Is there an ethical line in supporting a club accused of drug cheating?
I’m a supporter of the Essendon Football Club, one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the biggest sporting competition in Australia, the Australian Football League (AFL). I’ve been a member of the club for 31 of the last 32 years since I was seven.
The club has been accused of injecting banned substances into players. In a best case scenario they had bad governance of their sports medicine program with individuals more focused on winning then ethics.
The AFL Commission wants to take away all points, take away recruiting options for the next 2 years (the draft), impose a fine and suspend key officials. And that’s just for bad governance. The drug issue will be determined by Australian body overseen by the world body.
It is a terrible situation that has dominated talk in Melbourne since February when the club self reported.
As a supporter I’m starting to wonder if I can ethically support my club. As an individual I value ethics and fair play above all. I’m not the smartest or most talented guy, my ethics are my centre and important to me.
I hate cheating. I dislike people who take advantage of others. I’ve never liked the sports medicine approach of injecting even painkillers to get players back on the field. So how can I support this club? A lot of members have Already walked. I know it’s a personal decision for each of us.
I followed the team my dad supported. Supporting Essendon Football Club was a bond we shared and one of the last good things in my childhood before he died. Supporting the Essendon Football Club has given me great joy.
Right now there is no joy whatsoever. I have to put up with the apparent glee and happiness of some rival supporters who love the misery of others. I’ve watched biased and emotionally charged media coverage from both sides. Players parents in tears over health concerns and I know kids who support Essendon aren’t having an easy experience at school.
The ethics of my childhood team seem to be opposed to the way I want to live my life, I know I’m not perfect and I make many mistakes but I try to be a good person. I try to add to others around me than take away. Have I supported this culture.
So what is the line? Obviously knowingly injecting banned substances means I must walk away but that is too easy a line. What about unintentional use of banned substances? What about the win at all costs attitude that lead to this situation?
I’m sitting here before a match listening to the joy of the opposition supporters (Carlton tonight) and I wonder if its worth it any longer. Am I letting my last happy childhood memories cloud my support of this club and our community.
I’m starting to think the line has been crossed already. I can’t understand those who get joy for this situation. I’m gutted.