Rough justice unravelling

The immediate AFL and Evans strategy at the time of self reporting was clear and possibly in Evans’ case even noble enough : ‘no matter what’ the players needed to be spared.  According to Michael Warner at the Herald Sun this week a deal was reportedly struck whereby the players were assured by those investigating that they were not the primary target of the investigation and, seemingly regardless of what the investigation turned up, they would not face sanctions.  They were encouraged to openly cooperate with AFL and ASADA investigators without any real fear of repercussions and from all accounts did just that, even vaguely answering questions they did’t totally know the answers to in an effort to assist – as it now turns out to their detriment with ASADA apparently counting some extremely vague recollections as hard admissions.

For Demetriou the need for immediate clearance of the players was obvious; losing an entire team worth of players to drug suspensions would be catastrophic for the AFL as a body, it’s competition, and the lucrative media rights deal Demetriou had fought so hard to get.

Evans’ motivations aren’t quite so straight forward – certainly they could have been genuine concern and protection for the players, but doubtless he also knew that having his entire team suspended for 2 years – or as it appeared at the time from the wild speculation taking place in the media possibly even longer – could spell the end for the club he loved.

What it all added up to was simple, if the players were to be spared, the off field staff, and most vitally coach James Hird, would have to be sacrificed.  And not sacrificed in a ‘good luck and here’s your golden watch’ kind of way, rather a ‘these are the evil doers of bad deeds so gather your pitchforks’ kind of way.

Enter Hird, whose main crime it appears in hindsight was wanting his club to have a better and more cutting edge  supplements program than 11 other clubs around the league – but despite all the innuendo certainly wanting a legal one.

Two things really made the scapegoating of Hird both vital and possible.

Vital because it appears the AFL thought, incorrectly in hindsight (seriously you’re going to see that phrase a LOT over the coming months and years) they were going to be confronted with massive PED use by the Essendon players based on the intelligence from the ACC report.  Getting ASADA to agree to a ‘no fault’ no penalty type deal was one thing, but if the players were shown to have been under a systematic doping regime using multiple illegal products for extended periods, ala East German athletics in the 70?s (such was the hysteria of the time), someone had to be blamed for it, or the public simply wouldn’t accept no sanctions on the players.

Possible because of that same deal that the AFL had struck up with ASADA.  That deal being in place meant that the AFL could really go hard on building a circumstantial case using a mixture of fact, irrelevant but scandalous information, unproven intelligence and hearsay, without fear of it blowing back on the players in the shape of suspensions.

Evidence from certain people that helped build the AFL’s case was considered and included, while evidence to the contrary which helped Essendon’s case was not.  It was the kind of case building that can really only be done for show and not if it’s going to be tested at trial.

It never was, of course.

Ironically this method of building the damaging yet untested so called ‘charge sheet’ may have helped lead to the players eventually getting their show causes notices from ASADA last week.  The AFL’s ‘charge sheet’ built a circumstantial case of thymosin beta 4 use or attempted use as part of it’s campaign to quickly get Hird and Essendon to accept their own sanctions.  Bet they wish they hadn’t included it now.

That’s from The cheap seats – I don’t know who it is – but they seem very well informed and connected.

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25 Responses to Rough justice unravelling

  1. Badjack

    None of the Authorities have the balls to take on Dank. It is a much easier task to take on the players. Gutless, the lot of them, including Caroline Wilson and Patrick Smith.

  2. Baldrick

    It’s Laborite stalwart Andrew Demetriou who needs to be charged with something … anything. There must be something under the Tarpaulin Act that would suffice.

  3. stackja

    RGR needed a distraction. AFL delivered. If Dank did wrong, charge him.

  4. H B Bear

    Someone needs to stick Fat Andy in the witness box under oath, let a couple of QCs work him over for a day or two and this whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

  5. Tintarella di Luna

    Who’d a thunk it could go pear-shaped — mimicking exactly the shape of the gormless tit for which this was supposed to provide cover and distraction:

    Retribution – is a short poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

    Though the mills of God grind slowly;
    Yet they grind exceeding small;
    Though with patience he stands waiting,
    With exactness grinds he all.

