What a great victory for Essendon. I was surprised, frankly, that the AFL tribunal had the fortitude to go against the powerful ASADA and come up with a just verdict. The vitriol directed at James Hird and Dean Robinson was horrific and hate-filled and misinformed reporters who are wannabe vicarious foot-ball players didn’t make it easy for the public to understand what might have happened. The fact that Paddy Ryder was turned into an emotional mess because of insinuations made to him by ASADA was not only unethical, it was blatant bullying.
The fact is, WADA/ASADA have on their list of banned substances almost anything that isn’t bread and water! They are organisations with enormous power and with almost NO factual material backing up their status as official scientific powerhouses of knowledge about what is, or is not, a performance enhancing substance. They are, in fact, ignorant of the science as much as they are long on opinion and power. This should not be the case in an era of science where the real properties of all the substances that they have listed as banned could be studied in detail to know just exactly what sporting attributes they might, or might not, have. ASADA and WADA have made uninformed guesses and stamped them with their official imprimatur as solid scientific facts! And it should not be the case when these organisations have the power to destroy careers and reputations.
Take one example: thymosin Beta 4 and almost all the current versions of ‘peptides’ that have been discussed in this context are naturally occurring substances, or minor variants thereof. They have exceptional healing properties, and despite the uninformed comments coming from our governmental bodies, they are safe with almost no toxicity. In another act of idiocy, the TGA made AOD 9604 a substance that is just as restricted as are anabolic steroids. And to make Australians a greater laughing stock, a simple herb that can stop cells from deteriorating and thus possibly extend good health and life, TA-65: it is freely available in many countries but was put on the banned list by ASADA and the TGA singled it out following the Australian Crime Commission hearings. This sort of madness only happens when hysteria and ignorance share the same bed: the results won’t be pretty -or satisfying.
Australia could learn something useful from this fiasco and changes could be made that would be rational and stop this sort of disaster in the future and would not allow a few rogue reporters and scientifically illiterate government organisations to create havoc and ruin for innocent human beings. This really is no better than bona fide witch hunting.
But my guess is, that tomorrow, it will be business as usual unfortunately!