British cycling was back in the news this week after a Commons committee cast doubt on previous denials by those in and around Team Sky that doping rules had been bent beyond the limits of elasticity. Particular scorn was poured on the country’s first Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, and a Therapeutic Use Exemption he was given to use a steroid to treat his asthma. The committee claimed he used it to enhance performance.
Piers Morgan not convincing the Leveson Inquiry
Before Wiggins could utter a peep in his defence, former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan used the platform given him by ITV breakfast offering Good Morning Britain to launch an attack on the cyclist and all who had supported him in his endeavours. “Sir Bradley Wiggins a knight of the realm, knighted for his services to cycling. A man who is exposed today as ‘unethical’ is the polite way of putting it” he ranted to viewers.
But he was only just getting warmed up. “The MPs have reported that he probably on at least nine occasions took a substantially strong steroid, and it wasn’t for health reasons. This asthma that nobody knew about, he didn’t even tell his teammates about. It was for performance enhancement to help him win. Sir Bradley Wiggins is a flaming cheat. Cheat. And if he doesn’t like that phrase, come and sue me”. That’s an interesting invitation.
Because the Commons committee did not claim Wiggins took the steroid on “at least nine occasions”, they said “up to”. The number Wigging pitched was three. And Asthma UK knows about Wiggins’ condition, as well as listing several other athletes who live with asthma - most or all of whom the public will not know about, David Beckham and Paul Scholes, for example, as well as Jo Pavey and Paula Radcliffe.
Would I like to come on GMB to talk to Piers Morgan? Seriously?
So perhaps ITV could have a word with their Press Establishment insurance policy, as well as reminding him that when it comes to cheating, he is standing in an extremely draughty glasshouse, not least because of what got him sacked from the Daily Mirror.
Morgan ran a front page story about British soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib, backed up by photos which were not only faked, but obviously so. He used the Hank Quinlan defence - the end justified the means. No it didn’t. Out he went.
Worse, when it comes to cheating, Morgan oversaw the Daily Mirror when those working on its behalf were hacking phones on an industrial scale. As Hugh Grant put it after Trinity Mirror stumped up a six-figure settlement for their acts of intrusion into his privacy, “It is clear from the evidence in this litigation so far that … either Piers Morgan and Neil Wallis were so incompetent as not to know the real source of scores of exclusives that they published, or were complicit in the conduct themselves”. Ouch!
Grant also noted that “The Leveson Inquiry was not told the truth”. Morgan’s testimony before that Inquiry was described by Leveson himself as “utterly unconvincing”, which was a restrained way of saying that Morgan was either evading or lying. He didn’t convince former colleagues who claimed he’d cheated over the Viglen share deal scandal, either.
Piers Morgan has no room to call “cheat” on anyone, having done plenty of it himself. And if he has a problem with that, he can come and sue me.