ASADA labels Sportsbet ad with Ben Johnson as “completely wrong”

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    Australian sport’s anti-doping agency has added its voice to a chorus of outrage at a gambling ad starring disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson.

    The Sportsbet ad featuring Johnson, who was stripped of his 100m Olympic gold medal in 1988 because of doping, has been roundly criticised.

    The federal government has demanded Sportsbet pull the ad and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has lodged an official complaint over the ad.

    “This advert makes light of the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport and sends the completely wrong message that the use of drugs in sport is normal,” ASADA said in a statement on Monday.

    “This advertising campaign belittles the achievements of clean athletes and denigrates those who work to protect clean sport across the world.”

    Sportsbet has maintained the ad, for which Johnson was reportedly paid $200,000, was humour.

    “Sportsbet does not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs … (but) we make no apologies for injecting some humour into advertising,” a Sportsbet spokesman told News Corp.

    But the company faces increasing pressure to scrap the ad, with independent Senator Nick Xenophon also demanding Australian Communications and Media Authority action.

    © AAP 2017

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