Tag: drugs in sport

Double Standard?
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Double Standard?

It may be me (and it frequently is) but I think there’s a bit of a double standard in the passionate world of Australian sport. With the current furore surrounding drugs and betting it has once again mysteriously seeped to the surface of our consciousness and overwhelmed our rational thought. And here it is. The Pakistani cricket team are a bunch of cheating charlatans who should, with old fashioned punishment such as being hung drawn and quartered or ritually stoned out of the picture be forbidden from standing around on a swatch of green ever again. No trial, no investigation, the editors decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Under similar circumstance but with the transgressors flying the Australian flag our mood changes. They were having a laugh, it was only a weather report or by crikey we take our sport too seriously. Never! Not in my sport the emus excuse ad infinitum. Something similar happens when performance-enhancing drugs are mentioned. If it is one of our own who has mistakenly tested positive and taken to task by those nasty ASADA people then it is uniformly a mistake and we are content with a lame excuse and a slap on the wrist. You know the sort of thing – the doc prescribed the wrong headache pill, the cough medicine had a miniscule amount of a banned ingredient or mum said I look fat on tv and gave me a diuretic! All perfectly feasible and dare I say believable if you are fair dinkum and know that stubbies can be worn or drunk. But if such unlikely reasoning were trotted out by a Chinese swimmer with a meteoric rise or a heavily muscled and cranky shot putter from Kazakstahn we would be swift, precise and condemning in our demolition of their outlandish explanations. Tell them they’re dreaming! We’d jab the pointing finger in their chest, question their parentage and call for a lifetime ban! I am not inferring racism but when the green and gold mist descends it seems it is our judgment that becomes cloudy.

This post first appeared as Monday’s Expert in the Northern Star on September 6th.

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Ben Cousins

Like many I caught much of the two part Ben Cousins documentary last week. And yes like many I was shocked. Not at the phenomenal amount of adverts that ruined the highly built up spectacle but at the subjective, self-serving manner of the program as a whole. An educational, informative documentary warning of the perils of all encompassing infatuation with drugs it was not! A quick look at the credits pointed towards the reasons why with Cousins as talent, key grip, producer, best boy, financer, stuntman – the whole box and dice! I am not unsympathetic to Cousins, his is a tragic story of enormous proportions that resonates around the sporting world but there was no contrition and no tough questioning from an unapologetic hard-nosed journo. And the now trademark Cousins smirk remained!
Ostensibly the show gave little new but it did illustrate the tortuous pain that can be inflicted on a normal, loving family plunged into a scenario not of their doing with the Cousins clan (and his dad in particular) acutely affected forever. A salient lesson in the domino effect to anyone considering or indeed, dabbling in drugs. Without family you wonder where Cousins would now be? It also showed the impotence of professional sporting franchises, albeit a few years ago now to deal properly with troubled but spectacularly talented athletes. Whether a blind eye was turned to his behaviour by dint of his peculiar, extraordinarily precocious ability to play AFL can be debated at length but West Coast rewarded his behaviour when it presented him with the captaincy comparatively early in his career. His father saw the writing on the wall and petitioned the club to rescind the decision but the dye was cast. Perhaps then the Eagles also inadvertently fed the monster? Cousins himself justified his addiction by saying the harder and more intensely he trained the better athlete he believed he became. As his training intensified so too did his drug taking. Alas Cousins put two and two together and came up with any number but four.

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