Yawn! The Essendon saga: a way out?

It really peeves me how our great game has been dragged into the mire by Essendon’s flagrant and irresponsible creation of a “pharmacological experimental environment” involving its players in 2012 and its subsequent continuing cover-up.

What really pisses me is that the footy public, which has a right to know the truth, is as much in the dark as it was when the Essendon saga first hit the fan two years ago because of the prevarication, sleight of hand, double-speak and legal manoeuvring of the club and its coach.

At no time has Essendon, or its board, or coach taken unqualified responsibility for their mismanagement, and a cloak of secrecy, accusations, denials and self-righteousness has dominated the matter ever since. Indeed, at times, the picture painted by the club is that that it is the victim and everyone else is to blame.

And so it goes on and on, with the bumbling ASADA investigation and costly, distracting, seemingly irrelevant and secretive court cases and appeals. Even the players have added to the farce (on costly legal advice, no doubt) to insist on anonymity. Jeez, my eight year old grandson (who sadly follows the Bombers) can rattle off their names without thinking too much about it.

Sorry to bore you with a re-run of re-runs, but I had to set the scene for my solution to finding a way out of this embarrassing impasse.

For starters, thank God, I’m no lawyer so I can’t be bedazzled by the legal complexities arising from my suggestion. Also, I must declare my belief in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy – so I see no other impediments getting in the way of adopting my approach.

Here it is! Why not establish a Truth & Reconciliation Commission?

What if all relevant parties were invited to participate in such a Commission and were assured immunity and no recriminations as a result of their previous mistakes/wrongdoing and for telling porkies? Of course, they would be expected to tell the whole truth and nothing but, in order to be left off the hook.

Sure, someone would have to tidy up the current legal issues as well as get ASADA to pull its head in.

No doubt, there would inevitably be some damaged egos and reputations, however, the Australian sporting public, by and large, can be very forgiving of genuine mea culpas.

And imagine how entertaining it would be for the sporting public. Forget the World Cup Cricket thingy and the Asian Cup Soccer thingy – AFL footy would monopolise the headlines for weeks – no, months!

Clearing the air once and for all, would then allow us get back to enjoying the best game in the world.

About Don De Lene

Writer, thinker, football-lover (AFL), North Melbourne member


  1. Thats an option Don.

    The other option would be to de-register the club which would (more) swiftly enable the rest of us to move on.

    As someone who is thoroughly fed up with Essendon’s continuing obfuscation, I strongly favour the latter option.

  2. Lovely idea, backed by the fact that whatever went on it did not meaningfully improve Essendon’s performance. Not sure WADA’d be having it though – they stopped believing in fictional beings when Armstrong got busted.

  3. Number cruncher says

    Hey Dave. If the supplements were illegal, I don’t know if we dismiss that they didn’t meaningfully improve Essendon’s performance. Watson won a Brownlow, didn’t he? Isn’t that stealing something meaningful from another player?

  4. Yep, fair point re. Watson. As for the rest of the team I was taking the collective scoreboards as sufficient evidence (i.e. it may have improved their performance but meant meaningful in that they had limited impact on that premiership season).

  5. Number cruncher says

    Dave, guess it’s an unknowable, isn’t it? But even though they didn’t win a flag while possibly doped, it bugs me that they still may had an enhanced performance. As an Essendon hater, I would feel chagrined if their team may have been wooden spooners in the Dank years. If they were indeed the worst team in these years, nothing would have given me more pleasure (and I feel cheated out of that possible pleasure, is what I’m saying.)

  6. Liked your article Don buts there’s no mea culpas in that mob. Besides it sort of takes away the fun of seeing punishment dispensed which God knows some of those mugs ( but not the players) deserve in spades.

  7. Don De Lene says

    Hmmm. Maybe we need an opinion from a diehard Essendon supporter to balance somewhat the feelings so far expressed.
    You know the kind of supporter I’m referring to – the “In Hird I Trust” variety, who sincerely believes all the contradictory rubbish fed to the public by club and coach.

  8. Hey Dave the evidence is fairly strong that the supplement injections meaningfully improved Essendon’s performance. Compare the number of soft tissue injures and final quarter fadeouts pre-injections to those post-injections and you’ll see a very significant difference.
    If James didn’t think that they’d improve performance why did initiate the program?

  9. nah, Don, let it drag on for another few years. Hilarious.

  10. Meanwhile Ahmed Saad has done his “crime ” (I think he drank a Milo before a game) and done his time and moved on. Perhaps there’s a message in there somewhere for Essendon. Cop your right whack and get on with it!

  11. Actually Ahmed scoffed a whole jar of vegemite on match day Dips.

    As for the Truth Chamber idea, haven’t we already all been put through it over the last two years? I’m sure we all have a clear understanding of the rules, the law and the lore by now. And the truth of what happened.

    As for the EFC & and Hird Inc coming clean, don’t hold your breath. As my Old Man would have said — they couldn’t lie straight in bed.

  12. Barkly St End says

    As we await the Tribunal’s decision on whether the 34 Essendon players did or did not take prohibited substances, isn’t it a bit premature to pronounce guilt?

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