In the continuing saga of the drug scandal with the Iditarod Trail Sled Race, the musher makes a statement and removes himself from next year’s competition.
For the first time ever, officials with the Iditarod Trail Sled Race tested participants in the race as positive for the use of Tramadol recently, and up to this point, the name of the team’s musher has been withheld as officials have not been able to prove intent to drug the dogs.
But now, four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey has come out as the musher whose dogs tested positive, and he’s released a nearly 20-minute video claiming that not only is he innocent, he believes there is a ‘cancer’ in the Iditarod race itself.
Seavey says in his video that he continually asked the officials of the race to release his name, as he knew without question that he did not give his dogs the drugs, nor could they possibly have been given accidentally. Finally, the Iditarod Trail Committee decided to release his identity, but Seavey says this was only because he pushed them to.
Seavey believes that his dogs may have been maliciously given the drugs, in an effort to purposely have his dogs test positive, and make him look bad, and though he’s under a gag-rule with the race, his video statement says that basically everything the Iditarod says is not true.
More, he says that the committee didn’t try to protect him, nor any of the other mushers, in an effort to reduce scandal. Seavey believes that there needs to be more security with food drops and other parts of the race, and that the committee simply doesn’t want to address the problems, and prefer to ‘throw him under the bus.’
Seavey says that in protest for them trying to point fingers at him, he’s withdrawn from the race. He says he won’t fit under a bus, and the board has never liked him for being outspoken and in favor of the mushers instead of the race itself.
The gag-rule says participants cannot speak critically of the race or officials involved, so the Iditarod Trail Committee will have to meet to see whether he faces any penalty. Though they’d already said that Seavey would not face prosecution because no intent could be deemed, Seavey says that’s not good enough because he is innocent and he will not allow the committee to act as if something happened on his watch.
Seavey says in his video that he believes the committee was intentionally ‘leaking’ his name as they were scapegoating him, because they know he was innocent but didn’t want to take measures to increase safety. He believes that the board is making every attempt to make him look purposely guilty, and he cannot stand to have that speculation out.
The Iditarod Official Finishers Club asked for the release of the name of the musher, because they wanted to stop the speculation about all mushers. President of the club and competitor Wade Marrs said he doesn’t believe Seavey purposely administered the drugs to his dogs, saying he had too much integrity and smarts to do something like that before a test. As Seavey says, it doesn’t add up, and Marrs said he doesn’t really know what to think, as sabotage certainly seems possible.
Seavey comes from a family of mushers, with his father Mitch having winning last year, and Seavey following second. He says he has spent 10 years trying to be the best he could in the sport of sled racing, even though he was a wrestler who could have been bound for the Olympics. He thinks that there’s definitely something scandalous and personal against him, and the only way he can get the theory of sabotage from his point of view out.
Seavey asks of his fellow mushers to stand with him and get to the bottom of what happened, for the good of his team, and the sport itself.
There has been no response from the Iditarod Trail Committee regarding Seavey’s video statement yet.
Lori Ennis is a wife, mama and friend to all animals. A self-confessed “Hot Mess,” she lives wherever the Marine Corps takes her husband. Currently, that’s Maryland with her very spoiled Labrador Retriever-mix rescue pups and a ton of saltwater fish just tanking around. Lori’s family has fostered dogs for years, mostly Golden Retrievers, and knows no home is complete without an animal buddy (or seven)!