What if Steven Dank and Essendon are the tip of the iceberg?
Essendon coach James Hird (Slattery Images)
The Essendon supplement saga has rocked the club and the AFL itself. It should make all professional sporting bodies nervous.
If the reports of supplements containing banned substances are confirmed, many questions must be asked.
How, in this day and age, where athletes are apparently tested at random for traces of literally thousands of drugs?
How, when there are so many anti-doping agencies that its difficult to keep up with the WADAs or ASADAs or USADAs of the world?
How, after all professional sporting bodies the world over (except maybe the International Cycling Union) have taken the high moral ground against performance enhancing drugs, can this happen?
Right under everyone’s noses?
How can a man such as Stephen Dank, the alleged mastermind behind this potential fiasco, almost get away with practically doping the Essendon Bombers playing squad? In the presence of medical staff, coaching staff and administrators of a professional football club?
And why has this all come to light because of an ex-player? A case of sour grapes perhaps. But he has a very specific story. And the Bombers have reacted strangely if they think he’s lying.
The sporting world is full of copycats. If something works for a competitor, you can bet the rest of the sport will follow. It was the case with wrestling techniques in the ruck for rugby league and it worked in AFL with the ‘flood’.
Why would sports science be immune from this trend? Especially since it seems to be unchecked.
The only individuals with enough knowledge of the procedures used and the theories behind them seem to be the sports scientists themselves.
Seem to be.
I am not suggesting that all sports scientists do the same thing as Dank, nor am I saying that the several clubs that Dank has worked for should be tarred with the same brush as the Bombers.
However, I am not naïve enough to think that Dank is Robinson Crusoe when it comes to concocting dodgy supplements in professional sport.
This may all turn out to be nothing. Dank may be found to be completely innocent. But what if this is fact? Will the AFL be strong enough to act as decisively as they say they will?
Will other sports take heed? How will the doping agencies regain any credibility?
So many questions. Yet the questions aren’t the scary part.
The answers very well could be.