Archive for the ‘Drugs in Sport’ Category

The Paul Gallen Embarrassment Continues

Confessed drug cheat and NRL embarrassment, Paul Gallen , has apologised for an expletive laden tirade on social media.

The embarrassment continues with Paul Gallen. Image:

The embarrassment continues with Paul Gallen. Image:

Gallen has been nothing but an embarrassment for Australian sport and the NRL in particular. His poor sportsmanship on the field, confessed use of banned substances and childish outbursts on social media have even his most ardent supporters wondering whether he is the man to lead Australia in the upcoming Four Nations competition.

Inexplicably, the NRL are standing by Gallen. While Chief Dave Smith is outraged at Gallen’s behaviour reporters have been told nothing will be done. Chairman of NRL Dr George Peponis (a former Kangaroos captain himself) has said there has been no thought of stripping Gallen of the Captaincy.

73% of respondents in a current poll disagree.

There was outrage at the slap-on-the-wrist bans offered by ASADA in the long-running and ultimately disappointing investigations into doping. Gallen was at the centre of the scandal and admitted his involvement. His career has been mired with ugly off-field incidents including, but not limited to, an ugly and very public Tweeting brawl with then coach Brian Smith, racism, public urination, gouging at the surgical stitches of an opponent, punching  opponents, and confessing to performance enhancing drug use.

For the NRL to take no action is appalling.

The Tweet was sent to colleague David Riccio in the wake of the sacking of chief executive Steve Noye:

“@DaveRic1 Steve Noice (sic) actually cared about players from Cronulla’s feelings. Couldn’t say that about any other [email protected]*! From Nrl.’

Anderson Silva Speaks Out On Drugs in MMA

Anderson Silva. Image:

Anderson Silva. Image:

MMA legend Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva believes fighters who test positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) should be banned from fighting – period.

Silva’s comments come ahead of his much anticipated UFC 183 fight against Nick Diaz, on January 31.

And Anderson should know something about steroid cheats. Of his 15 UFC opponents 7 have, at some stage, tested positive to banned substances. Not that it did them much good.

Chris Leben, Nate Marquardt, James Irvin, Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Stephen Bonnar, and Chael Sonnen are the high profile fighters who’ve fallen foul of the drug-testers. And these are only the ones Silva has fought.

The UFC is fast overtaking competitive cycling for being the sport most entrenched in PEDs.

In an interview with MMA Junkie Silva said, “This is not bad for me, this is bad for the sport. People around the world love the UFC … I don’t think this is good because the sport can change the lives of the kids and the people in the world.”

The UFC has been under pressure to reduce the number of positive results from its athletes. Random drug tests have been part of every UFC contract, but many athletes are thumbing their noses at the restrictions. In 2015 the organisation hopes to implement a full-scale program.

But Silva believes there will always be some athletes who find a way around the rules. When they do get caught Silva believes they should be banned for life.

The 39 year-old Silva has undergone his share of drug tests also; all of them returning negative results. “Steroids make the sport bad,”

Professor of Ethics Pushes for Rethink on performance Enhancing Drugs

Professor of Ethics at Oxford University Julian Savulescu. Photo:

Professor of Ethics at Oxford University Julian Savulescu. Photo:

Oxford University professor Julian Savulescu has labelled the ASADA investigation in to Essendon a “disgrace” and a “gross misuse of public funds”. The professor of ethics made the announcement ahead of his presentation at Deakin Edge on Thursday.

As the Essendon club await Friday’s court ruling over the legality of ASADA’s investigation, professor Savulescu made these startling comments to the press: “The substances that have been widely discussed in Australia recently are substances where there isn’t evidence of significant risk and don’t significantly change the natures of the activity.”

”Thymosin,” he continued, “has been associated with increased tissue repair, which is something that seems quite worthwhile. AOD-6904 is now an approved food supplement in the US.

“What you see is people focusing on the wrong end. They’re trying to pick up anything athletes are taking. What you want to be picking up is things that are unsafe or are really distorting performance.”

