I Don’t Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)

Posted: February 15, 2013 in Media, Random Stuff, World News and Events

I was shocked and appalled along with everyone else to hear that there was the possibility of a culture of drugs in sport in Australia. I mean who would have thought…?

While the world is still reeling from the apparent “Best athlete in the world” Lance Armstrong, telling Oprah for vast sums of money, all about his days as a professional drug taker, here in Australia we have our own drugs controversy in sport.

I was fortunate to find a copy of Lance Armstrong’s book on the shelf the other day at the front of the store and I was struck by the title “It’s not about the bike”. I wonder what it was about then…

Not the bike? Surely you jest Lance?

Not the bike? Surely you jest Lance?

Our two most popular football codes are frantically trying to tell everyone what a stand they take against drugs and how clean the sports are.

Those who follow AFL must struggle with the notion that a sport that produces model citizens like Ben Cousins and Wayne Carey might have drug culture. I mean it would seem like half of Columbia has gone up one of Cousins nostrils and half of Bolivia in the other. Cousins has won many an award in his sport, and has kept them all, despite “bringing the sport into disrepute”.

Ben "Scarface" Cousins

Ben “Scarface” Cousins

Here is NSW, we have that sport for lads who seemingly can’t handle a drink without assaulting a woman, it’s called rugby league or NRL. In 2007 the NRL was “Rocked” by revelations that arguably its best player ever was a drug user.

Andrew “Joey” Johns was unfortunate enough to be caught with ecstasy in the UK just before his “tell all” book launch, what a shame. Poor Johns was forced to endure a tougher than tissue interview with Phil Gould on the Footy Show on his return to Australia. Maybe 7 30 or 4 Corners didn’t have a free slot?

Anyway I am sure that the book launch was an utter disaster after all that free publicity.

In his defence though, John was only taking ecstasy, which is apparently a “party drug” when a famous NRL Player uses it, but an amphetamine whenever someone else does. Ecstasy is after all, just a slang term for Methylene DioxyMethAmphetamine, and we all know that we shouldn’t consume something we can’t pronounce.

Andrew "This looks like a big gold pill" Johns

Andrew “This looks like a big gold pill” Johns

The list of athletes banned for using Amphetamines is as long as your arm, most of these have also had to return prize money, medals and awards also. Andrew Johns however does not appear on that list, and I wonder why.

You may well wonder where the press was in all this?

Well the NRL itself is owned by News Ltd, who also own three of the clubs, Brisbane, Melbourne, and 50% of the Titans. News Ltd of course cover 70% of Australia’s media. I would assume they didn’t want their game brought into disrepute by its greatest ever player being outed as a drug cheat.

I say man up, if cycling can deal with it so can you.

Whilst the NRL and News Ltd may be happy to paint ecstasy as a party drug, I think that although amphetamines are used as party drugs by the majority of users, that doesn’t make them ok for sportspeople.

Have you ever noticed those kids at the nightclub eating muffins or cookies? No? That’s because eating hash cookies makes you drowsy. When clubbers go out they want to stay up all night and have loads of energy to dance, so they need something that enhances their energy levels, or a performance enhancer. That’s why they take ecstasy, and that’s why John’s use of it should be reported for what it is, an amphetamine being used as a performance enhancing drug. Let’s not try to write it off as a bit of fun when it’s taken by a cheating sportsperson. I thought you wanted a clean code?

So if Andrew Johns was taking a performance enhancing drug throughout most of his career, and by his own admission evading drug testing, what should be done about it?

Andrew Johns, never had to swallow a bitter pill

Andrew Johns, never had to swallow a bitter pill…

As I said, other athletes found to have cheated using amphetamines have had their names tarnished, their awards seized, and had civil cases brought against them to retrieve sponsorship money. But not Johns.

Johns used his crimes, and they are crimes, to help sell his book which was released with most of the news networks inadvertently plugging it. He now does commentary work, as well as some coaching, harsh punishment indeed.

He has not had to hand back a single medal or dime. He is still considered to this day as one of the sports greats.

With attitudes like this to the use of illegal narcotics for performance enhancing and recreational purposes it is little wonder that there is a drug culture. What else could a person of even half reasonable intelligence expect?

As I said, hearing of a drug culture in Australian sport came to me as a real shock and surprise.

Next they’ll be telling us that there are drugs in the music business….

  1. michael minns says:

    I think you are trying to fill my pocket with urine. Or are you trying to emulate the shock and incredulity shown by the the CEO’s of 4 football codes. All deserve an Academy award in the “Most convincing with only 4 hours rehearsal” category. Either way I am not buying it.
    If the code or club motto is “Win at all Costs “: or “What ever it Takes” then we can not expect anything else.
    When there is gambling, legal, licensed or illegal, there will also be corruption in the form of game and result rigging. If there are 3rd party payments as there are in some codes then people can be paid to win or to lose.

    This has been going on since Adam was bribed to eat the apple
    About 10 years ago a certain player in the NSW Waratahs would bet on himself through a Government controlled agency to be the first scorer . After that it didn’t matter if they won or lost.

    A certain swimming country north of Australia artificially inseminated their female swimmers and at the point where their bodies were filled with extra hormones the fetus was aborted and they competed in the next international event with a great deal of success.

