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AFLPA slams AFL medical officer Peter Harcourt over claims Essendon players 'passively accepted' supplements program

The AFLPA has slammed Dr Peter Harcourt (far right)

The AFLPA has slammed Dr Peter Harcourt (far right) Photo: Pat Scala

The AFL Players' Association has strongly defended Essendon players against accusations made by the league's chief medical officer Peter Harcourt that they "passively accepted" the instructions of the club's sports science team when taking supplements in 2012.

It was revealed yesterday that late last year Dr Harcourt addressed an anti-doping conference in Zurich, in which he outlined key AFL findings from the league's shared investigation with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping authority, as well as preliminary investigations the AFL made into Essendon's supplements program during 2012 - prior to Essendon self-reporting in February 2013.

The AFLPA slammed comments by Harcourt which suggested that the players did not "jack up and say what the hell is going on".

"As has been made abundantly clear on many occasions, players took an active role in ensuring that the substances they were to be administered were compliant with the WADA Code and were provided with written guarantees from the club to that effect. This is hardly what we would call ‘passive acceptance,’" acting AFLPA CEO Ian Prendergast said in a statement released on Thursday morning.

The AFLPA also criticised Harcourt for speculating on the possible impact that supplements taken by Essendon players may have had on their health. Harcourt flagged that the players would need to be monitored for the potential risk of cancer and hormonal problems.

"We also believe Dr Harcourt’s comments with regards to potential health consequences are unhelpful and have the potential to create unnecessary stress and anxiety for players and their families," Prendergast said.

"As has been reported, the Players’ Association has been working with the AFL and the club to implement a health protocol to monitor players’ health going forward.

"However, to publicly speculate on any potential health issues in the absence of any evidence is premature and inappropriate. We are seeking further information from the AFL in regards to Dr Harcourt’s comments.”

The 34 current and former Essendon players involved are seeking to maintain their anonymity during the ongoing court proceedings involving ASADA, Essendon and its suspended coach James Hird. Prendergast however conceded after yesterday's second directions hearing that the players would need to become involved in some capacity. 

4 comments so far

  • The AFLPA are the biggest bunch of do nothings in this sorry saga.
    If they had any backbone at all they would the first ones at the door of Workcover beating the door down to help "their players and coaches" instead nothing.
    Pathetic!!!

    Commenter
    peter
    Location
    daintree
    Date and time
    July 03, 2014, 4:13PM
    • +1. - The AFLPA are just a bunch of yes men who are in the AFL's pocket. Just part of the boys club clique.

      Commenter
      Shano
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 6:40PM
  • Why aren't the AFLPA worrying about the health of these players that took unknown substances? No instead they want to have it all hushed up.

    Why aren't they helping the players sue the Essendon* FC and Dank for damages???

    Commenter
    John
    Location
    North Melbourne
    Date and time
    July 03, 2014, 6:43PM
    • The AFLPA is the players advocate, what would you expect them to say? Really, you're not going to get any sensible commentary from the AFLPA until this is all over. Harcourt represents all interests, and he probably has a clearer view of the situation. It would have been very easy for the players to check outside the club, yet apparently none did, that fits Harcourt's version of events in my view.

      Commenter
      adam
      Date and time
      July 03, 2014, 7:10PM

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