Last week the media was awash with reports and details of the show cause letter received by the sports scientist Stephen Dank. The resultant commentary quickly regressed into a continuation of the ill-informed and unsubstantiated speculation as to what happened in 2012 at the Essendon Football Club accompanied by naive cries for the truth to be exposed now and once and for all.
To be clear, since the middle of 2013, I have written and spoken about the fact that from the evidence I have seen and the research I have undertaken I do not believe that the Essendon players were administered substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Code. I have also said that what is clear is that the statutory regime established by the Commonwealth Government clearly establishes a regime whereby anti-doping cases are investigated, prosecuted and heard in private. I’ll add to that the fact that I was retained by the Essendon Football Club to give some advice on the status of the peptide AOD-9604 and the law surrounding ‘bringing the game into disrepute’. On top of that I’ll add that I decided not to accept any further work with the Club because of I did not believe they were acting fairly and properly with the members of their own Football Department. Since that time I have continued to be a close and interested researcher.
Australian law requires that information or opinion, whether true or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from that information or opinion, is legally confidential information. Thus it may not be divulged by either ASADA or third parties prior to that individual being found to have committed a violation after a hearing or by their own ‘guilty plea’. In simple terms, everything we have read in the media about what players, what James Hird, any other member of the Essendon or Cronulla football departments, or for that matter what Stephen Dank did, is confidential information, protected by Commonwealth law until any cases that might be brought against them are finally determined.