Archive for the ‘Drugs in Sport’ Category

NSAC Makes Harsh Changes to Drug Penalties

Image: en.wikipedia.org

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has passed new rules aimed at stamping out the use of performance enhancing and banned substances.

The new rules provide enforcement authorities with the ability to suspend offenders for a first time offence, plus fine them 40 to 50 per cent of their fight purse,. A third offence will attract a lifetime ban.

But the killer blow is this: ANY positive result overturns a win into a loss.

Previously both fighters would be given the result ‘no-contest’; a blot on the careers of both men.

Curiously, with the power to reverse a fight decision because of a failed drug test, we could now see a fighter can be knocked out and still get a win!

The changes come in response to the stinging criticism. The commission was lambasted for being powerless to punish former light-heavyweight Jon Jones after finding cocaine metabolites in his blood stream.

At a drawn-out and at times heated meeting the members of the NSAC decided to implement the punitive measures; some of which include guidelines for fines and suspensions of offenders.

As an example of the commission’s seriousness: The meeting memo proposed a first time steroid offender be suspended for two-years (a virtual death knell to any aspiring fighter’s career). The commission voted for three-years.

Punishments are separated according to drug type. Below is a brief overview:

Steroids:

  • First Offense: Three year suspension plus 50-70 per cent of the purse.
  • Second Offense: Four year ban plus 75-100 per cent of the purse.
  • Third Offense: Lifetime ban and 100 per cent of the fighter’s purse.

Stimulants:

  • First Offense: Two year ban and 35-45 per cent of the purse
  • Second Offense: three year ban and 50-60 per cent of the purse.
  • Third Offense: Lifetime ban and 100 per cent of the purse.

Sedatives, muscle relaxants, sleep aids, anxiolytics, opiates and cannabis/ marijuana:

  • First Offense: 18 months and 30-40 per cent of the purse.
  • Second Offense: Two year ban and 40-45 per cent of the purse.,
  • Third Offense: Three year bgan and 60-75 per cent of the purse.
  • Fourth Offense: Lifetime ban and 100 per cent of the purse.

All punishments are judged on a case-by-case basis. These are not blanket mandatory terms, only guidelines.

Greg Bird Gets 8 Weeks for Throwing Tackle

Image of Greg Bird diving: www.triplem.com.au

Greg Bird is fast becoming (if he isn’t already) the most shamed man in the NRL. Bird was banned yesterday for eight weeks after a lifting tackle on New Zealand winger Jason Nightingale, in Sunday’s ANZAC.

This means Bird will be ineligible to play for the entire Origin series.

Bird pleaded guilty to the charge of a dangerous throw; but chose to contest its grade two severity. The judiciary of Chris McKenna, Bronson Harrison and Mal Cochrane, however, disagreed and upheld the initial grading.

Bird now becomes the fourth most suspended player in NRL history, having been sidelined for 29 matches.

The NRL hall so shame is as follows:

  1. John Hopoate – 45 weeks of suspensions.
  2. Luke O’Donnell and Craig Smith – 32 weeks each.
  3. Greg Bird – 29 weeks.
  4. Danny Williams – 28 weeks.

Manly player Steve Matai is nipping at Williams’ heels with 23 weeks-worth of suspensions to his discredit.

Bird refused to speak to the waiting media. But Coach Neil Henry had this to say: “Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome.

“We thought we made a strong case for a downgrade – grade two to grade one – and we thought we had evidence to prove that.

“Unfortunately that wasn’t the case with the judiciary.

“As a club we are very disappointed to lose the services of Greg for an extended period of time.”

Bird will be able to re-join his Titans in round 19 of the regular season this year; against Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.

Greg Bird’s rap sheet is as follows:

2004: 10 match suspension for striking (welcome to the NRL).

2004: 3 matches for a dangerous throw

2005: 2 matches for another dangerous throw

2011: 1 match suspension for striking

2014: 2 matches for a dangerous throw

2014: 2 matches for another dangerous throw

2014: Another match suspension for a dangerous throw

2015: 8 match suspension for a dangerous throw

Bird also faced the judiciary in 2003 and 2013; however he received no suspensions in either case.

