When Collingwood CEO Gary Pert first floated the idea of a drug summit at the recent clubs’ executive conference you would have thought the entire AFL playing list was boarding in a drug soaked fraternity house with a crystal meth lab in the gazebo.
And when Pert’s claim that there was an intrinsic drug problem was questioned by the AFLPA chief Matt Finnis, the Pies’ boss – red faced and with phosphine gas hissing from his ears – took a swipe at the players’ union as well.
Add the AFL’s ardent desire to preserve its unique three strikes policy to the powder keg and this summit had the makings of a spectacular explosion. Not to mention the stories about the “dark underbelly” and “shadowy alliances” of AFL drug culture.
But no, Wednesday’s gathering was a bit of a storm in a teacup, I’m afraid. A little pile of baking soda on a snorting dish.
Ok, apparently there was plenty of information on drugs, and a working party was agreed upon, but the delegates emerged from the proceedings having altered nothing of the drugs policy, or each other’s faces.
In fact, the extreme goodwill exhibited by all participants led some outsiders to suspect they may have been sampling items – brought along by the Australian Drug Foundation for educational purposes only – that require for their manufacture a round-bottom boiling flask and some pseudoephedrine.
One interesting point to emerge though was the “network” of information sources, including supporters, used by some clubs to gauge general drug use or to target suspected individuals. This will ensure some players keep clear of their fan base.
It was also claimed that some clubs have resorted to employing private detectives. Unfortunately it’s not as exciting as it sounds. If a player, while illicitly imbibing, happens to hang his head out the window it won’t be Humphrey Bogart in a Buick staring back at him but a uni student in skinny jeans pretending he’s playing Angry Birds on his iPad.
As we discovered with Ben Cousins, it can be difficult to identify a player’s drug problem, with many dismissing his regular bouts of mid-game projectile vomiting as a case of a strong work ethic. And Collingwood’s supposed alcohol imbibing “bad boy” Dane Swan won a Brownlow and averages 35 disposals a game.
But if there is an illicit drug problem among AFL players I blame an over qualified underpaid chemistry teacher with inoperable lung cancer from Albuquerque, New Mexico: Walter Hartwell White, also known as Heisenberg.
Yes, the TV series Breaking Bad is the problem everyone. When Walt White decides he’s not going to leave his family impoverished, he does what any rational, family loving, chemistry genius with a terminal prognosis does: he begins making and distributing the purest grade of methamphetamine.
Suddenly crystal meth addiction and dissolving your competition in hydrofluoric acid don’t seem so bad if the proceeds are going to poor Walt and his (albeit slightly annoying) family.
We and AFL footballers find ourselves rooting for a serious drug producer and trafficker. Heck, I even found myself getting nervous for Walt’s cold-blooded drug boss (a man who slit his own employee’s throat with a Stanley knife for no good reason) when Walt’s Drug Enforcement Agency brother-in-law started closing in on him.
No, it’s not ideal for our young players to be watching this stuff. It will only densenstise them to drug culture. I suggest all clubs prohibit the watching of this programme.
Let’s look for a positive TV role model for our boys. Here, what’s this?
“He’s smart, good looking, and he’s got a great sense of humor. Michael C. Hall stars as Dexter. Everyone’s favorite serial killer. Miami forensics expert by day and murderer by night, this serial-killer killer is making the world a better place – one homicide at a time…”