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You think sports here is drug-phobic...check out the AFL...

by Jim McKinney

There is a dark cloud hanging over baseball due to the Biogenesis scandal...but before you think that MLB is taking a severe stand against drugs (which it isn't)...let's take a trip Down Under, where the Australian Rules Football League, or AFL, holds forth...the AFL is neck-deep in a situation surrounding one of its oldest and most revered clubs, the Essendon Bombers...the Bombers have been accused of bringing the league "into disrepute", which is one of the worst things a team can do...

Why,  you ask?  Apparently several team members used a supplement...supplement, not a drug...that is considered to be illegal...the supposed illegal substance is a peptide, which is an amino acid...this specific one apparently was found in an anti-obesity drug...but the central issue is that the club is accused of allowing several players to take this substance under medical approval...

The league has generated a 400+ page report on this issue...and although no sanctions/punishments have been dealt out yet...they could include...

- widespread player suspensions/banishments

- suspension/fines for the coach, James Hird

- suspension/fines for club officials...and the club overall...and here's the interesting one...

- loss of regular season points and a drop in the standings

Ya think any of the teams with players implicated in Biogenesis would accept a penalty of loss of games and drop in the standings?  Ain't happening...EVER...but the AFL feels this is serious enough to warrant  that type of possible sanction.  By the way...the Bombers are currently in the playoff picture...but a loss of points would surely drop them out of that situation.  Insert your favorite team here...it's in the middle of a playoff run...then gets zapped with a point penalty that takes them out of the hunt...how would you feel?  The incredible furor that would result is the reason why it will never happen...but if that type of sanction were part of the mix...I'm thinking that violations would go WAY down...just a thought...