And let’s not forget he is currently rated in the top three divers in the game.

And he is currently preparing to face drug charges in the Southport Magistrates court.

‘Divers’ Ruining Rugby League

Image of Greg Bird diving: www.triplem.com.au

NRL players are attracting increasing amounts of criticism for taking dives.

What was once a hard-man’s game is increasingly looking more like South American soccer.

Players who inadvertently take a tacklers arm above the chest now flop onto the ground like they’ve been pole axed. Maybe they roll around a bit clutching at their head, the trainer runs on and everybody waits for the video referee to ascertain whether the tackle crept a bit high. Finally, when the penalty is awarded, the player leaps to their feet and continues none the worse for the experience.

It makes a mockery of the game, the rules, and the players.

But what makes this an insult is that it happened over the ANZAC weekend; a time when the NRL were loudly celebrating the toughness, camaraderie, and spirit of diggers who have served their country.

Yes, contact with the head is against the rules of the game.

But that rule is only there to protect players from being injured.

If a player isn’t injured then they shouldn’t be awarded a penalty.

Injured players don’t just jump back to their feet when a penalty is awarded; only divers do that. Anyone caught diving should be penalised – heavily.

Divers are doing far more damage to the game of rugby league than someone whose tackle slips a bit high. They are ruining the game for current and prospective fans alike.

NRL fans have taken to social media to single out the game’s biggest divers. Among them are Greg Bird and Michael Ennis; though the hall of shame is far from limited to these two.

Chief executive of the NRL, Dave Smith, has said the onus on eradicating diving is squarely on the coaches. He has called a meeting of coaches at Rugby league Central today to thrash out a plan.

Dank Takes Rap for Essendon Drugs Scandal

Stephen Dank Image: www.abc.net.au

Biochemist Stephen Dank has been found guilty of 10 violations of the AFL anti-doping code. Among the offences for which he was found guilty were: trafficking, attempting to traffic and the somewhat vaguely worded – ‘complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances’.

However, Dank escaped a guilty verdict on more than 20 other charges. Curiously the charges for which Dank was found not-guilty included all those relating to administering banned drugs to AFL players – to the enormous relief of the Essendon AFL club.

Dank was linked, in some capacity, to the prohibited substances Hexarelin, Humanofort, Thymosin beta-4, CJC-1295, GHRP6, and SARMS.

The tribunal’s decision says Dank is to blame for everything and the Essendon players were unwitting victims.

Dank is already beginning proceedings for a legal challenge to the rulings. The guilty verdicts may ban him from working in competitive sporting codes for life.

A decision on the severity and length of Dank’s penalties will be decided at a hearing on May 5.

“My legal team is reviewing the judgment with a view to taking appropriate legal action,” said Dank.

 A spokesperson for ASADA said to the herald Sun: “ASADA is disappointed in the tribunal’s decision to clear Mr Dank of a number of serious alleged violations.” They have promised to review the verdicts carefully.

Dank Left to Carry the Can

Stephen Dank Image: www.abc.net.au

Stephen Dank is being left to carry the can on the glacially slow and ineffective ASADA investigation into AFL doping.

‘The Essendon 34’ (as they have come to be known) have been cleared of taking the performance-enhancing peptide Thymosin Beta-4. This leaves only the sports scientist Dank to carry the blame.

ASADA is hoping for a decision from the tribunal before the appeal period expires on April 21.

Dank is facing more than a dozen charges under the AFL Anti-Doping Code, but has not yet received notification about judgement from the Tribunal.

Even when he does, said the correspondence to Dank, his charges may not be read out that day.

ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt said, ‘”We eagerly await that component from the Tribunal because Stephen Dank was the alleged architect here, and so it will be very interesting to see what the findings are; and what the reasons behind those findings are from the tribunal.

‘It will certainly enable us to make a more informed decision.”

Among the charges are: Dank is alleged to have administered Thymosin Bta-4 to Essendon players; Hexarelin to players; was in possession of Thymosin Beta-4, Hexarelin and Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators.

