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Your Call: Should Marion Jones’ Teammates Forfeit Their Medals? October 10, 2007

Posted by Marquis Chapman in Sports, Track and Field, Your Call.

 Marion Jones with 5 Medals from Sydney Olympic Games

On Monday, Marion Jones forfeited the five medals she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, after admitting to using steroids.  Jones also agreed to have all other results dating back to September 1, 2000 to be forfeited.

The three gold medals and the two bronze medals won by Jones are to be handed over to the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and then returned to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Chairmen for both the USOC and IOC have expressed that they feel the teammates who won medals with Jones should forfeit their medals as well.  This mean that Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan, Tasha Colander-Richardson and Andrea Anderson would have to give up their gold medals in the 1,600 meter relay. Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson would forfeit their bronze medals in the 400 meter relay.

Should the teammates of Jones be forced to forfeit their medals because they won with Jones or should they be allowed to keep them because it was soley Jones who used steroids?  It’s your call.


1. W.B. - October 10, 2007

Wow… that’s a tough one… in all fairness, yes, the U.S. TEAM should give up THEIR medals and i have two reasons for this: (1) the teams that placed behind USA for these medals would definately want them to forfeit their titles and i’m suggesting this solely on the idea that USA would be HEATED if another country beat them unfairly and also, (2) we like to throw around the phrase “there’s no I in TEAM”, and if we were to ONLY punish Jones… how would team then be spelled?

2. Troy - October 10, 2007

If Jones was the only one who certainly used the steroids, and the rest of the team stayed clean, I cannot fathom a reason why the team should have to forfeit their medals just because Jones was sought out to be a cheater. However, if they had involvement, and truly decided to inculcate the idea 7 years ago during the Olympics, then yes — they should hand over their prized medals.

3. The Mixtape Monster - October 10, 2007

They argued about this on PTI yesterday. I can understand WHY they want the medals back, but me myself….if I was on the team….f**k the IOC, I wouldn’t give back MY medal if I MYSELF didn’t cheat.

I don’t think they should have too.

4. George J. Mitchell - October 10, 2007

Sharps bucket, syringes, IV tubing and empty vials–yes.


They all dope, they all lie, they all cheat.

Nike always wins. LIVE WRONG!

Lance, Marion, Baroid, Kobe, Vick all do.

5. George J. Mitchell - October 10, 2007

No ‘I’ in ‘team’.

But there is a ‘M E ‘, yes?

All TV sports are scripted, doped and fixed BS.

Boycott all Disney, GE, Viacom and Time Warner TV sport shows.

6. George J. Mitchell - October 10, 2007

ps: All of Marion’s track teammates are dopers too! 100%

Regina Jacobs (Balco roids)
Michelle Collins (Balco roids)
Kelli White (balco roids)
Tori edwards (Stimulants)
LaTasha Jenkins (exogenous testosterone)
Justin Gatlin (exogenous testosterone)
Tim Montgomery (Balco roids)
CJ Hunter (Deca Durabolin)
Carl Lewis (stimulants)

7. Melissa - October 10, 2007

I am too torn up about this. It sad that she did what she did, I really thaught she was great; and on her way to being one of the GREATS. I have arguments for both sides of the question and I don’t have a definite answer. It would be the right thing to do for all of the American teams to give their medals back but they worked hard for it and unless there is a way to prove that they would not have won had Marion not been on drugs then I think maybe they should be able to keep them. They did help win the medal

8. Sportsattitude - October 10, 2007

Tough one here. I think W.B. swayed me to have them give the medals back even though I was leaning the other way. You gotta think about the other countries’ teams involved. If the US is “disqualified” everybody moves up one. Period. It is a team event but each individual is charged with the responsibility of staying in their lane, executing hand-offs in the box, etc. Same goes for “off-the-field” stuff like passing a drug test. One teammate fails, the team is penalized.

9. Peter Joachim - October 10, 2007

Lance’s teammate Frankie Andreu confessed to injecting EPO during the 1999 Tour de Farce.

