MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 08: Tom Bellchambers of the Bombers gets tackled during an Essendon Bombers AFL pre-season training session at True Value Solar Centre on January 8, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

One of the most common things we will hear as a result of the Essendon 34’s suspension this morning is that we should feel sorry for the players impacted. We shouldn’t.

By all means the players have every reason to be angry at the Essendon Football Club and may even have cause to sue those who implemented the program or the club. What they cannot do is claim no responsibility for the situation they have found themselves in.

As a professional athlete it is your responsibility to know what is being put into your body, the players are educated that the buck ultimately stops with them and ignorance has not been an excuse in a long time.

Players cannot claim naivety and ultimately, must know what is going into their bodies and must ask the right questions. As a professional athlete there is no excuse for not doing so.

In 2003 ignorance was not an excuse for Shane Warne. It wasn’t an excuse for Ahmed Saad in 2013. It should not be an excuse for any professional athlete.

Importantly this case serves as a warning to all professional athletes and in particualr serves a sa wake up call to all young AFL players and surely helps ensure that the AFL and other sports are less likely to be impacted by performance enhancing drugs.

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The fact that the players are only receiving a 12-month ban when it could have been 24-months is already a win for the players. Hopefully the players, the AFL and the Essendon Football Club take their medicine and allow everyone to move on from what has been an extremely detrimental situation for the game.


  1. You’re young and impressionable and have finally made it into the AFL, you as a player have put your trust and faith in coaching staff for years without trouble. If an AFL coach says to do something how long do you think you’d be on the playing list if you questioned him? Yes they have final accountability for their bodies but it’s easy to see why the coach and Danks should take full blame

  2. Absolute fukn bullshit we have suffered so much all ready not to mention fines, loosing draft pics and our coach aswell as the bad stigma that hangs around the club n now this, essendon is not the only club its allmost evety club in the afl now this! U assholes have no idea ull have to suspend half the afl if this is the shit you have in mind

  3. Im not an Essendon supporter, but the fact this has taken so long is an issue for me, and makes me feel some degree of sympathy. Perhaps its time for Hird to say Im sorry rather than its an injustice. He left the club in ruins and doesnt want to take any responbsibility

  4. No I do feel sorry for them. Their entire reputations and careers are in tatters. It’s not good enough that the players carry the responsibility for the mistakes of senior leaders who had a duty of care to their players. The CAS ruling found that players HAD questioned the supplements and their safety but were told it was the all clear. And it’s absurd that the sentence can be so severe in the absence of solid, solid evidence (eg positive drug tests, admissions of guilt etc) or unequivocal proof of players guilt.

  5. Geez how unfair – they were all restrained physically ‘concentration camp style’ and injected against their will by dastardly Dank under instruction by Hermann ‘Adolf’ Hird

    • 12 months for the players. Watson stripped of the Brownlow and life bans for all officials and coaches should be the outcome. And I hope all players sue the club and coaches

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