Essendon players were given a detailed written briefing, commissioned and distributed by leading sports management group Elite Sports Properties, to prepare them for interviews with Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigators “trying to obtain admissions from you”.
The 23-page document, seen by Fairfax Media, listed 15 “golden rules” for answering ASADA’s questions. Number one was to “tell the truth”.
Almost 40 supplements – among them the prohibited AOD9604, growth hormone releasing peptides GRHP-2 and GRHP-6, CJC 1295 and Hexarelin – are referenced, and players are urged to reflect on which they may have received.
The introduction explained that ESP, which manages Essendon captain Jobe Watson and seven other Bomber players, commissioned the document to assist and prepare its clients for “the most serious investigation any athlete is likely to face”. After noting that “so far as ESP is aware no Essendon player has recorded an anti-doping violation” due to a positive test, the document highlighted how confessions to use of prohibited substances would be “the best way for an investigator to prove an anti-doping violation”.
Two “types” of ASADA investigations are outlined – one relating to cases where athletes have returned a positive test, and the other where doping violations are proved through admissions.
“It is one matter to admit that you received an injection. It is an entirely different matter to admit that you received an injection of a specific substance which is prohibited,” the document says.
After highlighting the World Anti-Doping Agency’s position that athletes are ultimately responsible for whatever enters their bodies, and two-year bans if doping violations are proved, it is stressed in bold that “these provisions only apply after an anti-doping violation has been established”.
The written advice ESP provided for the Bombers it represents – which was subsequently circulated among the broader playing group and shared with the AFL Players Association, which briefed players separately – also encouraged players to be calm in their interviews, give short, focused answers and to discuss what they “knew at the time, not what you have found out later”.
Point 12 in the “golden rules” for the ASADA interviews, in which some players have been grilled for 2½ hours and others released after 45 minutes, reads: “Remember the investigator is trying to obtain admissions from you.”
ESP chief executive Craig Kelly told Fairfax Media on Friday that the dossier was prepared by a legal counsel he would not name.
“Our job is to ensure that our individual players, who we look after, feel comfortable to go into an environment that they’ve not been into before,” he said.
The document outlines a series of questions for players to consider before meeting ASADA investigators and refers to four distinct periods – the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the “2012 pre-season training” period pre-Christmas, and post-Christmas. Some questions refer directly to Essendon doctor Bruce Reid and coach James Hird, sports scientist Stephen Dank and conditioning boss Dean Robinson.
Former ASADA boss Richard Ings did not want to comment specifically on how Essendon players were briefed but said it was entirely fair for athletes to receive “reasonable” advice.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.