The professor then went on to suggest the existence of outright hypocrisy in the laws governing Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). He used the analogy of an injured player being injected with a local anesthetic before and during a match. The anesthetic masks the pain of the injury allowing him to play to his potential. Without the anesthetic his performance would be compromised.

“That’s a performance enhancer and it’s also against the spirit of sport.” And as the PED laws stand now – quite legal.

Professor Savulescu is in Australia to argue why current bans on PEDs are ruining sport in Australia. He firmly believes the use of human growth hormones and anabolic steroids are permissible in certain scenarios.

“Substances like growth hormones and anabolic steroids are safe when given in physiological doses by a medical professional and can accelerate recovery from injury,” he told the press.

“If you take a massive dose like the East German swimmers, yes, you’ll have side effects, but it’s pretty easy to detect that level of overdose.

The crux of the professor’s message is that, as it currently stands, doping agencies are losing their war on PEDs. And they will continue to lose this war unless there is a serious rethink; not just on doping, but on the hype surrounding doping.

Jeff Robson Shows Toughness Still a Part of NRL

The beleaguered Cronulla Sharks played a standout game against the North Queensland Cowboys on Monday night. Sadly the understrength side went down in golden point. I say sadly because whether you are a Sharks fan or not every rugby league fan applauded the bravery shown by half-back Jeff Robson.

Only 10 minutes into the game the gutsy 88kg Robson was called upon to stop a rampaging 110kg Jason Taumalolo as he roared into the defensive line. Robson set himself for the tackle, but placed his head in an awkward position. The crown of Robson’s head connected with Taumalolo’s hip causing a gruesome cut in his scalp. Robson was drenched in his own blood from the cut which resulted in an immediate blood bin.

Jeff Robson Injury. Photo:

Jeff Robson Injury. Photo:

He was ushered into the change rooms and stitched up. The crown of his head was bandaged, he put on a playing helmet, and then – incredibly – he came back on!

Cronulla staff said Robson was eager to return to the field, pressuring the medicos to hurry up. His side was gelling; they had the scent of victory. Robson wanted his young players to experience what would have been the upset of five centuries.

The young Cronulla side have lost several marquee players to the ASADA doping ban. This, as Robson pointed out to the players filling their spots, is their time to shine.

And shine they did.

The Cowboys were at full strength and regarded as serious finals contenders. For the lowly, under-manned, strife-torn Sharks to come so close to beating them stunned everyone.

Robson’s toughness lifted his side – how could it not. It shows that rugby league is still a hard-man’s game despite the dives, angling for penalties and pathetic scrums.

Paul Gallen’s Incredible Post-2011 Running Stat’s

Figures cataloging meters gained per year by Paul Gallen have attracted widespread scrutiny. Gallen, along with 16 other ex-Cronulla players, last week plead guilty to ‘unwittingly’ taking performance banned enhancing substances.

Paul Gallen, late bloomer? Photo

Paul Gallen, late bloomer? Photo

Gallen took the reduced sentence in an effort to put the ASADA drug probe behind him. However, these fresh figures are cause for more consternation.

The figures detail the number of games played by Gallen each year and the number of times he ran for more than 200 meters.

Running 200 meters in an NRL game is an incredible achievement. It is something done only by the very elite. Even then, players in certain positions (such as fullback) are more likely to run further per game owing to the distance they have from attacking players when they receive the ball.

Forwards, such as Gallen, usually receive the ball within 10 meters of the opposition. The going is much, much harder for them.

However, Gallen’s meters gained per match were off the charts during and since 2011; the year the banned substances were introduced.

Since 2011 Gallen has run for more than 200 meters in a match on more than 24 occasions! And that’s in only 61 top grade matches. This is a stunning 39 per cent of matches played!

The next best runner for over 200 meters in a game is full back Jarrod Hayne. Hayne ran for over 200 meters in a match only 12 times in 66 games. This means Hayne played five more matches than Gallen but only managed to run over 200 meters on half as many occasions. And Hayne is a full back!

The closest forward to Gallen’s numbers is fellow Cronulla player Andrew Fifita who has run for more than 200 meters 6 times in 76 games (4.5 per cent of the time).

