Former Essendon player Mark McVeigh has hit back at allegations against the club he played 232 games for, working quickly to reassure the public that the sports science measures taken during Essendon’s 2012 season were completely on the up.
Allegations emerged in an article published by the Herald Sun that Essendon players had been taken to off-site injection facilities to receive what could potentially be performance-enhancing drugs. The drugs in question are known to be right on the borderline of what is and what isn’t accepted as legal in the AFL.
The investigation into exactly what was taken is underway. If it is found that Essendon has breached the rules, serious financial and personal ramifications will be sure to follow.
In a fiery interview on SEN, Mark McVeigh took no prisoners, angrily dismissing allegations that the players were unaware of what was being put into their bodies.
“I can honestly tell you that everything I took… I knew 100% that it was within the WADA and the AFL doping regulations,” McVeigh said.
“When we were told that we’ll be taking certain supplements and having certain injections, the club and the players asked that we would have – not a waiver form.
“Let me stress, it wasn’t a waiver, it was a consent form that the players asked for.
“The players got that form in front of doctors… coaches, and everyone knew that this had been ticked off.”
McVeigh’s comments directly clash with those of ex-Bomber Kyle Reimers who claims that the players had limited knowledge of the exact supplements they were receiving.
Reimers stated in an interview regarding Essendon’s supplement use that the club knew it was pushing the boundaries and that players signed waivers taking full responsibility for the supplements taken.
McVeigh had some choice words to say about ex-teammate Kyle Reimers who was delisted from the Bombers at the end of the 2012 season.
“Kyle Reimers has come out and said some things that are untrue,” a passionate McVeigh said.
“He’s a disgruntled player that was delisted from the football club that very rarely turned up to pre-season training in any sort of form that resembled a professional footballer.
“It was clearly stated to us what we were taking. If you didn’t know, you must have been asleep in the meeting which know what? Reimers probably was.”
McVeigh was also questioned about his knowledge of what supplements other players had received.
“If I’m going off the consent form that everyone else had signed, it suggests to me that what we were taking is 100% legal – it’s within the rules.”
A major talking point that has arose from this situation is why Bombers players were taken away from the football club to receive injections, especially considering players regularly receive required injections on the sidelines during games.
“We were taken off site because it’s a sterile environment with a registered nurse,” McVeigh stated.
“The only injections that I ever had was a Vitamin C or a Vitamin B injection.
“That’s what other players would have if they were feeling a bit down and they were trying to get over a cold before a Saturday night game. That’s all that was administered and I can’t stress that anymore.”
In a press conference held at AFL House, Bombers president David Evans, chief executive Ian Robson and coach James Hird faced the media and confirmed that the club would be investigated for use of illegal supplements. However, the club remains adamant that the supplements used are legal.
“The supplements our players were given, in my opinion and my knowledge, were all approved and within the regulations we all play the game by,” James Hird said.
Former fitness boss Steven Dank has since left the club and strength and conditioning coach Dean Robinson is known to have been stood down pending investigation.
While Mark McVeigh has given valuable insight into what has occurred from a player’s perspective, you could argue that the situation is as unclear as it has ever been. With different parties giving different recollections, we won’t know exactly what happened until the investigation is complete.