I will start with a noise: UGHHHHHHHHHHH.
I know I am late on this but, like I mentioned, I had finals so here it (finally) is.
Firstly, I almost started reading when I read this: a number of individuals key to a full analysis of this period, have been unavailable for interview. Now, I am going to assume they meant Stephen Dank, but who knows? There could have been many, many more people unavailable.
Secondly, I have talked about this topic before and you all know my opinion on the situation. I think everyone is to blame: players, coaches, medical staff, presidents and GMs. I can’t imagine that no one had an issue with injections and if no one did… then the AFL needs to talk to someone about that because that is pure stupidity. Also, one of the things dominate in the review is the lack of documentation. Let me tell you something: I HATE WHEN PEOPLE DO NOT DOCUMENT THINGS. One of my favourite jobs was at a medical supplies company and they documented EVERYTHING. While it was a pain to enter information into four. separate. programs… I could always find information later because it had been documented. That’s the point – to be able to trace ANYTHING. And if I had to do it even to sell some paper to a hospital, why shouldn’t they have to do it for ADMINISTERING DRUGS? (I love my caps lock button – can you tell?)
So here’s my thoughts. Here we go. (Oh, here’s the review)
They wrote: “… rapid diversification into exotic supplements, sharp increase in frequency of injections, the shift to treatment offsite in alternative medicine clinics, emergence of unfamiliar suppliers, marginalization of traditional medical staff etc combine to create a disturbing picture of a pharmacologically experimental environment never adequately controlled or challenged or documented within the Club in the period under review.”
I think: All of this is sketchy, to say the least. I am honestly shocked that no one spoke up. As much as I love (and I really do love) Jobe Watson, how idiodic can your player be that they participated in something like this? And for the record, that “players have to do what coaches and staff tell they to do” argument is so stupid. Are they not grown men? Can they not think for themselves? Everyone feels as though they can question the government and other countries’ motives but not the man with the needle in an off-site facility who can’t adequately explain what he’s injecting? Yea, sure. Sounds legit.
They wrote: “Football clubs are changing and growing… The EFC employs 75 people full time across all its functions and another 35 in part time roles. Annual revenues, and costs, surpass $50 million, and some clubs are considerably bigger.”
I think: OF COURSE football clubs are changing and growing. That’s supposed to be a good thing. And yes, there are lots of clubs that are considerably bigger. And yet… those clubs can managed their people.
They wrote: “Significant staff changes in a period of transition and growth led to risk… In the period under review, a number of management processes broke down, failed or were short- circuited.
Problems occurred in:
• Selection and Recruitment processes
• Induction processes
• Management of contractors
• Hierarchy and decision making in the Football Department
I think: Having a sound structure is what keeps businesses from, well, this situation. Sure, it’s unfortunate that things broke down, but where was the boss in all of this? How is it possible that the CEO had no idea that his football department (which, correct me if I’m wrong, is sort of essential to the existence of a FOOTBALL CLUB) was basically falling apart? Turnover is normal and so is transition so when it happens in a club, it shouldn’t be a big deal. So how is it responsible for a doctor administering illegal substances?
They wrote: “In particular, there was a lack of clarity about who was in charge of the Football Department. There were two separate roles, with fuzzy lines of responsibility. The responsibilities of two key staff overlapped, and the new fitness team was able to largely ignore their attempts at direct management. Added to this is a senior coach in his first coaching role.”
I think: Okay, so you had two people who overlapped in role and neither of them thought to sort out the medical staff? Those people probably shouldn’t be working for you… Neither should a fitness team that ignores managements. Now, James Hird. He is easily one of my favourite coaches and one I respect very much (seriously, I can’t enough nice things). But he should have been paying attention. And there should have been someone there to tell him he needed to.
They wrote: “The following key issues led to a breakdown in oversight:
i) An assumption was made by the Senior Coach that his instructions would be followed to the letter. In early 2012, there appears to have been no structured follow up, monitoring or recording of compliance with the wishes of the coach.”
I think: You know what they say about assuming? Well. Case in point.
They wrote: “Institutions are often judged by how well they respond to crises. Post February 2013, the EFC response seems textbook correct. But the best organizations are judged by how well they anticipate and prevent crises. Risk assessment and mitigation, while already part of the core board agenda, should be re examined.”
I think: Yes, good for Essendon. They actually did a great job with the crisis. The players, coaches and everyone (Stephen Dank excepted) did very well with this situation.
My final thoughts: I have no idea what the AFL will do, but here’s what I think they should do. Fine ’em. I think a few million (maybe ten or fifteen?) dollars sounds about right. You can’t blame just one person. As the report says, there were breakdowns everywhere and I agree. But you also can’t punish everyone, particularly the players that didn’t take part. Essendon didn’t win the premiership anyway, so what’s the difference, really? and for the love of all things… GET THEE AN ORGANISATIONAL SYSTEM.
And finally, at the risk of making this entire article stupid, I am going address the key people (Ian Robson, James Hird, and Andrew Demetriou) by quoting the greatest fictional man I know, Harvey Specter. In an episode of Suits (start watching, now – season 3 starts in July) Harvey has to bust a company for insider trading. It turns out the be the vice-president and the owner/president of the company says he swears he didn’t know. Harvey tells him a story, “When I was 13 years old, my little brother was getting bullied by a kid in the neighbourhood. One day I confronted the kid’s father. He told me he didn’t know anything about it. You know what his problem was? It was his god**** job to know.“