Both players spoke from a prepared statement, before Collingwood CEO Gary Pert and football boss Neil Balme addressed the media and took questions.
“We are here today because we tested positive on the 10th of February to Clembuterol,” Thomas said.
“We want to stress that at no stage did we intentionally take performance enhancing drugs.
“While we are unable to be absolutely certain how this substance came into our system, we can only assume it occurred during a night out prior to testing in which we took illicit drugs. Although we can’t be sure, we believe the substance we took was laced with clembuterol.
Pert then confirmed that the pair will not be contesting their bans and have accepted a two year suspension backdated to March this year.
“This is a case of two young men who made a poor decision to consume illicit drugs,” Pert said.
He then stressed the need for changes to the illicit drugs policy in the AFL due to the probability of the performance enhancing drug clembuterol, being consumed through illicit drugs.
“We need to have an industry policy that has a consequence big enough for all players to say no,” he said.
“Our information is that this isn’t a one off. Our information is clembuterol is present regularly in illicit drugs.
Pert also said that this is a landmark day for Australian sport.
“The game has changed for athletes as of today.”
“It’s a sad day for the sport, Collingwood, and the players and their families.
“This applies to every athlete in Australian sport now.
“We need to keep on working so that every player every time gets to a point to say ‘There is too much at stake and the answer is no’.
“We’re concerned about illicit drugs full stop – as an industry and as a club and it’s a battle we’ll be battling forever.
“They don’t feel sorry for themselves. They’ve taken responsibility for this. They were literally in shock and we now know why.
Pert said that the current policy is “failing the players and failing the clubs,” with players receiving just one strike for testing positive for illicit drugs.
Balme said the Pies will redraft the pair if they decide to go in to the draft next year and are still available for selection.