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AFL Strikes Out

April 3rd 2008 04:07
This was a blog I wrote a few months ago, but it still has some relevance today and some of you might have some interest in it re. the AFL's drug policy.

Over the past year or so, the AFL has come under some scrutiny regrading its often highly criticised and rather inconsistent drug code. As it stands, players who are found to have taken illegal substances are given three strikes before they can be named to their club and punished.

There has been plenty of debate on the topic, both in the media and in the public sector. One argument, mostly coming from those who work with drug-addicted people and who know first-hand what itís like to be addicted to an illegal and illicit substance, is that punishing someone first-off without helping them is doing more worse then good. That argument is logical and has some rather understandable grounds. The public is well-aware that drugs like Cocaine and Ecstasy are readily available, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, and the addictive outcome from frequently taking these sorts of drugs is well documented and witnessed throughout the community.

In saying that, it would be hard to punish someone who seeks help because they know they have a problem. Itís unknown what AFL players, if any, have approached their club and/or the AFL for help, but youíd think that the three-strikes policy would indicate that the person in question is doing little to anything to get over their addiction, especially if theyíre getting caught taking drugs.

Those who criticise people who are critical of the three-strikes rule donít seem to be able grasp the relationship the league has with the public and the disrespect the league is displaying towards the league clubs. Granted, punishing a player first-time round may not solve anything, but giving them three chances without informing anyone is making the situation worse. Doesnít the club in question, the employer of the addicted player, have the right to know their employee, the one in which they are probably paying big money too, has a problem that can affect their performance and the teamís performance?

Itís no secret that the clubs themselves arenít happy with the code. In early 2007, President of the Collingwood Football Club Eddie McGuire said to the Sydney Morning Herald in reference to the three-strikes rule that he, ď (wanted) to be able to look (the players) parents in the eye and tell them `We are putting your kid into a culture of a club which will make him a better person.' It would be difficult for a club to do that if they are unaware that some of their players are addicted to Cocaine. What needs to be considered here is that there are kids aged 17 and 18 entering a celebrity-environment. If they are brought into an environment where drugs are rife, yet the head-body (the football club) isnít aware of it, what influence will this have on vulnerable, inexperienced and maturing men?

What also needs to be considered is that the drugs that are being tested for are illegal. By giving the player three chances and if theyíre addicted, they wonít have the urge or incentive to find help if they know they have two more chances. To me, that's like a small reward, one an addict can be happy about (not being punished). If they choose to break the law, put their employer, work-mates, family and selves in distribute, shouldnít they be helped at the first possible opportunity so as to stop it as soon as possible?

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1 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Tyronne

April 4th 2008 01:04
Then why don't the clubs do their own testing? Then they can look after the players who are addicted themselves.

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