Monday, July 20, 2009

COMMENTARY: Mayfield Becoming More Difficult To Believe

The three-ring circus surrounding suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield has taken on a life of its own, dragging Mayfield and the sport itself into a Springeresque black hole of baseless accusations and mindless shouting.

It all happened quickly; so quickly that many of us aren’t quite sure how we got into this mess, much less how to get out. Recall that on February 19th of this year, Mayfield Motorsports crewmember Paul Chodora was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. Mayfield responded with a glowing endorsement of that policy, saying, "Mayfield Motorsports respects the decision by NASCAR to indefinitely suspend Paul Chodora. We as an organization appreciate NASCAR's drug testing policies and policing efforts, as (they) make the sport stronger overall. If Paul doesn't comply with NASCAR's reinstatement process, then he will no longer be an employee of Mayfield Motorsports."

Just five months later, Mayfield’s viewpoint has twisted 180 degrees. After once demanding that his employee follow NASCAR’s reinstatement requirements to the letter, Mayfield now refuses to do so himself. In his words, "I don't need to go to rehab, because I don't have a problem."

After once applauding NASCAR’s drug enforcement effort for “making the sport stronger,” Mayfield now alleges that it is fatally flawed by design, and even corrupt in its execution.

After initially basing his defense on the possibility of a laboratory mistake, Mayfield now accuses NASCAR of intentionally “spiking” his urine sample in an effort to drive him out of the sport. No evidence has been offered to support those claims, and one can only wonder how his attorneys feel about their client undermining their carefully crafted defense with an escalating series of wildly outlandish claims.

Mayfield questions the veracity of NASCAR’s official laboratory, Aegis Labs. He claims to have undergone approximately 15 drug screenings since his suspension, with only the NASCAR-mandated tests producing positive results. Unfortunately, all we have is Mayfield’s word on that, since virtually no documentation has been produced.

He and his attorneys did produce a test from a company called LabCorp this week, showing no discernable levels of methamphetamine in the subject's system. Unfortunately, Mayfield’s name does not appear anywhere on the document. In addition, the test results found no amphetamine levels in the sample. Amphetamine would almost certainly be present in a subject who -– like Mayfield -- is taking prescription doses of Adderall for a diagnosed case of ADHD.

What specific tests were performed by LabCorp, and by whom? Were proper procedures followed? At present, we just don’t know.

If Mayfield has indeed passed more than a dozen drug tests, he and his attorneys should do what NASCAR has done; entering the complete results of those tests into the court record, and answering all questions about where, when and how those tests were conducted.

More than a week ago, NASCAR requested that Mayfield and his attorneys select a laboratory to test the B sample from his latest (July 6) drug test. That test has still not been performed, because none of the labs chosen by Mayfield are able to distinguish between methamphetamine and the combination of amphetamine (Adderall) and pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D). If Mayfield is as clean as he claims to be, he should welcome to opportunity to show the world exactly what is -- and isn’t -- in his system. His refusal to do so raises serious questions about his innocence.

I want to believe Jeremy Mayfield. I really do. He’s been a frequent guest and good friend to Sirius Speedway over the years, and never impressed me as a guy wandering around with a snoot full of meth.

But these days, I’m not sure what to think. It’s all become so… bizarre.

Just minutes after talking about the “humiliation” of peeing in a cup in front of medical professionals, Mayfield announced that he has a full-time video crew documenting every minute of his life; presumably even in the loo.

Days later, he called stepmother Lisa Mayfield – who testified that she saw her stepson snorting methamphetamine at least 30 times over a seven-year period -- “a whore” who “shot and killed” his father, Terry; officially a 2007 suicide victim.

He vowed to serve Lisa Mayfield with a wrongful death suit last Thursday, then didn’t.

He openly implied that NASCAR Chairman Brian France is a drug user, saying, “France… talking about effective drug policy, is kind of like Al Capone talking about effective law enforcement.”

I’ve looked everywhere I can think to look, and found no evidence to support anything Jeremy Mayfield says. No proof, no documentation, just a series of wild accusations from a man who seems to be spinning further and further out of control.

It’s all terribly sad, and it’s becoming harder to believe every day.

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