As the old philosophical question goes, if a tree falls down in the woods and nobody’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? Common sense tells us it’s a tree. It fell down. Of course it made a sound.
Similarly, if Lance Armstrong won seven, consecutive Tours de France between 1999 and 2005, yet is suddenly stripped of those titles, did those races actually happen?
This latest news, shocking to some, inevitable to others, and draining to all, came across the wire late Thursday evening. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will strip Armstrong of his titles after the man, once considered the most dominant cyclist to ever slip on spandex, decided to no longer fight the charges. As a result, Sports Illustrated’s 2002 Man of the Year will be banned from cycling for life. Don’t feel bad, Lance. Joe Paterno, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa also won that award. Besides, nobody reads that magazine anymore anyway.
So where does this leave us? For the longest time, Lance got a hall pass. His case is unique in that, unlike Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens whose careers were also marred by drug use, Armstrong eventually got tired of the legal battles. Also unlike Bonds and Clemens, people actually like him. Even though none of us gave a damn about cycling, we revered Armstrong as a national hero and cancer survivor. We always presumed his innocence, or at least we wanted to.
All we know for sure is that, for nearly a decade, Armstrong was the baddest thing on wheels, just like we know that Reggie Bush was college football’s greatest player in 2005, the year he won the Heisman that is no longer in his possession. We also know Penn State University won 111 football games between 1998 and 2011. For varying reasons, the record books will reflect none of these accomplishments.
Since the Melky Cabrera drug suspension, we’ve talked quite a bit lately about stiffening penalties for drug users and whether numbers should also be stricken. Most agree Cabrera should be ineligible for the batting title, but does it even matter? Just like the tree crashing in the forest, those hits happened. What would taking them away even mean?
I think we’re all just numb at this point, yet the drug debate rages on with no answers in sight. What now for Lance? Does he pedal off into the sunset with his empty trophy case and used collection of Sheryl Crow CDs, doing the occasional endorsement for whoever will sign him and continuing to dedicate himself to cancer research?
How has our perception of him changed? Is he still a national hero or is his legacy tainted? Was he unfairly targeted? Is USADA the bad guy or is Armstrong guilty as charged? How do we handle every other sport with a drug problem: baseball, boxing, mixed martial arts, football, the Olympics? Someone get Nancy Reagan on the phone. Do we ramp up drug-testing and the penalties associated with failing one, or do we just give in? Like Lance.
I get where Lance is coming from. He’s as over it as we are, the accusations and the negativity. When it’s all said and done, he has only himself to answer to. But as sports fans, what we’re left with are races that never happened, games never played and records that were never broken. But they did. We watched them. It’s as if we’re supposed to learn some invaluable lesson from all this but we’re still unsure what that lesson is.
Either way, the Armstrong ban is just another dark stain for sports and in its aftermath, the rest of us are just waiting for the next big tree to fall.
Pingback: Armstrong strong-armed, banned from cycling for life - BallHyped, Outdoors | BallHyped Sports Blogs
Referring back to your last blog. So what and who cares? If an athlete wants to ruin his or her body with PEDs, let them. Sports are just entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less. We don’t get down on an aging actor or actress for their own brand of performance enhancing drug of choice, namely cosmetic surgery. It does enhance their performance. So why all of this bullshit outrage when athletes do it? You should end this neverending story and move on to more important topics like, How could Babe Ruth eat 24 hot dogs and drink a gallon of beer between games of a double header and still go 3 for 4 with 2 HRs? Also, while I’m on a rant; if Sebastian, the little 10 year old mariachi singer on America’s Got Talent doesn’t win it all, then I’m convinced that reality TV is fixed.
How many drug tests did he pass again??? I think it was like 200 or more. Now they’re going to ban him on another dude’s testamony? If this is retro then they better go back and look at everyone else because I can’t believe Lance was the lone ranger out there… This is a witch hunt by a bunch of European leg shavers!