  6. Tintarella di Luna

    There is still fallout – suspended coaches who have done nothing but serve the game of Rugby League have had their livelihood wrecked, they have mortgages and families to support and the likes of Demitriou and the CEOs of the major sporting codes went along with this disgraceful muck raking – for what? to protect the eel-faced incompetent who was trashing the country. Good one.

  7. Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    Tintarella,eel faced! Best description of gilliard I have heard , she HAsS the faceof an eel and the slipperiness,perfect slater and gordon material.Bet when she was there they would say ,” this is a dirty nasty underhand case give it to gilliard ,thats her strong point,you write the nasty breif and she will excecute it”.

  8. john constantine

    question one.what was demetrious net worth at the start of his afl ‘journey’

    question two. what is demetrious net worth now?.

    the afl has been changed forever under demetriou.

    why wouldn’t the media expose for open inspection, the hurdles/targets that were created as trigger points for cash bonus’s for afl management?

    twitter and social media alleges a culture of ‘hitting the bonus target’ for short term cash bonus, rather than the long term good of the game. surely transparency would disprove this?.

    the gold coast suns establishment has crippled geelong football team, and slit the throat of the brisbane lions football team. how many bonus payments to afl management did it generate?.

    the greater western sydney football team establishment –cost benefit analysis?

    a family going to the footy with kids could go to all the home games and many aways, as well as the finals.

    the footy is now a rare treat for most working families, because of costs, finals are ridiculous. games are played in near empty stadiums, while the working class are priced out of going. who got paid a bonus for this?.

    who really and truly has imposed disrepute upon the afl?.

  9. John Comnenus

    As I commented last week, ASADA & the AFL have stuffed up by threatening the very financial viability of Essendon. What would happen if Essendon was paying damages for a whole squad unable to take the field? Under the salary cap could they even field a team even, in the unlikely circumstances that they could pay for one?

    By boxing Essendon in ASADA & the AFL have forced the Club to fight the whole lot en masse. If, as seems likely, Essendon defeats the charges en masse then the fall out will be spectacular. As a minimum Essendon needs to charge Demetriou with bringing the game into disrepute. Furthermore they should level the same charges against ASADA and immediately cease any involvement with ASADA. The AFL’s legal counsel and a raft of other senior AFL bureaucrats will have to go.

    If Essendon win their case, ASADA’s credibility will be destroyed. Hopefully Hird, who seems like a good bloke, will take the lot of them for defamation. Furthermore the cartel like behaviour of the AFL will be smashed in favour of protecting the common law rights of individual players. Go Essendon.

  10. Snoopy

    the likes of Demitriou and the CEOs of the major sporting codes went along with this disgraceful muck raking – for what? to protect the eel-faced incompetent who was trashing the country.

    Perfect! And sadly, all too true.

  11. Token

    …a deal was reportedly struck whereby the players were assured by those investigating that they were not the primary target of the investigation and, seemingly regardless of what the investigation turned up…

    An important question not easily detirmined from the facts in the article is whether this deal was struck BEFORE or AFTER the press conference where 2 Gillard government ministers made false claims to distract the press from a challenge by Kevin Rudd.

  12. rafiki

    Again, there is some wishful thinking going on here .(1) An argument that ASADA is unable to further continue charges because of some promise some time ago might be met with the legal principle that a body vested with powers to act cannot ‘estop’ itself from exercising those powers, for otherwise it would in effect be changing the statute. (2) I don’t see any basis for confidence that the ADJR actions on foot will probably succeed (but then I have not seen the precise basis for the error of law). (3) Evidence of ‘illegally obtained’ evidence (if that would be a correct description) is much more likely to be admitted in a civil proceeding than on a criminal one.

    More positively, the players appear to have a good claim that ASADA’s failure to give the grounds for the show cause notices is a failure of natural justice. I suspect they could raise this in another ADJR action. (Of course, that is not going to preclude ADASA from giving reasons and then continuing on.)

    One possible attack is to argue that the AFL’s drug regime is unlawful in the respect that it imposes close to absolute liability. This could be tricky, because it may be that these rules are not imposed by exercise of a statutory power but by reason of a contract between the AFL and the clubs, and then by contract between the club and its players. But there are cases that support the notion that powers deriving from contract (especially in this area where livelihoods are at risk) are to are read subject to fundamental common law presumptions of liberty, and those rights might encompass the notion that the commission of acts that attract a severe penalty should be accompanied by a guilty mind.

