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ALL THINGS AUSSIE: Cronulla Sharks Latest in Sport Scandal

It all started with Essendon FC (a professional Aussie rules club in the AFL). They came forward to the AFL because they found out their player may have been taking performance enhancing drugs last season. Of course, it’s great when people come forward and aren’t found out later so they’ll probably be given some leniency. Peptides are the buzz word here – that’s the performance enhancer athletes have allegedly taken.But then it all hit the fan last month when the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Administration (ASADA), the NRL, AFL, and ARU, got together to let the country know that they found out football codes were involved with not only performnace enhancing drugs, but also with match fixing, which makes it much more serious situation. The problem was that no one would tell the fans anything – all these organizations kept saying was, “We’re unsure how many people are involved. We don’t know which football codes, or clubs, are involved. We don’t know if it’s players or administration. And even if we do… we’re not going to tell you.” Okay, they didn’t say that last part, but they may as well have. Many questions floated around in people’s minds: It is my league? Is it my team? It is my favourite player?!

While no news regarding match fixing has come to light, this week, the Cronulla Sharks have been investigated and several staff members fired for their involvement with performance enhancing drugs. Head Coach Shane Flanagan has been stood down and players are being offered a six month ban before the official investigation of… everything… begins. If they are found guilty, they will be banned from the game for two years – basically a sport death sentence. There are 14 players that may be involved, and the club’s win over Gold Coast on Sunday may have been their last game for the year if the investigation turns up evidence of illegal substance use.

The real question, that most people are asking, is this: Who is at fault?

Although the drug was administered by trainers/coaches/medical staff, should the players be punished? Sporting culture dictates players listen to those above them – without question – which is what players have done in this case. Is it their fault, thought, for accepting “drugs” that they didn’t know everything about? And what should they have done – question their club and risk being removed from the senior list or report it to the RLPA and hope they can fix it? (By the way – I would have done the latter)

So what should the players do now? Do they step forward and accept their 6 month ban, from which they can easily recover? Or should they wait it out and hope that ASADA will let them off due to ignorance?

(Photo Credit: Cronulla Sharks Instagram)


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