This website has always been about sports other than AFL, however the verdict of “Not Guilty” by the AFL’s internal Anti Doping Tribunal into the alleged doping of players at Essendon Football club has caused us to dedicate one story to this issue.
First of all was any other outcome ever likely? Seriously, were the AFL ever going to find a club as big as, and with as much history as Essendon guilty and then possibly have to expel them from the competition? For those outside of the tight-knit AFL propaganda wheel this was never going to happen.
Despite not covering this sport, it has been common knowledge amongst most people in the media that the drug testing in the AFL has been some of the slackest in Australian sport. Rumours abound of clubs being tipped off that certain players are due to be tested and the clubs telling those players not to come to training, so they cannot be tested; another player then being tested in their place. Why have they not gone to said player’s house and tested him? Then there were rumours of players who did test positive being told that they had a “hamstring strain” and would have to sit out a few weeks until they could be tested again and were clean.
The Tribunal found that there was “insufficient evidence” to uphold the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s belief that the 34 past and present Bombers were injected with the banned drug Thymosin beta-4 during 2012. Which many will read to say there was evidence, but the AFL felt not enough to tarnish their competition or expel one of their top clubs.
Not surprisingly the Australian Sports Anti Doping Association (ASADA) were very disappointed with the findings; although they honestly cannot be surprised as when it comes to this sport in Australia the normal rules do not apply. After all it is called our “national game” when clearly other sports have far more right to be named as such.
ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt has said that he was disappointed by the decision and still insists that Essendon’s behaviour in 2012 was “absolutely and utterly disgraceful.” “It was not a supplements programme but an injection regime and the players and the fans were so poorly let down by the club,” he said in a statement released by ASADA. ASADA will hold a press conference tomorrow and still have 21 days in which to take up the right to appeal the decision, although one wonders what good that will do.
So as a sports fan do you believe this verdict? We would love to hear what the average fan thinks, and whether the AFL by reaching this decision have in fact further harmed their credibility.