Carl Ablett: There can be no excuses for players caught taking drugs

Adam Walker.
Adam Walker.
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THE NEWS that two players had tested positive for cocaine after one game recently is very disappointing.

When something like this happens I think people will question if drugs are rife within rugby league.

Rangi Chase.

Rangi Chase.

It’s not great for the sport with two positive tests being revealed in successive days.

It paints a negative picture and I’ve got no sympathy for either Rangi Chase or Adam Walker.

The fact is, players nowadays should know better.

There’s a lot of education in the sport about the dangers of drugs use. The Rugby Football League send someone around every year to talk about drugs and the health and welfare issues involved.

We have workshops and presentations when the issues are explained to us and it is made clear what you can and can’t take, though ultimately it is your own responsibility.

I don’t think we could be any better looked after. All players know the consequences of taking performance enhancing or recreational drugs and I don’t understand why anyone would do it.

If you get caught it is a two-year ban and that means a professional player losing his livelihood, as well as his reputation.

There’s enough support systems around the game now so if you have got issues – with gambling, alcohol, drugs or anything else – you can seek and will get help and support.

There can be no excuses. Drugs use isn’t acceptable and we don’t want it in the game.

It’s not just a rugby league or sports issue, it is a society problem. Whatever walk of life you are in it seems to be getting more prevalent.

Young people do take recreational drugs. That might be a fact of life, but in my opinion it’s something that needs to be stamped out. You don’t have to know a whole lot about it to understand the adverse effects drug use can have in the long-term.

Sportspeople are role models and children and young people do look up to us and that’s why I support bans for any positive tests – in or out of competition, recreational or performance enhancing.

I’ve heard people say ‘why should a player be banned for taking a recreational drug’? But to me it doesn’t make any difference.

For a start, it’s illegal. Especially in Super League we are elite level sportsmen and if you are so ill-disciplined you can’t manage without taking an illegal substance you are in the wrong business.

You have to make sacrifices to get to the top in any sport and not going out on an evening and taking illegal substances is part of that.

If you have mates outside the game who are taking drugs then you’ve got to be strong enough not to get involved.

You also don’t want it affecting your game, which it must do. I just don’t understand why anyone would do it. There is enough testing in our sport now to make it a huge risk and I can’t imagine why anyone would think it is worth taking the chance or that they can get away with it.

Whenever there’s a positive test the question gets asked, how widespread is drugs use among rugby league players?

I can only give a personal observation, which is that I am not aware of it.

I’ve never been around drugs use or seen it.

I don’t know about other clubs, but in the culture we have at Leeds it would not be acceptable.

Two positives tests from the same game suggests either a massive coincidence or it is more of a problem than anyone thought.

I hope it’s the former, but we can’t take that for granted. It creates bad headlines for the game, which our sport can’t afford.

I’m prepared to put up with that in the short-term, if it means getting rid of players that take that risk, for the long-term gain of a clean sport.

If that means more testing, in and out of the season, I would support that and I think most players and coaches would.

Nobody enjoys being tested, but we want a clean sport. I have done plenty of tests and I’ve no issues with that.

I am a cleath athlete and I’ve got where I am through hard work and determination and commitment.

Whatever we can do to rid the game of any sort of drug taking is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

Ashton Golding. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

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