Stephen Dank, the shady substance soothsayer who the Essendon Football Club bafflingly employed in the first instance, and even more bafflingly gave free reign to set up a program of systemic supplement injections that was imposed upon an unsuspecting playing group, igniting the largest controversy in the history of Australian Football and setting the course of this proud and storied club back a solid decade – at best – has been handed a life ban from associating with anything to do with the Australian Football League.
Dank was the chief architect behind the Bombers‘ supplements regime that ran throughout the course of the 2012 AFL Season; a regime that ran largely unchecked due to horrendous missteps in club governance, low accountability, and decentralised medical consultancy.
The resulting investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority cast a shadow over the club, and the game, for two full seasons, with the subsequent appeal by WADA stretching it out to a third. 34 past and present Essendon players were issued show cause notices by ASADA and taken before the AFL‘s independent Anti-Doping Tribunal, where they were cleared due to insufficient evidence. That verdict is being appealed by WADA, with a hearing in the Court of Arbitration for Sport scheduled for later this year.
Throughout the process, Stephen Dank flat-out refused to co-operate with any authority investigating the issue, and has remained an enigmatic, and elusive figure.
The AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal hauled him before a hearing earlier this year, with the board finding him guilty on 10 charges – including “trafficking, attempting to traffic and complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances” – back in April. The substances in question included Hexarelin, Humanofort, CJC-1295, GHRP6, and SARSM. A further 24 charges were also brought before the Tribunal. Those charges represented the more serious of the sheet, and were primarily concerned with the administration, or attempted administration, of Thymosin Beta 4 to the Essendon players. Of those allegations, Dank was cleared on all counts.
Today, the panel handed down their sentence – an unconditional lifetime ban from the AFL, effective as of June 25, 2015.
Dank did not appear to hear the sentence in person; a sentence that will preclude him from having any further association with the AFL Industry in any capacity.
As a devout Essendon fan, and responsible media industry employee, I feel very strongly that it is my duty to state the following.
Stephen, stay the fuck away from the team and the game I love, you shifty piece of shit. Good riddance to you.
Photo: Quinn Rooney via Getty Images.