When firms are facing bankruptcy they engage in all sorts of perverse behaviour. This is due to the the concept of limited liability – all upside accrues to the shareholders while the creditors bear any losses. Stock standard stuff. This brings me to The Age’s sports columnist Caroline Wilson. She is writing columns that expose her employer – The Age – to legal liability for defamation while we expect every day an announcement of closure.
We could state with some clarity that this is what WADA sees.
Primarily, it sees a football club, Essendon, still determined to lawyer up and drag itself and its code through a lengthy court battle despite its own internal device inquiry that concluded it ran a pharmaceutical program never adequately controlled or checked.
Second, it sees a senior coach, charged with the responsibility towards of its players, who employed people who regularly injected them with allegedly banned drugs. Drugs which on Thursday led to 34 of them receiving show-cause letters. A coach who is being paid to take a gap year and had his contract extended by two years. A coach who continues to blame others and a club that still cannot see that it must cut him loose.
WADA also sees two other Essendon assistant coaches, Mark Thompson and Simon Goodwin, who failed to prevent the program and knew all about it, both promoted and given pay rises. Thompson raised the alarm but ultimately the program continued. It sees the then chief executive of the club, Ian Robson, who either knew or failed to know, shifted from Australian football to soccer and to one of that code’s biggest clubs.
And, perhaps most shamefully, it sees the experienced club doctor who was so concerned about the drugs program he wrote a heartfelt letter to the coach and the football boss complaining about it. And then continued to work at the club without further official complaint as the program intensified. A doctor who went unpunished and still runs the medical program at the club.