Okay. I know this is unpopular and I have a feeling I’ll get some flack but oh well.
From what I understand, and I think I understand it pretty well, 14 players from the Cronulla Sharks have been suspected of taking performance enhancing drugs (you gotta love the amount of buzz around the word “peptides”) and have been given the opportunity to accept six month bans, right now, and they will still receive pay during their suspension. If, after further investigation, the players are found to be guilty, they will be punished with two year bans without pay. My knowledge says that no one has accepted the six month ban and they will all take part in the investigation.
The evidence hasn’t been properly presented yet and we’re hearing some mixed reports. Many people are of the opinion that it’s not the player’s fault. They blame it on the footy culture – players do what they’re told by people in admin or positions of power (coaches, GMs, etc) and they do it without question.
Sorry, but that’s ridiculous. Ban all the players.
These people are not Jason Bourne. They are allowed to question they’re orders. They may run the risk of being delisted or not playing that week, but that’s what the RLPA, and any players association for that matter, are for – to protect the players. (Note: if it does come out, however, that the players did report it and the RLPA ignored it, which is suspected in the AFL case, then I have to change my tune. But until that time, my opinion stands because I doubt that’s what happened.)
Ignorance is no excuse – it NEVER flies. For example, I know someone who was fined 300 euro because they wore a dress that showed their knees into a church in Italy. And how many times do we hear reports on TV of someone being arrested and claiming it was because they didn’t know it was against the law? (Southeast Asia and the Middle East being common locations) That’s the problem – we give people too much leniency. You may not have known, but it’s your job to know.
How hard is it to ask questions? And how hard is it to Google a substance? I’m sure all players have a copy, or access to a copy, of the banned substances list… how hard is it to check it? And seriously? Injections? Were there no red lights going off in your head? People never want to take responsibility for their actions, and it’s gotten absurd.
Do I think that the people involved in the administering of the drug should have harsher penalties? Yes. Of course.
But should the players be punished as well? Absolutely.
They have been given the opportunity to take the six month suspension, from which they can easily recover. Sure, they miss a season, but their reputation remains in tact and I (personally) admire them for admitting that they were stupid enough to take people at their word (some people are just too trusting). But if they wait and are found guilty which, if the news is any indication – they will -, then they’ll be gone for two years. It’ll ruin their reputation and I doubt anyone will want them when they come back. It will also take it’s toll on their talent and game. Some of these guys are getting old (I’m looking at you, Paul Gallen) and they might not come back – and it would be a shame to end your career on that note.
So go ahead, ASADA – ban ’em all. They’re not idiots. They should have known what they were doing and they need to be held responsible.
It pains me to say it, but that will have to happen at Essendon, as well. Granted, the news around Cronulla has put Essendon on the back burner, but it will eventually resurface and there will be a similar situation. Those boys better start planning their strategy.