Indianapolis attorney and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency general counsel William Bock III, who was part of the team that exposed cyclist Lance Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing substances, is one of four Americans selected to receive an award recognizing ethical leadership in the business and professional communities.
Bock, a partner at Kroger, Gardis & Regas LLP, was presented the Being a Difference Award for his work with the agency that ensures athletes are not using banned substances to gain a competitive edge.
“I’m much more of an ethical follower than an ethical leader,” Bock said after receiving the award during a brief ceremony Tuesday in the KGR offices. He said the award rightly belonged to the USADA as an organization, and he credited his family, faith and professional colleagues he said reinforced values of a “moral community.”
“I’m deeply indebted to those I followed,” he said.
Alongside his wife, Tracy, also an attorney, and four of their five children, Bock was joined by officers of the USADA who he said persevered in the Armstrong case in the face of massive public pressure.
Like law firms that sometimes take a “bet the company case,” he said, “the Armstrong case was that” for the agency. Staffers encountered death threats for pressing the case against a cultural icon, but they knew that failing to follow through with evidence of the former Tour de France champ’s doping could ruin the agency’s credibility.
Agency officials, Bock said, were “guided by an ethical compass. … Ethical decisions will not always be popular ones,” he said.
The award was presented by Alfonzo Alexander, president of the Center for the Public Trust. “We watched what was going on in the Lance Armstrong case and how strong the media onslaught was” and initially critical of the USADA’s investigation. Bock and the agency, though, “said no, we have to do what’s right in this case.”
Beyond the Armstrong case, Alexander said the center found Bock had demonstrated a high level of ethical conduct throughout his career. “That really said, this guy is being a difference,” Alexander said.
USADA Chief Executive Officer Travis Tygart was among officials who received death threats from Armstrong fans – including some who were prosecuted. Even in such tough cases, Tygart said Bock is “not going to be afraid to get down in the trenches and do what’s right.”
Read more about Bock’s honor in the May 20 edition of The Indiana Lawyer.