Are We There Yet?

At last the Essendon saga is over. Or is it?

“They’ve been used as pin cushions and we don’t know what was injected into them,” said Ben McDevitt1. I thought that was a odd thing for him to say given that he is the head of the organisation prosecuting 34 current and former Essendon Football players. If they [ASADA] don’t know what was injected, how can they prosecute?

Now, in fairness, I should say that, after I listened to the press conference, it was not clear to me whether McDevitt was speaking for himself or quoting Jobe Watson. But John Stensholt of The Australian Financial Review attributed the remark to McDevitt2 as did Triple M4.

Either way, in this next quote, he is definitely speaking for himself.

“You can’t on one hand say nothing illegal or harmful was given, when on the other hand you can’t actually state what was given,” he said.

By the same token, I would argue, “You can’t on one hand prosecute a case that something illegal or harmful was given, when on the other hand you can’t actually prove what was given.”

It sounded so familiar. Where had I heard a similar line before? Oh, yes. Hans Blix, head of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq, writing about Weapons of Mass Deception, um, Destruction [WMD]: “The governments that launched the war claimed to be 100% convinced that there were such weapons, but they had 0% knowledge of where these weapons were.”3

McDevitt stated that there were two separate issues. One was governance. It sounded like he accepted that that issue had been settled. “I acknowledge the strong actions taken by the AFL in dealing with the governance issues.”

So, presumably, his only concern now is about the use of prohibited substances.

Scientists like to set up experiments to test their propositions. In the realm of human endeavour, this is not always easy. By a curious quirk of fate, an event made the news recently that provides us with some sort of comparison. Two Collingwood footballers were reported to have returned positive “A” samples.

Here’s McDevitt again. “… ASADA tendered almost 700 documents to the tribunal.”

700 documents, 34 players – and yet, to the best of my knowledge, not a single document referring to a single player with a positive drug test. What are the chances?

As has been said by countless observers, the players in question may have been injected with anything. But where’s the evidence that they were injected with banned substances?

It seems to me that, way back at the time when we first heard about this fiasco, instead of holding a press conference, ASADA might have been better advised to begin an investigation.

[1] Ben McDevitt press conference Wednesday 1 April 2015. Listen to it here:

All quotes above, except the one by Hans Blix, are statements made by Ben McDevitt in (the recording of) the press conference.

[2] “Ball-up or down in the dumps”, Australian Financial Review, 2 April 2015, p7.

[3] “Hans Blix: Iraq War was a terrible mistake and violation of U.N. charter”, Hans Blix, March 19, 2013


About Charlie Krebs

The Footy Bogan is a self-confessed unrepentant Collingwood tragic. For more years than he cares to remember he has been writing about footy, mainly Collingwood, but sometimes, when provoked, about related matters. He started his self-titled blog in July 2011 when - but you can read all about that at

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