BTW I got out to the Trop last Wednesday for the day game… You know I’ve attended games in 9 different MLB parks in my life (Dodger Stadium is in a league all it’s own if you want to know) but it was the first time I’ve ever sat out in what we used to call the outfield bleachers. Other than a loud mouthed broad who made it clear to everyone within earshot that she didn’t want to be there, I had a great time talking with the folks around me. It was KC they were playing and going in I thought sure there wouldn’t be any Royals fans in attendance (I’ve been to Red Sox and Yankee games there and what a shame those fans outnumber the Rays) and wouldn’t ya know it? There was a whole family of Royals followers sitting one row up… At least they were overwhelmingly outnumbered! And the Rays won! The damned Yankees are looming… I just might have to trot back down there in a couple of weeks…
Don’t look now, Snake, but you’re starting to convince me.
Look, I was never one who felt offended or violated when it came out that all those home runs flying out of the ballparks were due to bionic players.
Heck, the sport was either blind, or intentionally trying to mislead us, that they threw that whole “juiced ball” theory out at us. Remember that?
Look, I’m pretty sure Lance will be able to sleep at night.
My question remains though, why did we consistently, as still, give Lance a pass when we crucified all the other PED users?
European leg shavers? I didn’t know there was such a thing.
I’ll tell you what though. We need Wonder Woman’s truth-inducing, golden lariat now more than ever before.
How nice would it be to just know the truth about who did what?
If you hit a game, let me know. I’ll meet you out there.
Best nights for me are Monday and Thursday.
Chris… European men
shave their legs… It’s the women that don’t! LOL!
That must come from driving on the wrong side of the road.
Lance is THE most tested athlete in history. He has never (to my knowledge) failed a drug test.
Is guilt lies in being ahead of the curve. He was using oxygen tents before it was illegal. Now they’re retroactively presuming guilt without due process and smearing his legend for what exactly? I’m not sure anyone really knows.
Next up on the witch hunt list is Greg LeMond…You know the French won’t be happy until every American winner id scratched from the record books.
I think the whole retroactive thing bothers everyone, but again, why are we giving Armstrong a pass and not other “less likeable” guys in other sports that have been accused and never failed a drug test?
The part of me that yearns to know the truth about everything wonders if Armstrong’s actions aren’t those of a guilty person trying to get away with not admitting his guilt. Like there was some new evidence he knew he couldn’t beat so he’s just going to kind of plead the fifth and not have his guilt proven and he’ll just walk away with huge question marks, where most will assume he’s guilty but never admitting it means some will still think he might be innocent or just outright believe that he never doped.
Another, much bigger, part of me doesn’t give two shits. It’s sort of like how there was a period in MLB where it seems like at least half of the league was doing some form of steroid so if anyone put up hall of fame numbers while juicing, it doesn’t taint what they did in any real way because they did it against others who were doing the same thing. The playing field was, more or less, even. From what little I know about cycling, it sounds like there’s a lot of that going on. Meanwhile, as far as I know, Armstrong never actually tested positive and officials have been trying to implicate him for years and years without success. Something like this should’ve been relatively obvious, no? I just don’t care. He’s still one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Chris, I’ve gotta be back down in Clearwater in about two weeks whenever a top for my pickup comes in… Maybe on Monday, Sept. 3rd? It’s a 1:10 PM start daygame, the first of 3 with the Yanks. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested…
Cycling’s governing body International Cycliste Union (ICU) headquartered in Switzerland have done about as much to clean up the sport as the city of Chicago’s efforts to try dislodge Capone and drive him out of that city during Prohibition . They’re now saying until they look at the basis for the USADA’s verdict, then they will take it all under advisement . This same int’l body three years ago suspended Armstrong’s Radio Shack cycling manager Johan Bruyneel for 6 months lying and fabricating evidence .
Now you let me know how much credibility these adjudicating bodies have ? The ICU have been laissez-faire in their approach . The USOC and the USADA simply looked the other way several prominent riders came under ever-growing suspicion . This has more to do with the fact that people have seen Armstrong rise to prominence under a cloud of suspicion. Never mind the fact his charity also has come under a cloud of suspicion . Having raised half a billion dollars ($500 million) how would you feel about this all given the growing criticism ?
And do you really believe that Tyler Hamilton would risk imprisonment having given a sworn affidavit concerning his involvement in doping ? Having been subpoenaed and appeared in front of a grand jury his statement hasn’t wavered concerning he and Armstrong using PED’s and then EPO .
