AFL has 'open mind' on Essendon charges
"There has been no predetermination of this matter," says AFL chief Andrew Demetriou as he releases details of charges against the club.PT2M47S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2sb2o 620 349 August 21, 2013
The unearthing of the "mystery letter" penned by Essendon club doctor Bruce Reid to coach James Hird and then-football manager Paul Hamilton has the potential to absolve the veteran medico of complicity in the initial stages of the supplements saga, and heaps further pressure on the club.
The letter, written by the doctor on or about January 17 2012, reveals that Reid had "fundamental problems being club doctor" in the face of the supplements given to Essendon footballers, and that he had no prior knowledge that they would be injected with AOD-9604 or the calf's blood extract Actovegin.
Essendon veteran Dr Bruce Reid. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
It had been previously believed Reid had approved the use of the World Anti-Doping Agency-banned AOD-9604, as stated by Bombers' captain Jobe Watson.
Reid was last week charged with bringing the game into disrepute, along with Hird, assistant coach Mark Thompson and football manager Danny Corcoran.
The 33-page document released by the AFL on Wednesday includes assertions that, after writing about his initial concerns, Reid then oversaw parts of the program.
Reid's letter to Hird and Hamilton reveals how conflicted he felt at raising his objection to the supplements regime adopted by a club he has served for more than 30 years, which left him "very frustrated" but also feeling like "I am letting the club down by not automatically approving of these things".
"I need to collect my thoughts as these drugs have been given without my knowledge," Reid wrote.
The veteran doctor referred to "subcutaneous injections" given to players the previous Sunday, "not by myself, and I had no idea that this was happening and also what drug was involved".
He wrote that he was unsure whether AOD-9604 was at that time approved by drug authorities for use in Australia, and of his belief that if Essendon was "resorting to deliver this altered growth hormone molecule" then the club was "playing at the edge" which would "read extremely badly in the press for our club".
Reid stated that the long-term side effects were unknown, and the fact that the major market for AOD-9604 in America was in body builders "should raise a red flag if we are worried about perception".
Reid ended his letter by declaring that he was sure Stephen Dank believed the supplements program was "totally ethical and legal", but to take a step back from what was happening was to wonder "whether you would want your children being injected" with substances that were not freely available to the community.