After a fortnight in which Essendon, drugs and ASADA barely rated a mention, Jobe Watson blew that quiet period out of the water.
With the subtleness of a Claymore, his admission on Fox Footy’s On the Couch programme that he took the banned peptide AOD-9604 is a sign that the players have realised the level of deception that occurred at Essendon.
They are not happy about it and nor should they be.
The relative lack of proper administration at Essendon has been beyond comprehension.
Allowing a bloke like Dank –who had been sacked from Cronulla just months before – to weave his magic with no supervision is disgraceful.
Leaving the club doctor out of practices while allowing players to sign consent forms that claimed Dr Bruce Reid consented was so negligent that you would think it was part of a novel written by Steven King.
The above practice seems to have deluded Watson and his cohorts into believing that they will be cleared of wrong doing.
“I signed that consent form,” said Watson.
“My understanding after it being given through Bruce Reid and the club that I was receiving AOD. (I believed) that it was legal at the time and that’s what I was told I was being given.”
Unfortunately the former head of ASADA Richard Ings seems to have poured ice-cold water over that.
Ings, who has been an invaluable commentator on this issue due to his work at ASADA, struck back with lightning speed refuting any suggestions that Essendon players could walk away free.
“I cannot see a path that does not involve one or more individuals being found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation,” he told Fairfax Media this week.
“Whilst there is no doubt that there will be legal challenges as to the status of AOD-9604, WADA appears to have a resolute view that the substance is banned.”
Therein is the sadness of the whole situation.
As one media observer pointed out this week, ‘These players aren’t drug cheats but they will be found guilty of drug cheating’.
Jobe Watson, Mark McVeigh and James Hird can protest their innocence but if Essendon players are found to have taken a prohibited substance, the players will be banned.
While there is no doubt in my mind they were misled and misinformed, the drugs code that all signed up to does not grant that exemption.
WADA’s code is simple; you –not the club or anyone else- are responsible for whatever goes in your body.
While no doubt harsh in this case, the code is set like this to prevent the sporting equivalent of the ‘Nuremberg Defence’ (i.e. to prevent sport star from saying ‘we were only following orders’).
Jobe Watson while being honest seems to have condemned him and others to a lengthy ban.
His Brownlow Medal? By the wording of the conditions of winning the Brownlow, he will probably lose it.
The admission should also see James Hird and Mark Thompson fall on their swords.
While I doubt they are cheats, their lack of leadership and accountability despite being the key leaders in the football department makes their position untenable.
While there will be bloodletting and mass changes at Essendon, make no mistake this is a Shakespearian tragedy.
The club failed, the hired doctors took things too far and no one wanted to admit something was fishy.
The fall guys will be the players who were lab rats for some and easy pickings for others.