Armstrong must have selective memory , in the same vain as Reagan concerning the Iran-Contra arms’ affair . And Armstrong lawyers are ##it stupid to think that the USADA has no jurisdiction in the matter ! They have every right as a de-facto governmental agency if they believe that the laws of the land have been broken . And though they have no subpoena powers they can conduct an investigation and then use their own lawyers to press ahead with a legal position . The Justice Dept dropped their investigation of Armstrong but consider how inept that department has been concerning a number of big cases and the fact that their ##s has yet to indict any major bank executive on Wall St for their actions .
And Armstrong’s stance that he’s never tested positive . If some of the allegations are true that he’d been forewarned then of course he’d have time to prepare .
Great result last night for the Bucs . Unfortunately the Rays couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain .
It’s not just one guy’s testimony that has hurt Armstrong but several current and former teammates . And many of them gave that testimony having been subpoenaed by federal law enforcement . Who does that knowing that perjury lands them with a minimum of a 5 year sentence courtesy of the FED ? Are fans that naive ?
So the Dodgers didn’t have the cojones to fire Valentine . So instead they bail on their season and propose the trade of Crawford and Gonzalez to the Dodgers in exchange for Loney and some periphery players . What a joke !
I’m on board about Redner providing the entertainment at the Ray J ! If they can’t 55,000 plus for a preseason game . Then God knows what’ll happen during the regular season for the Bucs . How is it that the Bucs can’t get this done even with a new criteria set by NFL hierarchy set about blackouts ? Who the hell is working the Marketing & Sales Dept for the organization ?
I even mentioned that in my piece about the Glazers who it appears are once again devoting more time to Manchester United than they are to the Bucs . Are you in agreement with that assessment ?
You’ve got to pick pocket or two
Should Red Sox didn’t have the cojones …..
Over & under Bucs’ wins for the season to your mind ?
I think it’ll be under 9 !
Replacements refs in the NFL are no better than an arranged blind date . You expect so much more but more often than not it ends up being a major disappointment !
Thanks for the Cut and Paste from over at Full Court. As we discussed over there, I think your sentiments echo pretty much everyone’s on the Armstrong predicament.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow but one we’re quite used to swallowing.
What are you doing leaving your e-mail address on here? Don’t you know you’re now gonna have 80,000 rabid women hitting you up? Or was that your secret plan all along?
Is that game Labor Day? Keep me posted.
I’m not so sure, Al.
It the monies generated by Livestrong helped out advancing cancer treatment at all, who the hell cares how they loaded it in their coffers, no?
And yes, the Bucs looked good but at what cost. They’ve apparently lost Davin Joseph to knee surgery. I was really looking forward to seeing what he could do this season.
I think we all expect this Armstrong thing to get uglier as more people come out to testify against him.
I’m not quite sure what the hell is going on in Boston but talk about a fire sale. Crawford, Beckett AND Gonzalez?!? How much are they paying those guys and are Dodgers fans secretly laughing.
Still not sure why people aren’t going to Bucs games, man. Last night, the weather was perfect, Tom Brady was in the building and they STILL couldn’t get the required 85% to put that game on television.
If you like the Bucs under nine, then you might like them over six, which is their number.
I think I do too.
But consider the damage done now in light of Armstrong’s stance ? For so long he declared his innocence and was prepared to sue anyone who questioned his position . But to me what has been truly telling was the fact the moment his former teammate Tyler Hamilton , gave his sworn testimony, first in a sworn affidavit and then having been subpoenaed by a grand jury his damning testimony did not veer. Armstrong and his lawyers did not go after him (Hamilton) prior to after either cases of his giving testimony . So you tell me what is that everyone here seems to be overlooking concerning this all ?
So much for these prognosticators out there opining with their views without taking note of the real evidence right there in front of them .
Hamilton recently lost the gold medal won at the Sydney Olympics .
Injuries will play a part in the season but overall the Bucs do have some real depth in a number of positions for the first time , in a very long time. Simply look at the roster and their draft picks .
The Rays lose another gut wrenching game today when they had it within their grasp .
So the Red Sox will off load almost $245 million in salary in getting rid of Crawford and Gonzalez in order to get Loney and some peripheral players from the Dodgers . The front office of the Red Sox are so gutless ! They should have fired Valentine because he has brought absolutely nothing to the table at all , as a manager . Instead , as Gonzo was one of the most vocal in his opposition to Valentine he is made a sacrificial lamb along with the injury prone Crawford . What a god-damn mess from start to finish .
