Outside magazine has a fascinating look at the bizarre Twitter war that Floyd Landis has launched against his teammate-turned-nemesis, Lance Armstrong.For the last several months, Landis has been using a fake Twitter account, @GreyManrod, to needle Armstrong and his defenders, posting insults, allegations, and generally messing with the heads of those trying to support the seven-time Tour de France winner.
Grey Manrod is the name of a fake law firm that Landis created after getting sued by the International Cycling Union. It has its own website and everything.
It seems that Landis is a bit of a Twitter freak, starting nearly a dozen fake Twitter accounts to pull pranks and fake fun of his critics. (“I thought it would be funny if I pretended to be someone pretending to be me,” he says.)
Complicating matters even more, Landis often gives away the password to his accounts, letting multiple people post under the fake names. Outside says as many as 10 people could be posting from @GreyManrod at all hours of the day.
Landis says the accounts are satire and they may be protected by free speech, but they could undermine his efforts to bring down Armstrong in a court of law. Landis is a both a potential witness and a plaintiff in cases involving Armstrong’s alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.
There’s also the UCI lawsuit and other legal complications that Landis has been embroiled in since he himself was banned after cycling and stripped of his Tour de France win after failing his own drug tests
Armstrong has long accused Landis of being a jealous and bitter rival with a vendetta against him. All these accounts and tweets make it look like Lance is right. It wouldn’t be hard to convince a jury that Landis is unstable … and an unreliable accuser.
A federal prosecutor says, “No good can come from this, either as a whistle-blower or as a federal witness.” Landis may be hurting Armstrong in public, but he might also be killing the government’s chances of ever bringing him down.
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