If one thing’s for certain, it’s that the AFL drugs scandal isn’t going away any time soon. However, with its frantic need to be the first to find out the latest revelations when it comes to drugs, the wider media appears to have forgotten its main purpose which is reporting on the football.
You could be forgiven for not knowing that the NAB Cup is upon us, as coverage has been at a minimum due to the latest drug-related rumours being splashed across newspapers.
The facts are that we know that one named club in Essendon has been named and as many as nine clubs are rumoured to be involved with performance-enhancing drugs. That is what we know and that is all we need to know at this stage.
The investigation is in the hands of ASADA, WADA and the ACC – if there are drug cheats in our game, they will be found out by these bodies. It is not the media’s job to try and race against investigations. It is, however, the media’s role to cover the football as a sport and not run with half-cocked rumours in order to sell newspapers or to gain views.
One day out from the opening NAB Cup matches, Channel Seven and Channel Nine dedicated two hours between them to special programming on drugs in sport that didn’t offer any new news, simply allowing an opportunity for certain media personalities to get their opinion out there in another form of media. If we didn’t learn anything new, the two hours can easily be considered a waste.
There is currently nothing more to talk about regarding drugs unless it is rumour, and dwelling on the issue is only killing football. The NAB Cup is a fantastic opportunity for supporters and clubs to get a look at their youth and see how things are shaping up for the new season, yet it is being pushed under the rug in order to fit in as many drug-related stories as possible.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing that over 20 Essendon, Western Bulldogs and Collingwood players will be stepping out onto the field for an AFL-sanctioned game for the first time as NAB Cup matches kick of for 2013. Even if they are just glorified practice games, this is the football, that thing media is meant to be reporting on rather than speculating over drugs.
The only option left for journalists regarding drugs in AFL is to speculate as the issue is in the hands of aforementioned investigators. Rather than dedicating pages in newspapers to what might be happening or what could happen, why not report on what is happening, and what is happening is the return of football.
Speculation is only going to damage the AFL’s image in a time when the media should be focusing on the youth of the competition.
It is well and truly time to just sit back and allow the investigation to take its course. In the meantime, we have a great competition in the NAB Cup that allows us to take a look at what our clubs have to offer in the upcoming season.