The lawyer for the man at the centre of the doping scandal that has engulfed Australian sport has described his client as “a sacrificial lamb on the altar of sport”.
Lawyer Greg Stanton claimed sports scientist Stephen Dank, the man dubbed `The Pharmacist’, had been unfairly portrayed as the villain after the Australia Crime Commission (ACC) on Thursday released a report confirming the widespread use of illegal drugs in Australian sport.
A day before the ACC released its findings, AFL club Essendon threw itself at the mercy of Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the AFL’s integrity unit after revealing concerns over supplements supplied to their players.
Dank worked with the Bombers in 2012, while he has previously been employed with a number of other sporting organisations including NRL club Manly from 2006-10.
Dank on Friday conducted an interview to be aired on the ABC’s 7:30 Report on Monday, with Stanton adamant his client would protest his innocence.
“He stands, if I may use the phrase, as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of sport which this country worships and adores on a day to day basis,” Stanton said.
“Sure he does (protest his innocence), but he’s doing so not in the context or in the criteria of someone who’s facing an allegation or charge.
“There is a degree of innuendo, rumour, scuttlebutt and tenuous information floating around, none of which is very specific at all.
“In the face of that, he says – I’ve done nothing wrong.
“He is the scapegoat – that’s how we see it.
“He is a highly qualified, credible, experienced man in this field and what’s happening is an absolute travesty to be honest.”
Stanton said all would be revealed in Monday’s interview, which is set to include detailed accounts of his actions at both the Bombers and other clubs.
It is believed Dank will confirm he never administered illegal substances to any players in either the AFL or NRL.
Stanton declined to confirm suggestions Dank would seek legal retribution for a career that has been dragged through a very public mud pile.
“It’s been shitboxed,” Stanton said of Dank’s reputation.
“If Sweeney Todd came back, do you reckon he’d be a barber?”