And what the ##ck is Aaron Boone on ? His dumb ##s is suggesting that the trade will make the Red Sox competitors within the AL East inside of two years because their farm system will be so much better than that of the Rays and Yankees . I almost p##ed in my pants with laughter when he said that ! ESPN should really get a better class of analysts to provide their viewers with some meaningful insight on the game .
This just in , Goodell will now have scantily clad females officiating the regular season games instead of the replacement refs . He believes it will quell the growing discontent amongst the fans . What do you and your patrons think ? And if they look anything likes these females (tasteful pics I might add) , I might not mind at all !
The Armstrong charity while doing great work . After this , I am not so sure that they will be looked upon favorably ! One way or another Armstrong owes the public a definitive answer rather these now innocuous statements . His image is now damaged beyond repair . The whole world is against Lance but his dumb ##s can’t explain how it is that on several occasions he was forewarned of some of the testing protocols and when and where they were about to take place . People seem to forget Tyler Hamilton stated that in his testimony . Now what ?
Speaking of a fellow Texan and I am genuinely sorry to mention his name ! If Roger Clemens is trying to suggest that this comeback isn’t viewed as a stepping stone to pitch again in the Big Leagues , then he must obviously feel that the public to be that damn gullible . Everything this guys does, is so staged , it is like watching an episode of the frigging Kardashians and their ###king mindless drivel !
I’m having more fun watching the LLWS than I’ve had watching MLB in a long , long time ! It’s an eye opener watching these kids enjoy the game , play with passion and such athleticism . Instead their MLB counterparts come across self-aggrandizing as#holes .
The pain , the joy and then the ineptitude …..
Watching a rerun of ESPN’s OTL and a segue on former NFL player Al Toon . Sobering and sombering stuff .
Toon got “tuned up” way too many times on the field on the field having multiple concussions and now a noticeable speech impediment . And fans are talking about drugs (PED’s ) doing no harm , Ignorance knows no boundaries .
His son Nick Toon is now a wide receiver with the Saints and his concerns are that of his father .
You pretty much summed up all my feelings on the matter Chris. Another great piece.
Like I said re: Armstrong, this case is far from over. I just wonder how ugly it’s gonna get.
The Rays had a tough home series. It looked like Oakland was trying to exact a little revenge for what the Rays did to them out there. And now off to Texas they go. Their nemesis. They can ill afford to get swept out there.
I’m not exactly sure what Aaron Boone or the Red Sox are thinking. Didn’t they just give away the farm to get Gonzalez a few years back?
I think there’s still a group of people out there that have Lance’s back, don’t you?
And I’m not so sure there’s a big league team out there that would take a shot on Clemens, do you?
As much as I know those kids love it, I still can’t get into the little league world series all that much, man. No steroids, he he.
I’ll keep my eyes out for that Toon report.
The damage is done concerning Armstrong . Like I said the Tyler Hamilton story indicates that Lance Armstrong and his lawyers would have a hard time disproving his former teammate’s story (sworn affidavit and subpoenaed testimony in front of a grand jury). What are fans looking at ? They’re like sheep being led anywhere and everywhere . Doesn’t anyone look at the bigger picture overall ? Oh I forgot journalism here isn’t about reporting the story but the journalists interjecting themselves in the midst of this bull#hit . . Cjristine Brennan is a part of that as an apologist for the cyclist .
Brennan’s take on Darla Moore and Condi Rice being members of Augusta was a damn joke .
As for the Toon story , catch Sunday’s segue of ESPN’s OTL. It will probably be re-scheduled for another showing on outlet’s schedule .
That’s baseball still at its best without the loss of innocence in the LLWS . Not that , only that the kids looked like kids and not ‘roided up behemoths .
Why would I have Lance’s back ? His former team manager Johan Bruyneel was under investigation by ICU (Cycling’s international governing body) and in his home country of the Netherlands (Holland). So I’m suppose to overlook that ? Are you kidding ?
I see TO’s stint in the NFL came to an abrupt end . Lasted less than Kim K’s marriage to your namesake . How ’bout that ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!
