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Keep Australian Sport Clean
Like all matters in society, there is no black or white about any issue.  A small technicality can put doubt into anyone’s mind of a guilty verdict. The present saga with the Australian Crime Commission into Drugs In Sport is no exception.

There is no doubt that drugs in sport should not be allowed, whether recreational or performance enhancing. As far as I am concerned, recreational drugs are performance enhancing as well, often they improve confidence and the knock-on effect is a fearless competitor, one who is invincible.

Athletes caught with an unauthorised/illegal drug in their system whether performance enhancing or recreational should be given a year ban after testing positive – the first time. If the athlete is caught a second time, then an automatic life ban from all professional sports should apply.

If you think that’s harsh, it’s  a lot softer than my original position – instant dismissal from professional sport and instant membership to the sporting hall of shame.  For the sake of public debate, I choose to soften my position to allow for the weak to regain some dignity and feel the loss of their career opportunities, and public shame, to penetrate and hopefully deliver an athlete that can play fair.

All athletes are asked to sign a contract when they go professional.  That contract, and all the education that flows on from their professional body clearly dictates that there is a ‘zero tolerance’ on drug cheats, and the parametres and processes to be followed.  .  

Why then do we see professional sporting codes giving athletes two chances to test positive with recreational drugs?  Zero Vs 2  hmmmm, no wonder it’s not taken seriously.  It breeds the opportunity for athletes to try drugs knowing that they can get away with it. Some codes even dismiss the ‘twice policy’ IF the players confess prior to any testing/inquisition.  So by way of admission, it doesn’t even richter on the scale of misdeamenour?

So how do we fix the problem and assign appropriate structure to uncovering cheats, and making people accountable for their actions?

Like all successful operations, the simpler the flow chart, the easier it is to control irregularities. For the administration of drugs and supplements in a sporting team, the man in charge should be the doctor. If a player, coach, sport scientist, fitness physician or physiotherapist is unsure of an item in the medical cabinet or has heard of a substance that might help the team or individual then he should consult the team Doctor straight away.  The doctor should deliver testing/programs that reveal cheats so they are appropriately dealt with both inside, and outside the sporting club. The Doctor has a double oath of credibility to his profession and his/her workplace.  They are highly competent, certified and able to clearly draw the lines on what’s allowed and what’s not.  Their code of conduct implies great risk and responsibility – and those risks be great if they be found wanting.  

There are no excuses, simplify the chain of command for drug protocol and enforce stricter sentences for non-conformers.

Some might say the duty of care is on the athlete, and in many cases it will surely be found to be so – having been ousted by the Doctor who has the opportunity and skill to regularly scrutinise and elevate players who cheat.  

When it comes to drug related issues, bugger the duty of care falling on anyone that doesn’t deserve the heat.  If you are an athlete and you have been given the pleasure of playing sport for a living, next time you are out on the field, have a look over the fence and see the supporters that come to watch you living out a dream, the kids that look up to you, their belief that you are a natural competitor and deserve that spot in the team – and not a drug cheating thief.

Athletes stand up and take responsibility, it is not just the individual accused that is tarnished, it is sport in general.

Australia lets lead the rest of the world on the issue of drugs in sport.

 

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(c) Copyright - March 2013 - Article written by Brad Hogg. Written permission to copy, quote, or use this article in part or whole must be sought and granted in writing from for GURUS Entertainment & Management P/L. The opinions of this blog are not those of GURUS Entertainment & Management Pty Ltd.

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