'I know it was sabotage'

Since he began the Raleigh, N.C.-based Sprint Capitol track team in 1999, Trevor Graham has operated under a cloud of suspicion. This past week, star pupil Justin Gatlin, the Olympic champion and co-world record holder in the 100-meter dash, revealed he has tested positive for testosterone or a similar performance-enhancing substance. Graham has placed the blame on masseur Chris Whetstine, whom he claims had a grudge against Gatlin. Whetstine denies any involvement. Graham suggests Whetstine might have been paid by someone to sabotage Gatlin's career. Earlier this week, ESPN.com's Mike Fish sat down with Graham for a lengthy interview. Here is an excerpt of the transcript, as it pertains to Graham's explanation for Whetstine's role in Gatlin's positive test.

ESPN.com: OK, the Relays in Lawrence, Kansas -- what happened there, the positive test?

Trevor Graham: Well, there is a number of things that happened. Victor [Conte] got out [of prison] in March. [In] April, got [doping] control. We don't know how many people are actually behind this thing; but leading up to the Kansas Relays, we had trouble with this masseuse. It is the same masseuse that actually worked with Marion [Jones] and everyone else. And we always had problems; but somehow, he does great work. So we had let him go and was not going to work with him any more. We put on the Sprint Capitol Web site that we were trying to find a new masseuse. [We] get closer to the season, we needed a masseuse and we interviewed different people. None of them had the skills like Chris. So at the last minute, I decided to give him another chance. We called him. We invited him back to the Mt. Sac Relays. He came to the Mt. Sac Relays. When he arrived there, his first thing was like, that motherf----- Gatlin, he is this and he is that. He kept going off about Justin trying to get rid of him. 'He's gonna get his.' I'm like, 'Look, Justin has nothing to do with you. I'm the coach. I'm the one that actually don't want you to work with him, so I made that decision. And I made the decision now to bring you back, but don't come with any BS.' He's like, 'No, it's not you, it's Justin. I know it is him. I heard it is him.' I said, 'Who did you hear that from?' He couldn't tell me.

So we're going through this big argument on the track at the Mt. Sac Relays. That night, he was going out and I asked him. He said, 'I'm going out drinking with some friends of mine.' I was like, 'Who are these friends? You don't know no one here.' He was like, 'Of course, I know some people here.' So he left that night and came back the next morning. After that, he left earlier than us for the Kansas Relays. That Monday morning, he was bitching about his ticket, that his ticket wasn't right. That, 'You guys have me arriving early in the morning and you guys are gonna be sleeping in all day. I got to be sitting in the airport all day waiting for you guys, [you] got me flying out all over the world.' I said, 'We didn't do your ticket' ...

We got up next morning for the relays. We ran the relay. After the relay, they grabbed Justin for doping. But at the relay, there was other groups there, too. Somehow, some of these other groups that was there didn't get tested. Just my athletes got tested, and others. But a particular group did not get tested at the Kansas Relays. And we noticed that. Somehow, when we are going to doping control, Chris stopped Justin and is like, 'Let me massage him really quick, coach.' I was like, 'No, you ain't got to massage it, man. We're going to doping. He just run a relay. What do you need to rub him for? It's a relay. We ain't got no meets coming up in next two weeks. So he'll be alright.' Then, he kept coming at Justin. 'Let me massage it.' Justin was like, 'Let him do his job, coach.' I was like, 'No.' Then, Justin walked over to the massage table and he pulled Justin's pants down. Justin was on the phone, I think. He pulled Justin's pants down to his ankle. Then he told Justin to lay on the table real quick. Justin laid on the table. He pulled a tube out of his pocket, not out of his bag, and then he just squirted a tube on Justin's leg.

ESPN.com: A tube?

TG: Yeah, it was a tube with like an "S" on it, like a crooked "S" on it. I said to him, 'That is not Voltaren.' And he was like, 'Get away. Move back.' So I was trying to get around him now but he already squirted it on him, so then he stuck it in his pocket. I tried to reach my hand in his pocket. And then he just applied it inside Justin's inner thigh and back of his knee. I walked over to him and just gave him this look, like 'What the hell is going on?' He turned his back and kept turning around. So we went on now to doping. I looked back at Chris, and Chris is packing up his table real fast, trying to get on out of there. I turned to Justin – 'Is something wrong with your leg?' He said, 'No, nothing's wrong with it,' so I left it alone. Justin said I was too paranoid.

ESPN.com: What was it?

TG: I'm not gonna -- if you know what is in his body, you'll know what it is.

ESPN.com: A cream?

TG: It is a cream, yeah.

ESPN.com: The same cream that Victor [Conte] had?

TG: No, it is not the same cream Victor had. It is a completely different cream.

ESPN.com: Where do you think it came from?

TG: I think he either purchased it online, or maybe he got it from whoever he went drinking with that night. Or he purchased it himself. Now we're leading up to Doha [where Gatlin equalled Asafa Powell's 9.77 world-record]. To Japan. After we left there, left Kansas, we got home that Monday. The doping people were sitting at the track, waiting to test Justin. After they tested Justin ... they tested Saturday in Kansas, Monday they tested. We got to the Penn Relays, they grabbed him again. They just kept on testing him. They tested him three times in one week. So after we found out, eventually someone probably called them, like they knew something was going to happen. Telling them to keep testing this guy until you find whatever they had put in his body.

ESPN.com: So it looks like someone had alerted USADA [United States Anti-Doping Agency] or somebody that they needed to test him, right?

TG: Yeah.

ESPN.com: Do you know who they contacted?

TG: I don't know. But after you find out certain things, you find out that the person that was selecting him -- that person picking him out all the time -- maybe has something to do with it. Maybe. We're looking at everyone. Right now, everyone is a suspect.

ESPN.com: So do you think this is sabotage?

TG: I know it was sabotage. I don't think it was sabotage at all. I know it is.

Mike Fish is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com. He can be reached at michaeljfish@gmail.com.