That means Lance’s 1999 win would be DQed, yes?

Oh–and Lance also flunked seven drug tests in that race too!

Some dopers get Nike and media exemptions.

It always comes down to money, politics, and marketing imagery.

10. spartan38 - October 10, 2007

This is definitely a conflicting issue of to what extent America wants to set an example of what will be tolerated in its sports versus individual distinction versus that of a team. The responsible venue would be to strip the entire team of the medals because it is a team “effort” which is composed of individuals in which one or more have an unfair competitive advantage. The team did consist of Marion Jones who had an unfair competitive advantage which leads to an unpure or illegitimate team because she was a vital component to the success. When finishes come down to seconds or fractions of a second, one component or person of a team will lead to a substantial unfair advantage.

On the other side innocent until proven guilty. Should the other teammates have to perish when they have no apparent responsibility for their teammates in making sure that they do not dope. Because they are not required or responsible to hold each other accountable, should they have to give up their medals? The individual aspect is hard to support because in relays it is a team effort which is why I believe that the teammates should give up their medals. It is an unfortunate circumstance but that is the responsible action to take in this situation.

11. Max - October 10, 2007

Why punish the many for the sins of one? Unless they all took steroids( which would’nt be all that surprising in world sport would it?) i do not think they should lose their medals. Jones on the other hand should be banned for life, period.

12. emmettjones - October 10, 2007

I say let them keep the medals. As long as they were truly in the same boat as everyone else (i.e. they didn’t know about Jones’ steroid usage, and they didn’t use it themselves) I don’t think they should be punished.

Especially when, unfortunately, if you start going over everyone with a fine toothed comb, some of those second place teams might be losing their medals as well. There’s too much doping in track and field for people to start getting all “holier than thou”

13. fouledout - October 10, 2007

tough call.. but i guess should return the medals if they played in a team event like relay with jones. but if they won the medals without jones’ help then they deserve to keep the medals.

14. Mr. Insider - October 10, 2007

Problem here is that we have a moral and philosophical dilemna.
Marion is guilty, by her own admission. So be it. Sad, but wrong. She loses everything now, medals obviously included. BUT should her teammates be tarred with the same brush? My position is simple, tho the situation is complex.

1.) IF it is proven that the teammates used any enhancements, they. broke the code of honor. End of story. Medals go back.

2.) IF it can be genuinely determined that Marion made the difference in the gold winning team event, medals must go back.

3.) IF there is no proof of teammates using drugs and if noone can, with reasonable certainty, prove that the team could not have taken 1st place without Marion, therein lies the dilemna. Should innocent teammates (assuming we can somehow prove that) also take the fall by returning the medals, if they were innocent?

4.) I more or less go along with writer Troy’s assessment of the situation: “If Jones was the only one who certainly used the steroids, and the rest of the team stayed clean, I cannot fathom a reason why the team should have to forfeit their medals just because Jones was sought out to be a cheater. However, if they had involvement, and truly decided to inculcate the idea 7 years ago during the Olympics, then yes — they should hand over their prized medals.”

The other teammates MUST speak out clearly and at length with their thoughts, opinions and and facts they can conjure up after so many years. The #12 writer above has a darned good point, too. “Especially when, unfortunately, if you start going over everyone with a fine toothed comb, some of those second place teams might be losing their medals as well. There’s too much doping in track and field for people to start getting all “holier than thou”.”

The challenge here that would let the teammates keep their medals is twofold:

A.) We cannot prove guilt or innocence now as to drug use. Right?
B.) We cannot ever prove the team would have won w/o Marion.

The most ethical thing, given the fact that drugs are pervasive, might be to return the medals, claim total innocence and state to the sporting world the teammates want no part of a medal tarnished by a teammate who helped them win by using steroids. This would be a powerful and positive statement to young athletes, too. OK, someone else’s turn here!