Dank denies all allegations of wrongdoing. He has not appeared before the tribunal and refuses to co-operate with the ASADA investigation.

Meanwhile, josh Thomas and Lachlan Keeffe will face another round of tests from ASADA after initially testing positive to the outlawed drug Clenbuteroll.

The pair is scheduled to meet with representatives from ASADA on Monday to discuss their situation.

Pacquiao – Mayweather Brawl Gets Uglier

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The Pacquiao – Mayweather feud just got even worse. And it’s not a media beat-up.

Philippine fighter and multiple world champion Manny Pacquiao has hinted at his dislike for American undefeated champion Floyd Mayweather. But ahead of their May 2 WBC welterweight showdown Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has admitted his fighter is fueled by Mayweather’s long and well documented history of domestic violence.

“For the first time in my life with Manny Pacquiao,” said Roach to USA Today Sports, “this is the first fighter he hasn’t liked; and I can tell.

“I know Manny Pacquiao doesn’t like this guy, and I think those are the reasons why.”

Mayweather has been involved in seven instances of alleged physical assault – on five different women. All of them ended with the fighter being either arrested or issued with a citation.

In 2012 Mayweather was sentenced to two months in a Nevada detention facility for his attack on Josie Harris – mother to three of his four children. The attack was witnessed by two of his sons.

“Manny is really against domestic violence,: said Roach who has himself witnessed his father striking his mother.

“It’s a big issue in the Philippines for him,” said Roach. “And him being a congressman, he can control some of that stuff. I’ve even thought about bringing a couple of the metro cops from Vegas in to tell Manny how many times he’d been arrested and how bad a guy he is. But I decided I can’t go that far. He (Pacquiao) already doesn’t like him (Mayweather).”

It seems the feeling is mutual.

In 2010 Mayweather launch an outrageous racist attack against Pacquiao over the internet. He called Pacquiao ‘that little yellow chump’ and promised to make the Philippine sensation ‘make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.’

He then hinted that Pacquiao used PEDs. Pacquiao sued and the case was settled out of court.

But it’s not really settled until one of the fighters has beaten the other into submission.

May 2, people – Wait for May 2.

Titans’ Woes Continue

http://www.cbussuperstadium.com.au/Venue-Hire.aspx

The woes of the Gold Coast Titans just continue.

It has now come to light that Titans management were only  hours away from moving their Friday night game against the Broncos to another stadium. Despite absorbing millions of dollars in sponsorships, donations, and now buy-outs by the NRL, the club continues to haemorrhage money. The threat to move the game from its home at Robina Cbus Super Stadium was yet another attempt at penny-pinching.

Negotiations between the titans and Stadiums Queensland hit a stalemate on the Tuesday before the game. Any agreements need to be finalised by this time as transport, police, catering, and a slew of other support services need to be notified in order to ready their staff.

In frantic last-minute discussions the two parties reached a short-term agreement allowing the game to proceed. But the Titans’ home ground is far from secure.

Prior to the club going into voluntary receivership in February, it was paying $2 million a year toplay 1its 12 home-games at the Robina stadium.

That, Titans management argue, is too much.

The cost of hiring the stadium is the club’s second largest cost behind the salaries of players and staff. According to management it contributed significantly to the financial struggles that saw the club into voluntary administration.

Graham Annesley, head of the Titans and Head of Club Services, Tony Carwford, are expected to thrash out a longer-term agreement with stadiums Queensland in the coming week. Upon this agreement hang the jobs of hundreds of support staff and loyalty of fans.

A spokesperson for Stadiums Queensland told reporters that one method of reducing stadium cost was to limit seating.

This was tried by Clive Palmer when he owned the now defunct Gold Coast United A-League football team. It was meant with a huge supporter backlash as fans were unable to see their team play.

Moving the team to another stadium will likewise present many loyal fans with problems of attending their match.

Considering the sponsorship, donations, and buy-out they have received, one has to wonder: What the Titans are doing with their money?

