An admission of guilt to drug distribution charges yesterday doesn’t represent the person Joe Papp has become, the former rider has said. Papp entered a guilty plea to two counts of conspiracy to distribute performance enhancing drugs in a Pittsburgh federal court.
"What happened today has its origins in a very distant time and place, during a part of my life that long ago closed,” Papp told Cyclingnews. “It's unfortunate in a way, the timing of this announcement, since its somewhat out-of-context and not representative of the person who I've become.
“Having escaped the corrupt system in which doping was a practice as accepted and normal as brushing one's teeth, I strongly believe in clean-sport and for several years have been fighting against doping both publicly and in ways that I simply can't comment on,” he added.
Assistant US Attorney Mary McKeen said Papp earned in excess of $80,000USD between September 2006 and September 2007 selling drugs to 187 cyclists and other athletes. Papp said he’s unable to detail his involvement in the fight against doping since selling human growth hormones (HGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO) via the internet.
“I wish I could, though,” he said. “I'd like to help everyone to understand the enormity of the efforts being made to rid sport of drugs, but prudence and good legal sense dictate that I don't. Nevertheless, this is certainly not an excuse for behavior I previously engaged-in.
“So I acknowledged my guilt for past actions and continue to do my part to ensure that young cyclists aren't led astray into situations where they have to choose between the needle and their conscience," he added.
Papp testified for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the Floyd Landis case, providing accounts of how testosterone gel aided the recovery of cyclists during stage races like the Tour. Papp himself served a two-year suspension for a positive testosterone test during the 2006 Tour of Turkey.