15. Sporting Thoughts Of The Day…At A Fast Pace « Sportsattitude - October 11, 2007

[…] start with the Marion Jones “give back the medals” issue…fellow blogger Marquis @ All Talk Sports has asked folks to weigh in with their opinions on whether or not the speedster’s teammates should give back the medals […]

16. K.C. - October 11, 2007

Unfortunately I see no way around giving the medals back. In the words of a famous ghetto poet : It’s funky, but it’s clean. In legal jargon it’s almost like the ” Fruit of the poision tree” doctrine Collectively these girls are considered one. Whatever fruit was born from a tree if it’s found to be tainted. It’s all tainted. My heart goes out to the other girl’s they did nothing wrong.

17. lilc18 - October 12, 2007

if her teammates knew she was taking steroids then yes they should all forfeit their medals… They are only part of the problem if they did. If not then don’t punish others for one person’s stupid actions. however like many others have said, it’s reasonable that her teamates could have been taking drugs too. If so, hopefully they will come forward, apologize and forfeit.

18. Real Talk TC - October 14, 2007

Awww, Marion Jones. Hurts my heart. Hurts my heart…. (sigh)

19. Billy Martin - October 15, 2007

They all dope and lie.

The medals are all dirty.

Q: Why would an honest athlete want a dirty medal?

A: Because there are NO honest athletes on TV.

Nike says LIVE WRONG! Swoosh.

20. vivian - December 6, 2007

Sorry, but not three components of the team had to be clean……but the whole team had to be clean. They competed as one. If doesn’t even matter if the other teammates knew if she did it or not because the team ended up with an unfair advantage if a party was drugged up. If I was on the team that came in second, and found out that the other team had a drugged up party…..I would definitely want my first place medal. Marion’s teammates should be furious with her for putting them in this situation. It’s sad that they should have to give them back, but it’s definitely not right that the number two team doesn’t have the rightful gold medal.

21. TrackMom - January 20, 2008

I love your site!

Yes unfortunately, the team had a person who cheated ….all pay the penalty.

I will be back!

22. Nemesis242 - January 25, 2008

I have a solution that I think is fair, make an official announcement that because there is no evidence of any wrong doing on their part the rest of the USA Team will be allowed to keep their medals as consolation prizes ONLY but strip the team of the official title and give out new medals to whosevers next in line. If I was an athlete I wouldn’t want a USED medal anyway.

23. matt - July 22, 2008

i say that the team members of marion jones should have to give there medals back only because they worked just as hard as everyone else

24. Udunnknow - December 10, 2009

Clearly this is a team sport is it not? If the baton was dropped all would be dq’d. The realy is like the cogs in a machine. I am baffled about anyone who cannot understand this concept. You win as a team, you suffer as a team. They are not being very mature about it. They NEED to return the medals (they actually mean nothing at this point, they are NOT legit). If her team mates want to sue anybody they could/should sue Marrion…that’s it.

People, the fact that it this long for her to get exposed (and there are probably more) is because sports and politcs ALWAYS mixed at that level.

To “elite” countries like U.S.A, Russia, East Germay (when there was one) they has, and always will be, this belief that if we have the best “system” (capitalism vs Communism) we also wil lhave the best athletes. Do you actually think, that the U.S (with the fattest people on the planet) and Russia (broke ass Russia) inherantly have the best athletes!? Then you are foolish.

U.S athletic body always turns a blind eye to drug cheats, their like double agents. If you do it for the greater good (gold for the U.S) great! But if you get caught, deny,deny,deny..until/if they can prove it accept but we (U.S athletic) bear no connection (ala Marrion).

If Ben Johnson (a friend of mine) was an American, he would be a rich man today. 1. He would not have been caught. 2. His country (Canada) would not have created a wich hunt to make an example of him.

Trust me, team U.S is desperate to “make” a guy that can beat Usain bolt, track ALWAYS goes in cycles. Give them time, they will “manufacture” another champ lol

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