Headline Announcement for Fight Night 69

Alexander Gustafsson image: en.wikipedia.org

UFC President Dana White has announced Alexander Gustafsson (16-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) will meet Glover Teixeira (22-4 MM, 5-2 UFC) on June 20 at the O2 World Berlin, in Germany, for Fight Night 69.

As yet the rest of the card remains something of a mystery, but the two headliners are sure to attract worldwide attention.

Gustafsson, currently ranked No. 4, is looking to get back in the winner’s circle after a knockout loss to big hitting Anthony Johnson. Gustafsson and Johnson were fighting for a title shot against incumbent champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.

The 28 year-old Gustafsson has already fought Jones once; narrowly losing in what many considered to be the fight of the year in 2013.

Following his defeat, Gustafsson scored a TKO victory over Jimi Manuwa in the early months of 2014; before suffering defeat at the hands of ‘Rumble’ Johnson earlier this year.

The 35 year-old Brazilian Teixeira, on the other hand, is fighting to stay in the UFC. After exploding onto the UFC scene by winning his first five fights Teixeria was beaten by Jones in a title fight a year ago. He was then defeated by Phil ‘Mr Wonderful’ Davis in October by unanimous-decision.

Titans Post First 2015 Win – But Still a Long Way to Go

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The struggling Gold Coast Titans have posted their first win of the 2015 season. On the weekend they overcame a hapless Cronulla Sharks to move to 1-3 for the season.

Saved from certain extinction by the NRL, plagued by drug charges against five of its senior players, and wracked with systemic failures and a dwindling support base the Titans are playing for their survival this year.

Captain Nate Myles said, “We need to create more of a winning feeling through the team.” This as the Titans admitted their reluctance to renew Myles’ contract for 2016.

Coach Neil Henry is fighting to keep his Captain at the club. But it seems the recruiting department have other ideas.

In-form centre James Roberts has been whispered to be high on the Titans’ re-signing wish list.

The 22 year-old is attracting attention from other clubs, but says he is happy playing for the Coast.

Once considered the fastest man in the NRL, Roberts spent most of last season on the sidelines with a broken ankle. He has now played 16 consecutive matches for the sky blues and has scored a creditable 20 tries in 32 matches. Roberts says he is finding form again and is keen to put more points on the board.

Roberts was sensational against Cronulla on the weekend. He blew past defenders to score two tries – one of which involved a heart-stopping intercept in the last five minutes of the game. He also wrestled the ball away from a Cronulla attacker to put big Dave Taylor over for another.

Roberts was yet another reject picked up by the Titans for a song. Penrith cut him loose early last year and Roberts says he is keen to repay the club.

Betsy Andreu Gets Last Say On Armstrong

Frankie Andreu. Imagge: "Frankie Andreu Ron Kiefel 1991 Thrift Drug Classic" by Joe Papp - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frankie_Andreu_Ron_Kiefel_1991_Thrift_Drug_Classic.jpg#/media/File:Frankie_Andreu_Ron_Kiefel_1991_Thrift_Drug_Classic.jpg

After testifying under oath in 2006 about the doping practices of Lance Armstrong Betsy Andreu (wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu) has finally been vindicated.

Mrs Andreu testified before the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Tuesday.

She described to reporters the twenty years since she first made her allegations: “He (Armstrong) destroyed my entire life and during 10 years he tried to destroy my reputation.

But after having her say before the WADA meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland she felt vindicated.

“The truth has emerged and it’s a victory for me to be here today and to talk to WADA’s members.”

Mrs Andreu, and her husband, testified in 2006 that Armstrong had been using banned performance enhancing drugs as early as 1996.

Armstrong and Andreu rode together on the Motorola team in the early 1990s and again for the all-conquering US Postal team from 1998-2000.

“Cycling is my husband’s passion, he’s been riding since he was ten.

Mrs Andreu said her husband’s doping admission in 2012 had taken its toll. It was enough to turn their three children away from the sport for good.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tours de France victories and banned from competitive cycling for life.

‘We are still personae non grata in American cycling,” she said.