In State of Origin games, since 2011, Gallen has averaged a jaw-dropping 160 meters per game. This is unbelievable at this elite level of football. During the regular seasons since 2011 Gallen has averaged 186 meters per game; a full 42 meters more per game than the next best, South Sydney’s colossus Sam Burgess.

In the first eight rounds of the 2012 season Gallen averaged 218 meters each game.

Maybe Gallen is simply an incredible athlete? If so, then why didn’t he show such promise prior to 2011?

Year                      Games                  200m+                  Year                      Games                  200m+

2001                     02                          0                            2011                     20                          6

2002                     21                          0                            2012                     16                          9

2003                     17                          0                            2013                     16                          8

2004                     19                          3                            2014                     9                            1

2005                     25                          4

2006                     18                          1

2007                     19                          2

2008                     20                          2

2009                     16                          3

2010                     23                          5

Pre 2011             180                       20                          Post 2011            61                          24


Source: Fox Sports Stat’s

World Anti-Doping Authority Concerned Over ASADA Leniency

Confessed banned-substance taker Paul Gallen has been made ineligible or the Brad Fittler medal awarded to the best New South Wales player in an Origin series.

On Wednesday Fittler remarked to media that he felt uncomfortable with the possibility of Gallen perhaps winning the medal named in his honour. Fittler said he didn’t want his name associated with someone confessing to using a banned substance as it could bring the award and his own reputation into disrepute.

The NRL considered Fittler’s denunciation. Today Gallen, currently suspended from competition, was made ineligible for the Brad Fittler medal and the Dally M (awarded to the representative player of the year).

It was a difficult decision to make for the NSWRL board. Every time something like this happens it prevents the game from moving on from the ASADA investigation. The board met for several hours on Friday morning to discuss Fittler’s proposal. They made the decision to make Gallen ineligible within a few hours.

No one is disagreeing with them.

Paul Gallen. One of 12 former cronulla players to admit to taking a banned substance. Photo:

Paul Gallen. One of 12 former cronulla players to admit to taking a banned substance. Photo:

The fact that Gallen (and others making the same deal with ASADA) received only a three week ban for admitting to taking a banned substance has outraged professional athletes in almost every other sport. That Gallen (and others) do not have the games they won forfeited from their records is scandalous. That they keep the money for their game-day appearances and sponsorships is tantamount to hypocrisy.

For Gallen to possibly win an award while serving a doping ban would be ridiculous.

Just look at what happened to Lance Armstrong if you want to know how drug-cheats fare in other sports.

ASADA – NRL Doping Deal Attracting Scorn

Fans of all sports are outraged at the finger-pointing, slap-on-the-wrist, dirty deal made between ASADA and the NRL. So much so everyone, from the players’ keenest supporters to the World Anti-Doping Authority, are taking a keen interest in the sufficiency of the ban.

On Friday 12 former Cronulla Sharks players admitted to taking banned substances in the 2012 season. This ended an 18 month, entirely futile, investigation by ASADA.

With one voice the Sharks players said they took the performance enhancing substances unwittingly, putting all the blame on Cronulla support staff. The highest profile scapegoat being Stephen Dank.

Anyone with even a passing interest in professional sport will at once smell a rat. Professional athletes must take very good care of their bodies. Their bodies, after all, are their livelihood. Any professional athlete will be able to tell you the breakdown of every substance entering their bodies – how many calories, carbs, sugars, fats etc. They will know to the finest detail what substances are banned and what are not. It is, after all their job to know these things.

Paul Gallen. One of 12 former cronulla players to admit to taking a banned substance. Photo:

Paul Gallen. One of 12 former cronulla players to admit to taking a banned substance. Photo:

For the Cronulla Sharks to blame their support staff entirely is outrageous. It’s tantamount to blaming the person who gave you a box of chocolates for your eating them all.

Even New South Wales great Brad Fittler was dismayed. Fittler stressed his opposition to Paul Gallen winning the Brad Fittler Medal for best New South Wales player in an Origin series. Fittler told The Daily Telegraph that Gallen had taken the offered ban after many months of strenuously asserting his innocence. If he’s (Gallen) done nothing wrong, then why admit to it?

