelous allegations about the conduct of the IAAF and its officials,” the statement said. “Initially, the IAAF took no legal action against Mr. Reynolds, regarding these outbursts as representing merely the frustration of a justifiably punished athlete.

Advertisement

“However, at the next IAAF Council meeting, (it) will consider the possibility of commencing proceedings against Mr. Reynolds for libel and taking further disciplinary action under IAAF rules against (him) so that the IAAF may defend the honor and integrity of its members, accredited laboratories, arbitration panel members, medical committees and doping commission members and officials.”

The next IAAF Council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 22-24 at Jakarta, Indonesia.

Reynolds, 28, has been waging a legal battle against the IAAF since he was suspended in August of 1990 for failing a drug test for an anabolic steroid. The length of the suspension was two years, but it was extended until the end of this year because his efforts to have it overturned were considered damaging to the sport. He contends that he is innocent and that his positive test resulted from mistakes in a Paris laboratory.

Responding to the statement, one of Reynolds’ attorneys, John Gall, called the IAAF a “vengeful and vindictive group.”

“It’s hard to tell what they will do now,” he said. “When you consider the maliciousness these people have demonstrated toward (Reynolds), there’s a clear possibility they will never permit him to run again. Or at least try it.”

Reynolds is scheduled to run in the Millrose Games on Feb. 5 at New York and also has been negotiating to appear in the Sunkist Invitational on Feb. 20 at the Sports Arena.

“We’re very supportive of Butch,” said Al Franken, Sunkist meet promoter. “He’s already served his suspension. To extend it because he defended himself in court, that’s incredible arrogance on the part of the IAAF.

Advertisement

“What’s Butch supposed to do, say ‘thank you’ to the IAAF because they suspended him?”

In Reynolds’ lawsuit against the IAAF, U.S. District Judge Joseph Kinneary on Thursday ordered the federation to pay the former Ohio State runner $6.8 million for potential earnings that he has lost while suspended and $20.5 in punitive damages.

The IAAF, which did not contest the lawsuit, said Friday that the U.S. court has no jurisdiction over the London-based federation.

“It has been suggested that the results of these (court) proceedings in some way vindicate Mr. Reynolds,” the IAAF said. “They do not. The only evidence before the court was that of Mr. Reynolds. The IAAF’s position remains that Mr. Reynolds was tested positive . . .”

Gall said the money might be obtained through other channels.

“The IAAF has a lot of business agreements in the United States,” he said. “They make a lot of money here. It is our belief that that money is reachable.”

Gall said that Reynolds’ attorneys could explore the business relationships between The Athletics Congress, which governs track and field in the United States, and the U.S. Olympic Committee and the IAAF, and the IAAF’s relationships with advertisers and sponsors of U.S. meets.

“Until they pay him this money, we can disrupt their ability to carry on business in the normal course, and we will do so,” Gall said.

Advertisement

Material from the Associated Press is included in this story.

Advertisement