    It is a culture matter

  2. jaycee says:

    I’ll post here what I posted on Cassidy’s article today on The Drum…:
    15 Feb 2013 8:56:03am
    Get real people…you cannot compete in high energy, physical contact sports w/ it’s resultant burn-out and/or injury list and come out the next week or two running without the assistance of some sort of “boosting” element.
    Logic would have told us years ago that Lance Armstrong, at his age couldn’t POSSIBLY compete against a veritable legion of fit, able, young, aggressive and hungry riders and still come out on top without the most severe “assistance”.
    Tell us we’re dreamin’!
    P.s. whenever I hear the Vic. police (in particular!) proclaim that THEY haven’t anything as yet to go on…..I just KNOW something is up!

  3. Ben Down says:

    I will accept that the League codes are fair dinkum about addressing drugs when Andrew Johns is held to account.
    A confessed drug user/cheat.

  4. sue says:

    And every footy season one of the ‘stars’ is caught out, drugs/booze/assault on …women and or property. Then there is the usual court, counseling, rehabilitation, community service- visit kiddies in school or hospital. And then the 2 biggest punishments, will the ‘star’ be eligible to play origin and a fight between the clubs to sign the ‘star’ for following season. (and of course with the big signing other players in the club will have to be let go to stay within the ‘salary cap’) This all followed up by countless stories about how the ‘star’ is now reformed all due the the fatherly advice of the new coach.

    When a club tosses out a ‘star’ and no other club signs them up then just maybe the clubs won’t be shocked that drugs, booze, betting and crime have infiltrated the game.

  5. Scandal in Rugby League, AFL, Soccer and any other sport we can put into print…… It has been reported that some players were taking sleeping tablets at half time…. go get em son….

  6. Wixxy Wixxy Wixxy…mate. Joey put his hand up and I respect him for that.As one who has sensibly indulged in ecstasy, long before it was trendy, it is far from an amphetamine that would be remotely considered performance enhancing. In fact anyone playing footy on an E would be useless. It helps people relax rather than pump someone up to where they need to be to play footy aggressively. It is in fact a chill pill. It is common knowledge that Joey was tipped off as to the movements of Drug testing. To even remotely consider that Joey has cheated, implying advantage or enhancement by his recreational use of ecstasy, considering it is completely out of his system within 48 hrs is a ludicrous untruth. Should he take drugs, well that’s his morality but probably not whilst on contract. I will remind people that he was tested during this period and found to be negative as many people who use Ecstasy like the fact that it goes through the body quickly with no ill effects, unlike pot that is resident in fatty tissue. Is he a drug cheat? Absolutely and unequivocally not as he bears no advantage whatsoever from using ecstasy recreationally. There is not even the remotest parallel between Johns and Armstrong who is a criminally deceptive fraud.

    • wixxy says:

      Johns came clean a few days before his book launch, treating us all as fools.
      Ecstasy is an amphetamine which is a stimulant, it is not used to relax it is used to increase energy, that’s why I made the comparison with cannabis, which is a relaxant.

      I wasn’t comparing Johns to Armstrong, I was just pointing out another well known drug cheat…

      I know there are those who will disagree with me on Johns, those who will think using a stimulant is ok when saying it is used off season, despite dodging drug tests on season.
      Others like me think “coming clean” in order to promote a book is not really coming clean at all.

      I understand that many fans of the sport will disagree with me, and I don’t mean to insult them.

      I just think differently

      • Mate you have obviously never taken MDMA and if you have and liken it to Speed, Coke or ICE you were not taking MDMA.

        Its the touchy feely drug that was developed to treat depression and mental illness. It produces a sense of euphoria. Yes its a stimulant, but Joey was never on it playing and would more likely kiss someone than tackle them if he was. It is absolutely nothing even close to speed, it does not keep you awake for days like speed or ice (which I would never ever take) or give you unbridled energy like ICE (A big problem in casualty departments of hospitals).

        He didn’t come clean to promote the book (it didn’t hurt though), he came clean because he was caught and he did face it all head on to his credit. He could have denied it all as it was a misdemeanor with no conviction. The delay was with his legal position and advise before he sorted it. Channel 9 was undoubtedly in damage control.

        Do I consider him a drug cheat? absolutely not
        Am I condoning his drug use? absolutely not

        Joey was careless and was dealing with some pretty heavy depression. Maybe self medication for a hyper active ADD guy is not wise, but he is a gifted athlete that has not cheated and given much to the game. If he was on something during the game that enhanced his performance, I would agree that he is a cheat and suffer the consequences. He has not and is not. He cant be prosecuted because all his samples are negative are negative all of which were taken on match day.
        I hear your argument but strongly disagree in this instance.

  7. sue says:


    i read that police want blood samples from pistorius in case his defense team want to use steroid abuse in any court case. guns, bloodied cricket bat, 4 gun shot wounds and a fractured skull, and of course a sporting hero with financial backing to boot, yes the “shock” of the fans is the story.

  8. Kate says:

    Here here !

  9. […] Over the last few weeks, the NRL has been rocked by claims of drug abuse and drug cheats, something I have touched on before. […]

  10. […] OVER THE LAST few weeks, the NRL has been rocked by claims of drug abuse and drug cheats, something I have touched on before. […]

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