It’s been a weird week in Australian sport, what with the big press conference saying ‘This is The Blackest Day in Australian Sport’.
AUSTRALIA’S top sporting codes have been rocked by revelations that organised crime is behind the increasing use of banned performance-enhancing drugs by ”multiple athletes” across sporting codes and possible attempts to fix matches and manipulate betting markets.
The heads of all the main professional and participation sports expressed shock after being briefed on a 12-month investigation by the Australian Crime Commission that found professional sport in Australia was ”highly vulnerable to organised crime infiltration”
The article goes on to say that all of our codes of sport probably have had doping going on. Lance Armstrong’s name came up and some anonymous football player in some code even piped up during the week with an article saying what an edge it was to have the injection.
The declaration sent all these bodies scurrying for cover (how else do you explain the rush to declare “We’re clear!“); and swimmers saying they refused injection in fear it was contaminated with banned substances.
It’s interesting how the sport bodies have responded. the NRL has put together an ‘Integrity Commission‘, which suggests, they’re up to their eyeballs in the doping problem. The Minister for Sport says it’s ‘game over‘ for the cheats, but again you’d expect her to say it without any follow through – what else would we expect a Minister for Sport to say? “We give up?”
The strangest call of them all may be the call to name names mentioned in this one:
The Australian Crime Commission’s chief executive John Lawler hit back on Saturday at critics to clear up ”confusion” as to why he did not name names, given the explosive nature of the allegations.
Mr Lawler said classified strategic assessments had been sent to all police agencies around the country and Commonwealth agencies, which were now responsible for pursuing action.
”Very detailed information, the names of the clubs, the names of all the persons, the details of how, when and why and where, based on the intelligence, the persons suspected, has been provided to the anti-doping agency ASADA and to the police. Particularly the NSW and Victorian police,” he told Fairfax Media.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare echoed Mr Lawler’s comments as a number of sporting identities and commentators questioned the investigation and motives behind the report’s release along with its veracity.
Given the nature of the witch hunt that is about to ensue it seems entirely understandable that some people want the messenger shot. But really, with Australia’s insane libel laws, it would a brave ACC CEO who would start naming names. The way this normally goes is through leaks, starting at the biggest names in the various sports.
If this were America, somebody somewhere in the chain of information would leak to the press. After all, tat is how we found out about Barry Bonds and the clear and the cream; Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte using HGH; A-Rod being on some PEDs in his peak years in Texas; and ultimately Lance Armstrong as well. The cross-hairs a re firmly on performance-enhanced athletes now and the witch hunt is in full swing over there.
That such leaks have not happened seems to indicate that the ACC investigation was pretty subtle and went very deep. There also seems to be a cultural difference here as opposed America that the press are not willing to tarnish the names of the stars just yet. It maybe the case that the culture is about to change and professional sport will never again have the cozy relationship with the media as it does now.