When the British are coming, Justin Gatlin will not talk to them.
The 33-year-old American sprinter is boycotting the BBC and other British media outlets. Gatlin and agent Renaldo Nehemiah feel the BBC expressed considerable bias in favor of Usain Bolt, as the Jamaican edged Gatlin in the 100 meters Sunday at the World Championships in Beijing. BBC commentator Steve Cram said Bolt "saved his sport" with his win, and fellow commentator Brendan Foster was videotaped celebrating Bolt's victory. Gatlin also felt the British media focused too many questions on his doping past and not on his current competitive standing.
In 2002, Gatlin received a two-year ban when amphetamines were found in his system. Gatlin contested the presence was due to medicine he took for ten years for attention deficit disorder, and his ban was reduced to one year. After winning the 2004 Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters in Athens, Gatlin received an eight-year ban in 2006 for testing positive for a banned substance. Gatlin claimed the result was caused by a masseur rubbing testosterone into his buttocks without permission. Gatlin's suspension was later cut to four years.
Gatlin has been back in sprinting for five years and won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Despite his age in his return, Gatlin has established himself as a challenger to Bolt's dominance of the sport. Bolt won the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
With a time of 9.79 seconds Sunday, Bolt held off Gatlin, who had a late stumble, by .01 seconds.
After the race, Gatlin received a series of questions about his past doping, to which he responded each time (in Marshawn Lynch-esque form), "I am thankful."
"Justin, as well as I, feel that the British media and journalists have been extremely unkind to him," Nehemiah told the Guardian. "There’s been nothing positive said about him now for some time. Every [characterization] is solely about doping and vilifying him"
Along with Gatlin, three other 100-meter finalists, Americans Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers and Jamaican Asafa Powell, have served doping bans. Gatlin is currently the most successful of the bunch and faces more scrutiny from the media.
Gatlin also saw a heckler hounding his mother during the 100-meter medal ceremony in Beijing. From the podium, Gatlin pointed his finger into the crowd while receiving his silver medal.
"I could see it in my mom's face," he said. "Because she's my mom."
Gatlin's rivalry with the jocular Bolt has been labeled, "Good vs. Evil."
"No one has to talk disrespectful to anybody," Gatlin said of the heckler. "We're just here to run. They pay tickets to see us run. Let us run and do what we do."
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.