Andrew Bogut drops bombshell cocaine claim on AFL over illicit drugs policy

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Andrew Bogut claims he has been offered drugs by AFL players during nights out.

The former NBA star on Wednesday dropped a bomb on the AFL by accusing the league of covering up a “blatant” substance abuse problem through its controversial, secret testing program.

The code was rocked last week when Federal MP Andrew Wilkie, under the protection of parliamentary privilege, sensationally alleged the league’s off the books drug testing operation had been covering up the illicit drug use of players.

Several AFL coaches last week reacted with surprise to learn of the full extent of the protection given to players who self-report illicit drug use to club doctors in order to prevent them from potentially testing positive to a banned performance enhancing substance on match day.

Suggestions players would be able to fake injuries in order to be pulled out of matches at late notice — to avoid match day anti-doping drug tests — sparked fierce debate about the clandestine testing program.

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The AFL, however, has refused to take a backwards step in supporting its “medical model” that prioritises the health and wellbeing of players under the voluntary illicit drug testing policy agreed to by the AFL Players’ Association.

Bogut on Wednesday mocked the league’s approach, claiming it is “quite obvious” why the league really operates with such a secret illicit drugs testing operation.

Bogut jokingly called for the creation of a cocaine “cover-up round”.

“The AFL continues to tell people about how they should live their lives but they should clean up their own league before they start preaching on social issues,” the ex-NBA star said, according to The Australian.

“It’s quite obvious what’s happened – the AFL knew they had a problem with guys using drugs, so let’s just have them pull out with a sore hammy and dodge the testing that way.

“Anyone with half a brain can see why they’ve done it. They’ve obviously tried to move the chess pieces around to navigate a (WADA) policy they have agreed to abide by – because the carrot is federal government funding.

“Everyone knows what goes on in Melbourne. I’ve been to numerous nightclubs where the AFL guys are drinking a bottle of water and jumping around like crazy. I’ve been offered it (drugs) by AFL players and the fact that it has been kept under wraps for so long just shows how far the AFL tentacles can reach.”

Bogut continued his explosive claims on Thursday morning, writing on Twitter: “My complaints were journos knowing this has been happening for decades keeping quiet so they dont lose their cushy AFL “reporting” jobs.

“Secondly, the AFL preaching to us about every social/political issue known to man when they (their) house is on fire.”

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon on Wednesday night became the latest coach to speak out in support of the “medical model”.

“I’m really strong on protecting the player, medical model,” he said on Channel 7’s Talking Footy.

“I’ve got absolute faith in AFL club doctors. I like the intent. It’s a voluntary model from the AFLPA, I don’t think it needs to be punitive.

“Is it perfect? At the minute, I don’t know all the facts, but I think they’ll move to improve it where they can. If you’re starting with a wellness model and helping people, it’s the right space.

“I just think there’s been a bit of hysteria. I heard the head of ASADA come out and say it’s a great model that’s saved people. I think that speaks volumes.”

It comes after anti-doping expert Dick Pound earlier this week tore the AFL to shreds over the controversial policy.

Pound, the founding president of World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), accused the league of adopting “Soviet techniques”.

Pound on Tuesday likened the AFL’s covert drug testing program to East Germany’s infamous state-run doping program which spanned from the 1960s to 1980s, saying “it completely undoes the underlying rationale of clean athletes”.

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge last week also pointed out a major problem with secrecy of the policy which leaves every player open to suspicion from fans.

The premiership coach, who also had a long playing career across three clubs, said the AFL Players’ Association was failing to protect the “99 per cent” of players who didn’t take illicit drugs and it was failing the vast majority by protecting the few who did.

“I want to keep it simple, I’m not an expert, but being part of the game for so long at this level, as a coach and a player, all I want is a new model to cater for the people who don’t take illicit drugs … the vast majority, the 99 per cent of the playing cohort who don’t take illicit drugs,” Beveridge said on Friday.

“This where the AFLPA and their attitude and their perception of how clubs manage situations forget the player cohort are affected by it as well.

“They are trying to play in winning teams and premierships teams and support their playing group and each other and the current model doesn’t do that. Whatever it is, it needs to be mindful that people in the industry need to be supported by whatever the model is as well.

“The current model doesn’t do that.”