Kenyan athletes should be vigilant of entrapment
Major Michael Rotich, the team manager of Kenya’s athletics team in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics games, has had his management career crushed by “entrapment journalism”.
He received a 10 year ban after an IAAF ethics panel found he agreed to give advance notice of drugs tests to athletes and coaches for financial gain.
Undercover reporters, disguised as the coach and manager of a fictional group of athletes, exposed Major Rotich as capable of manipulating the integrity of out-of-competition doping tests in Kenya.
He claimed knowing the local drug testers and capable of manipulating the process by informing the athletes 12 hours’ notice of any test.
Entrapment remains a controversial topic even when if carried out by law enforcers.
The UK-based Independent Press Standards Organization recommends journalists should resort to entrapment “only when they have a public-interest justification for doing so and there are no other means of gathering the required information”.
For some, the journalists should be lauded for exposing the rot in the out-of-competition testing in Kenya. For others, Major Rotich deserves sympathy for falling into a well laid trap by journalists who might have crossed the journalistic line.
The sting operation would have been more credible if it not only took place in Kenya, but also revealed the identities of the local drug testers Major Rotich claimed to know. It is ironic that the rot in out-of-competition testing in Kenya was exposed through a string operation conducted in Brazil.
The motive of the journalists behind the sting operation remain questionable and appears to be part of recent efforts to paint Kenya as a hotbed of widespread doping.
IAAF and WADA should be taken to task over the overtly discriminatory practices when it comes to Kenyan athletes. It is illogical that Kenyan athletes are the target of nearly a quarter of out-of-competition doping tests in track and field.
Growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, our parents warned us to be weary and never talk to strangers. Major Rotich’s coaching career is in tatters for failing to heed to this warning on interaction with strangers. It is easy to sympathize with him since his actions didn’t lead to any doping or cover-up.
Ben Akech is an International lawyer based in Washington, DC