T.O. tweets he’s ‘no longer’ with Seahawks
The pain, the joy and the ineptitude
I’m pretty sure Lance got a pass because he’s a cancer survivor and one tough s.o.b. The p.e.d.s were part of his recovery and in my opinion his comeback was a great story, but he just wore out his welcome. I can’t really fault the man, it’s just the way of the world.
So neither TO and Ochocinco made a roster this year. And ESPN spent HOW much time talking about them this preseason?
I miss the day when news was news.
So, Aer, you think if he would have quit while he was ahead, there wouldn’t have been this much of a witch hunt?
Yea, I think he might have rubbed some people the wrong way by his inability to step away from the spotlight. But on the other hand, what the hell do I know?
News is news ! LOL,LOL, !! Tampa is basking in the limelight with the RNC convention while they kick the thousands of homeless off the streets to create the perception that the city is so pristine ! How nice of Bob Buckhorn and the city council to deal with the homeless in such a way .
The harm has been done with regard to Armstrong’s Live Strong Foundation as over time the donations will start to fall-off . The cyclist’s world was bound to come crashing down , as he has been far too secretive concerning this matter . And as I said , if he was so resolute with regard to defending himself then why didn’t he slap former teammate Tyler Hamilton with an injunction ? Answer me that if you can ? Everyone overlooks that by saying everyone is hating on Lance Armstrong without fully understanding all of the underlying issues .
The Bucs will be hit hard by injuries never mind the fact that Schiano has to now start to whittle down the roster from 95 to 73 and then to the final 53 players to make up the final regular season player roster .
Dropped this piece .
You can only continue to kick the can so far down the street
Trump is meant to be folliclely challenged and he still remains a pompous ##s ! I see the Rev Phelps and his Baptist bigots (protesters) have been welcomed with open arms within the city of Tampa ? How the ##ck can that happen given the ethnic makeup of the city ?
TO cut , Ochocinco cut , and now Vince Young ? Whatever happened to the days when the NFL allowed douche-bags like that trio to earn an honest living ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!!
Drew Rosenhaus by hook or by crook , will make sure that Ocho and TO will end up on someone’s roster . Takers quite possibly for those circus clowns , Jets , Cowboys or the Raiders . LOL,LOL,LOL !!!
Interesting, Aer, because we complain when people like Barry Sanders, Sandy Koufax and Jim Brown retire in their prime and we complain when people hang around and extend their careers too long.
I guess we just like to complain, huh?
I hadn’t heard that but it sounds like he took a page out Giuiliani’s playbook to do that. Isn’t that what he did to clean up the city?
I’ll be over to check out your latest later on but yea, the Bucs are going to have some important decisions to make, like who they get to replace Davin Joseph and how many of those wide receivers and linebackers they are actually going to keep.
Even though 53 seems like a lot, you can’t keep deadweight like TO or Ocho around. Heck, they didn’t even make the first cut.
Let’s cut Rosenhaus while we’re at it. Next question!
Drew will now spend his time recruiting on the campus of the Canes because not a god damn thing has changed since the Nevin Shapiro revelations .
Buckhorn is an a#s ! He kicks the homeless to the curb , while Fred Phelps and his bunch vile bigots can march and protest with the city limits of Tampa ? (Phelps is the baptist preacher who says the US now condones homosexuality while calling fallen US military servicemen and women f##gots and STD’s ridden homosexuals and lesbians) . How does that equate with you and your patrons ?
Guiliani’s playbook ……….. Ahmadou Diallo’s family were so inspired to know that their unarmed son was shot 67 times on his stoop (having just finished his graveyard shift) by NYC policemen with the then Mayor Guiliani then going on tv suggesting that the victim was a hardened felon . Hardened felon ? As a 12 year old , Diallo’s whose only mark against him was that he got busted for for shoplifting candy from a bodega .
That sums up Guiliani as a conceited a## wipe , hence his failure in 2008 and his GOP Presidential run and his backing of then NYC Police Chief Bernard Kerig who we later found out had ties to organized crime in the tri-state area .
At least throw me a bone of credibility on some front concerning the true mendacity of a politician , Chris . You having an off day ?
Another loss (1-0) for the Rays as they slip down in the wildcard standings of the AL race .
