ASADA 'should withdraw' show-cause notices
Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon tells ABC 774's Jon Faine his personal view that ASADA shouldn't be pursuing Essendon players.PT0M0S 620 349
Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon has bucked the recent trend of rival club presidents and urged ASADA to withdraw its show cause notices against 34 former and current Essendon players owing to a compromised investigation process.
"In my view, the appropriate cause of action is for ASADA to withdraw those show cause notices," Gordon told ABC radio on Friday.
Pointing to the emergence this week of a leaked email trail between the AFL and ASADA in which the regulatory body appeared to agree to, then renege on, a deal to exonerate the players from any possible wrongdoing, Gordon suggested that the cumulative issues with the 16-month investigation meant that the players should be freed from uncertainty.
Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon says the ASADA investigation into Essendon was compromised and the drugs authority should withdraw show-cause notices. Photo: Pat Scala
"I think the most important revelations this week have been that some form of agreement came out between the AFL and ASADA,'' He said. "To me the relevant point is: Was there an understanding that was said to the players?
"Did the players volunteer information subject to that reassurance which they may have been a lot more guarded about?
"The other element in this, which is important, is what's the standard of proof? Does ASADA need to prove that they possibly took an illegal substance or that they definitely did?"
Gordon said he believed that the delays in the process and the joint nature of the AFL-ASADA investigation all hinted to a flawed process.
He did not however believe that those in positions of power at the Bombers during 2012 should be afforded any leniency and that an investigation should continue against the perpetrators, including the supplements program's architect Stephen Dank.
"[The players] are the complete unwitting and innocent victims of what Ziggy Switkowski referred to as an experimental pharmacological environment,'' he said. "I do think that across the industry there is enormous sympathy for the players."
ASADA has the power to ban Essendon players from competition for two years.
"It's an extraordinary power to have, these players have short careers," Gordon said.
"Hopefully ASADA will give them all the evidence quickly."
Gordon's view came after multiple club presidents, including West Coast's Alan Cransberg and Geelong's Colin Carter, outlined their own belief that Essendon players should accept proposed six-month sanctions from the ASADA and allow the sport to move on from what has been a turbulent period.
"There has been reference to other club presidents that Essendon should cop its right whack, well it did in my opinion. It copped its right whack last year," Gordon said.
Gordon emphasised though that the view was coming from his professional opinion as a lawyer, and not as the leader of an AFL club.
Essendon players were on Thursday granted an extension to respond to their alleged use of the banned drug Thymosin beta 4. The players now have until July 11 and, as a result, will be able to take into account the outcome of a directions hearing for the Federal Court claim of Essendon and James Hird on June 27. Essendon is claiming that ASADA acted 'ultra vires' in undertaking a dual investigation with the AFL.