Five least surprising revelations from yesterday’s ACC report
Essendon face scrutiny over controversial fitness programs during the 2012 season (AFL media/Slattery Images).
Yesterday’s gathering of sports bodies and government agencies for the biggest press conference since Whitlam got the boot was full of gut-wrenching exposés and stunned reactions from punters.
And then again, no it wasn’t.
While a great number of future bombshells were alluded to by the weary looking bigwigs, there were also a number of findings that were about as surprising as the contents of a Big Mac (sing the song in your head).
By the time this goes to print perhaps things have become more exciting, but to date here are ‘the five least-surprising revelations from yesterday’s ACC report’.
1. Athletes sometimes associate with criminals
Perhaps not the easiest truth to swallow but yes, a number of athletes (particularly footy players) roll in the company of people your mum warned you about. Hell, some of the players are bonafide criminals themselves so it shouldn’t really be too much of a shock.
Famous athletes, like famous rock stars and famous Hollywood celebs, love hanging around infamously shady characters. Perhaps it’s a mutual love of poker, nightclubs and hurting people, but mostly it’s an image thing.
It’s been going on since Ned Kelly shared a beer with the Glenrowan FC at the Tav one Saturday arvo, and even saw an 80s St George side track down legendary train Robber Ronnie Biggs while on an end of season trip in Rio just to say g’day.
2. Athletes will do anything to get ahead
When Matt Orford spoke this week of having another species’ blood injected into an injured groin, many people outside the sporting world screwed up their faces like they’d just won Ricky Nixon’s undies in a charity raffle.
As a side note, the headline “Calf blood injected into former eagle Ox” was something I assumed was an upcoming episode of Bondi Vet.
In reality though an aspiring or injured athlete could do a hell of a lot worse, and most up and comers wouldn’t baulk at eating the dirt under the stands at Leichardt Oval if a bloke in a white coat told them it would give them a 5% improvement in performance.
Just look at the case of former rugby league player and part-time Russell Crowe protector Mark Carroll, who when advised as a rookie that potatoes were a good source of carbohydrates, ate so many he had to miss a week of training because he was in bed sick with stomach-ache.
Oh yeah, not to mention ‘powerbands’.
3. Sports scientists aren’t always good guys
In fact sometimes they’re out and out weirdos willing to operate at a level of cartoon super villianry to push the limits of what human beings can do.
Which by itself could be a noble goal, I guess. But, when you’re using the field of competitive sport to test your new race of Dr Moreau atomic supermen, it kind of flies in the face of the whole reason any of us actually care about it in the first place.
I’m not saying that anybody wants to go back to an age where water was banned for putting players off balance, it’s just that I don’t really want my future five-eighth to be some bloke with a cybernetic baboon buttock implant, that’s all.
2. ASADA can’t catch em all
Having been barred from using the staff toilets under Cararra stadium on more than one occasion by the blokes with all the paper cups I know ASADA take their job pretty seriously.
But they’re not omnipresent, drug users will slip through the cracks or occasionally jump over Canberra Stadium fences half naked. Society understands this.
Just forgive us for laughing when clubs brag about testing in house, an outwardly noble yet ridiculous exercise that only exists for no reason other than, well, keeping things in house.
1. Many fans care little about drugs in sport
When an individual athlete like an Olympic runner or a Lance Armstrong gets on the gear and wins everything thus playing us for a bunch of suckers, the feeling of being cheated is worse than anything your big brother could do to you playing Nintendo as a kid.
Team sports? Not so much.
Sure fans are happy to tease, mock, finger point and taunt sports people convicted of drug taking, but a lot of the time the care factor doesn’t lead to hostile outrage.
This is even more so with illicit or abused prescription drug use which has no increased performance side effects.
For most fans the buck really stops at how teams perform on the field, and if all is right within the sporting landscape, many struggle to find the care factor.
Look at Essendon. They might have done something dodgy taking a borderline substance giving the a 3.4% boost in aerobic capacity on cloudy days, but where were they on grand final day?
It’s not that these issues aren’t morally important, they are, and we’d love to hear some serious faced blokes debate it on Q&A one night.
It’s just that right now…well … we’d just really like to watch some footy. And unless you’re going to directly name specific clubs or players involved rather than just making sweeping general statements, you’re really just hogging the limelight.
Follow Chris on Twitter @Vic_Arious
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious
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