Shields pitches a gem but gets no damn run support . What’s up with that ? It’s a constant theme with Rays . The only thing that seems to be helping them nowadays is their defense at times .
Let’s see what the Bucs are capable of doing tonight ? And as I said in the comment I left you in my piece when was the last time the Bucs sold out a home game at the Ray J ? Your answers please , if you have time to do the research ?
All of this talk about baseball and the fact that Major Leaguers have been busted at the top ranks ? What’s even more indicative is the number of players since 2010-12 from AAA on down to single A. If that’s not enough of an indicator to tell you that their policy isn’t enough of a deterrent then what is ? If players are still willing to risk it all and the penalties still are not tough enough ! Like I said a monetary fine a 100 game ban right off the bat , with a second offense meaning a lifetime ban . It’d make these guys sit up and take notice . Rather than diapering their a#s and wet nursing them as if they spoiled kids !
So I ask you once has what has the baseball hierarchy actually solved at this juncture ? Baseball has no backbone what soever ! It’s asinine to suggest otherwise !
All I’m saying, Al, was that Giuliani did the same thing with the homeless in New York. He gave ’em a bus ticket and told ’em all to get the hell out of his city.
I heard a disturbing statistic the other day, man. The Rays have lost ten of their last eleven one-run decisions. These guys gotta start hitting. A week-long winning streak is nice but Maddon has to be hoping, if not dreaming, for a little more consistency out of that lineup.
I’ll see if I can find out when the last time the Bucs sold out a home game. I’m guessing about three years ago, or is that wishful thinking?
And what has baseball solved, Al? You and I both know the answer to that question.
Clue to that answer concerning the Bucs , check the last time the local broadcast affiliate televised a regular season game of the Bucs .
Speaking of the Bucs another pitiful performance by team going down 30-3 against the Redskins. Second , third or fourth stringers , there was no excuse for such an abhorrent display ! There was a stretch where the Bucs went through a series of 8 plays for a minus (- net gain) net gain of 55yds . WTF is that about ?
Times are a changing but not necessarily for the better
Let me know what you think when you’re ready ?
Today’s boxscore said there were 56,000 fans in FedEx Field last night for that Bucs-Redskins game.
Not from what I saw on TV.
And I honestly think Schiano was using that game more to evaluate his fringe talent, of which there appears to be none.
Be over in a bit to check out your latest.
Given the so called talent at Schiano’s disposal the 2012 draft choices of coach could well turn out to be one of the worst in Bucs” draft history in recent years .
Second , third or fourth stringers there should be no excuses for such an inept performance by the Bucs against the Redskins in losing 30-3 .
56,000 at Fedex Field ? No way ! That figure for attendance was probably closer 40,000 if that .
Is it me but are the Rays now looking to play themselves out of contention for a wildcard berth by allowing the likes of the Orioles and A’s to surpass them in the standings ? The 2-0 loss to the Blue Jays was really telling !
So now all of a sudden Jimbo Fisher has the ‘noles as legitimate BCS national title contender this season ?
It could well be, that this season the ACC isn’t all it’s cracked to be .
Further reiterating what I’d already mentioned in my piece concerning the replacement refs in the NFL and how the odds-makers in Vegas will now view the games and the spreads .
See the following link and then let me your thoughts on the matter .
Courtesy of USA Today
Now what ? Goodell and the league hierarchy through league spokesperson Greg Aiello still do not get . while denigrating the referees’ union . Let’s see how long this idiocy will transpire ! At the same time can you imagine the anger of an owner if their team misses the playoffs or loses a game because of an on the field error by one of these buffoons (replacements refs ) officiating an NFL game ?
Stats concerning Rays’ losing one run games ? You find that surprising ? Like I said the offense has not been providing the pitching staff with any run support whatsoever . But yet you have these idiot analysts still opining that Longoria’s return will make a big difference to the Rays’ play. It hasn’t really happened as of yet . And they cannot continue to think that Longo’ can and will be big of a difference maker . Those types of performances we tend to see come nowadays usually happen when the likes of Josh Hamilton , Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols and Curtis Granderson are ” knocking the hide ” off the ball . And when I last looked Evan Longoria wasn’t doing that for the Rays .
Did Clint (Eastwood) make your day with his speech at the RNC Convention ?