Athletes from other sports have also weighed into the controversy, pointing to the flagrant double standards of the deal. ‘How can a ban be back dated to include games that were played?’ asked one person, ‘They keep the wins and the game money. Where’s the ban in that?’

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier Get the Party Started Early at UFC 178 Weigh-Ins



If they wanted attention, they got it. World UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and contender Daniel Cormier have come to blows at a news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The two were on stage to promote their UFC 178 fight on September 27.

Cormier was on stage waiting for the champion. Jones, with the championship belt onhis shoulder, strode up to the smaller man and lowered his face into Cormier’s own, butting his head. Incensed, Cormier pushed Jones back, sending him sprawling. Jones scrambled to his feet and dove at Cormier; both men lashing out with fists and feet.

The fight veterans shoved aside security guards like they were made of jelly and went to it.

Their scuffle destroyed the cardboard promotional wall behind them, sent furniture flying. Cormier was flung off the stage and Jones pursued. Both men were at each other on the marble floor of the hotel while the gleeful press and promoters basked in the thoughts of tomorrows headlines.

To their credit, after the conference both men showed this was more than an elaborate hoax by taking their brawl to social media.

Jon Jones posted on Instagram: “I didn’t start it, but I sure did finish it. To be continued” #AndStill”.

Cormier posted on Twitter: “I won’t let another man get in my face and put his forehead against mine. I will react every time. @JonnyBones next time I will slap you.”

He’ll want to do more than slap. Jon ‘Bones’ Jones is acknowledged as the best fighter in the world. He has only once ever been tested. And that by former UFC star Chael P. Sonnen, who was controversially dropped by the UFC for failing a drugs test.



Titans Lose Main Sponsor.

Moribund NRL football club the Gold Coast Titans have had another nail hammered into their coffin. Their major sponsor iSelect has pulled the pin on it’s four-year deal, leaving the club with no sponsor at the end of the year. iSelect had the option of remaining the club’s main sponsor until the end of 2016, but have chosen to part ways with the club in the wake of fresh investigations from the NRL integrity unit.

Titans Chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle. Photo:

Titans Chairwoman Rebecca Frizelle. Photo:

Just like the inquiry into illegal drugs in sport, the integrity unit’s probe is dragging ever on. The investigation is now into its eighth month, with no sign of a conclusion on the horizon. “We haven’t been given time frames,” said a clearly frustrated Rebecca Frizelle (Titans’ chairwoman), “as it is an NRL investigation which is ongoing at this point in time, however the NRL has indicated that they would like to finalise it as soon as possible.”

Titans boss, graham Anneslyey, is out beating the drum in a desperate effort to replace the income deficit left by iSelect’s departure. He told reporters he will be meeting with two major international businesses this week.

On Friday Pivotal Homes signed up with the Titans as sponsors to next year’s Auckland Nines tournament. And while this is one piece of most needed good news for the football franchise, it is nowhere near enough.

Frizelle reiterated the club’s openness and compliance with the NRL auditors, “We have provided full access to all Titans records and documentation including the financials,” she said.

Should the Titans be dragged down by this latest controversy the consequences would be severe. Should the Gold Coast franchise lose their right to host a club in the NRL it is unlikely they would get the opportunity again.

Gallen Hopes to Fight Kimbo Slice Later this Year.

Kimbo Slice was asked to fill the card of the Daniel Geal – Anthony Mundine fight, but found himself without an opponent. He raised eyebrows by sending an open invitation to Australian boxers – anyone game (or stupid) enough may apply.

Blues skipper Paul Gallen has signalled his gameness (or stupidity). He has put in motion processes to accept the challenge. Should the fight receive the stamp of approval it will likely be



only one of three fights Gallen is hoping for in the rugby league off-season.

Paul Gallen made his boxing debut prior to the 2014 football season. He clung on for an unconvincing victory against Herman Ene-Purcell after being knocked to the ground in the early rounds.

Lawyers for Gallen still battle to clear the footballer’s name as the ASADA investigation into drugs in sport drags ever on. Gallen is fighting to have his name removed from the drug inquiries Register of Interest which determines which players are worthy of closer scrutiny.