Stephen Dank, the “sports scientist” mastermind behind the Essendon Football Club‘s 2012 highly contentious injections and supplements regime that has cast an extremely dark and heavy cloud over 34 past and present AFL players for nearly 3 full years now, has decided to appeal the guilty verdict handed to him by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal, and the subsequent lifetime ban from associating with any club in the league.
Dank was found guilty by the tribunal on a number of charges – the less serious ones contained in a raft of much more damning accusations, of which he was acquitted – after the tribunal delivered their findings a month ago.
Throughout the entire ordeal Dank has maintained his innocence, and has asserted repeatedly that the truth will eventually come out. But despite this, his blanket refusal to participate in any for of investigation – be it one conducted by the AFL or by the national anti-doping watchdog ASADA – has been at best puzzling, and at worst quite telling.
Dank informed the league’s general counsel Andrew Dillon of his intention to appeal earlier today.
How this appeal goes forward with Dank maintaining a distaste for speaking on any sort of record about the ordeal – or indeed what on earth he hopes to achieve by doing so – remains to be seen.
There are also fears that this decision, and the subsequent proceedings attached to it, will have the knock-on effect of delaying the WADA hearing for the Essendon 34 which was due to pass through the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the end of the year. That timeline could well blowout to cast a shadow over a forth successive AFL season.
I think I speak for all footy fans – both fans of the Bombers, and of the other clubs – when I exasperatedly shout into the nothing “HOLY CHRIST JUST END THIS CRAP ALREADY.”
Photo: Quinn Rooney via Getty Images.