  13. John Comnenus

    Are you a lawyer? If so would the players have a case that they never gave consent the supplements administered by the club doctor? I can’t imagine a whole team of players would knowingly consent to y
    Illegal supplements given the penalties. If they never gave informed consent, then would they not have a very strong case against the club?

  14. John Comnenus

    I also understand, perhaps incorrectly, that you can’t make a contract that waives your common law Riggs or that allows one party to act illegally to another.

  15. Alfonso

    You can only fully appreciate what low info bogans populate professional sport as players and coaches when Deme’s politically instructed try on has them baring their bums in unsophisticated compliance.

  16. steve

    “…..and those rights might encompass the notion that the commission of acts that attract a severe penalty should be accompanied by a guilty mind”

    Really? Who would have thought that you don’t have to knowingly do something wrong in order to be punished? Who would have thought that, having taken all precautions possible to get expert opinion, that you could be punished because the experts lied to you? Who would have thought that an investigating body, having broken the law in its investigations could still punish individuals that only co-operated because of a promise of indemnity? Who was it that said “the law is an ass”? Mr Charlie Dickens, wasn’t it?

  17. Peter56

    Oh no, these idiots may not have given their consent to be injected with supplements they had no idea of. Poor fools them. These big strapping footballers were forced to have these supplements put into their bodies.
    The only person in all of this with any credibility is Zaharakis, who told them to get fucked, or words similar. The others are braindead idiots who hopefully will never breed.

  18. blind freddy

    The real fault of the whole episode lies with the WADA ban -done on no evidence of harm from the supplements!!

  19. rafiki

    John Comnenus: Yes, the players might have an action against the club. I thought you made this point recently, when you pointed out that it was essential to the club that they stopped ASADA before an infraction notice was issue.
    I am not sure about your contract point. The courts do find some kinds of terms of contracts unenforceable on grounds of public policy (as they define this vague notion). I am not on top (or anywhere close) of the legal possibilities here. The injustice to the players (notwithstanding Peter56’s point) is so obvious that I think a court would strain to find in their favor if presented with a plausible argument.

    Steve – I think we are on the same page here. Perhaps my way of expression leads you to think I am not.

  20. DaveR

    Yes Rafiki,
    just imagine the 34 Essendon players/staff being publicly identified and then issued with penalties that causes them loss for taking performance enhancing drugs, which are not illegal to possess in the community;

    whereas each year a group of 30 players (about the same number) are detected by the AFL taking illegal drugs and they are not identified and not penalised causing them loss.

    I think the Essendon 34 may also have cases against the AFL.

  21. Leigh Lowe

    Some facts would be nice.
    You know … actual, irrefutable, court-admissible, evidentiary matter.

  22. John Comnenus

    I spoke with a close friend who is a medical negligence lawyer. In short, it is the Doctor’s responsibility to ensure informed consent is achieved. Failure to ensure informed consent is often a de-registration offence for the doctor. The club is exposed as it employed the doctor to deliver medical services. Getting someone to sign a form IS NOT a guarantee that informed consent has been achieved. To achieve informed consent the doctor would have had to directly tell the players the supplements were illegal and would result in the players being suspended.

    Any players suspended because the club doctor failed to ensure informed consent will have an open and shut case against Essendon for loss of income. They will also most likely get substantial damages payouts given that the players will forever be branded drug cheats which will impact on future employability etc.

    Now call me a cynic, but I just don’t think any club, its doctors, their lawyers, player managers etc are that reckless. I will be staggered if the allegations are true given the consequences of doping.

  23. Docket62

    Some facts would be nice.
    You know … actual, irrefutable, court-admissible, evidentiary matter.

    …….of which none exist.

  24. Watching It Unfold

    Hands of my Bombers, baying hounds. Start sharpening the pikes, heads will roll……

  25. Watching It Unfold

    Hands off my Bombers, baying hounds. Start sharpening the pikes, heads will roll……

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