Australia’s blackest day in sport
Essendon face scrutiny over controversial fitness programs during the 2012 season (AFL media/Slattery Images).
Yesterday colleague Glenn Mitchell brilliantly covered the biggest bombshell in Australia sport this century. Drug-taking and match-fixing on a grand scale has surfaced after a 12-month investigation by the Australian Crime Commission.
The results are breath taking.
Hold the phone, let’s take a step back to try and take it all in. Federal Justice Minister Jason Clare was full of accusations yesterday, but no substance.
He painted a gloomy picture, and we would be naïve, in fact plain stupid, not to sit up and take notice.
But where were the answers, Minister?
Every sport in Australia has regular drug-testing. Obviously those tests fall well short of the mark.
As for match-fixing, it’s a potential blight on every sport. So why are major sports in Australia promoting betting agencies on television on a regular basis?
Not for one minute am I suggesting those agencies are the launching pad for match-fixing. But match-fixing is all about punting, and where there’s smoke there’s fire.
Let’s face it, sport is the engine room of Australian life. Take sport out of the equation and Australia would be a boring country.
One of the great pleasures in life is the ability to salute our sporting stars – and in some cases revere them.
On the other side of the coin, if athletes have to cheat, why compete?
There are no better examples of being found guilty of drug-taking in recent times than track star Marion Jones, stripped of her Olympic medals, and cyclist Lance Armstrong, stripped of his record-breaking seven successive wins at the Tour de France.
Two ‘phenomenal’ athletes who had to cheat to compete.
These are early days, but thanks to the ACC the cheating door has been kicked down and from here on in the air should be clearer.
What we are hearing and reading now is distasteful, grubby, and not acceptable. It’s not the Australian way.
It’s up to the Federal and State governments, in conjunction with every sport in Australia, to right the wrongs.
It’s a massive ask the administrators must win across the board.
It won’t happen overnight, but where there’s a will there’s a way.