Let’s get one thing straight right off the top – Ryan Crowley is a goose.
Yes, he has played 188 AFL games for Fremantle, four International Rules games, won a club best fairest, and is one of the pre-eminent taggers in the game.
He is 31 years of age and been in the AFL system since he was recruited by the Dockers in November 2002.
All well and good, but he is still a goose.
When attending the AFL draft camp 13 years ago, he would have sat through a presentation from ASADA with respect to the anti-doping code.
And guess what? He would have sat through similar presentations each year for the next 12 seasons prior to returning a positive test, as a result of taking a painkiller which contained a substance that is banned on match day, last July.
On Thursday, the AFL tribunal’s decision was handed down – a one-year ban, backdated to the day his provisional suspension commenced on September 25 last year.
One can only shake their head in amazement at the fact that he went behind the back of the club medicos and decided to source a painkiller without their knowledge, and more crucially, without them being asked whether the substance was safe to consume with respect to the anti-doping code.
After his infamous positive test for a banned diuretic on the eve of the 2003 Cricket World Cup, Shane Warne came out with a stunning analogy with respect to how he viewed ASADA’s lectures, saying that he pretty much zoned out as if it was a stewardess explaining the safety procedures on an aircraft.
Warne’s lack of interest also cost him a year in the wilderness.
Crowley’s brain fade may cost him his career.
Fremantle is currently flying high atop the premiership table, doing nicely without the man who won the George Doig Medal for club champion just three seasons ago, a year in which he narrowly missed All-Australian selection.
He may well miss out on a historic maiden Fremantle premiership.
He will be available for selection for preliminary final week however the chances of him playing, having not done so for 12 months, are on a par with a brunette being crowned Miss Sweden.
And, as he turns 32 in March next year, it is highly likely that the Dockers will not be renewing his contract.
My son who is a mad, passionate Freo supporter. When I told him about Crowley’s suspension, he said that he should have known not to do what he did.
My son is nine. Did I mention that Crowley is 31?
At a media conference Crowley said that he “genuinely never intentionally meant to do anything wrong”.
That is likely the case, and given that he was delivered half the maximum two-year suspension for such an offence the tribunal may have agreed.
However, the bottom line is, he was stupid to try his luck. It was a case of playing Russian roulette and when the time came the chamber was loaded.
You wonder just how long it will take, how many careers will be destroyed and reputations sullied, before the bleeding obvious truly sinks in with some sportspeople.