Players won’t cut deal with ASADA

Essendon chairman Paul Little is adamant that none of the AFL players issued show cause notices will cut a deal with ASADA.


Little added he had no problem with their banned coach James Hird launching his own legal action against the anti-doping body.

In a wide-ranging ABC radio interview, the Bombers boss also called on controversial Stephen Dank to reveal what he knows.

Little continued to strongly criticise ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt, who has made several media appearances since Thursday’s revelation that ASADA was issuing the show cause notices to the 34 current and past Essendon players.

On Friday, Essendon and Hird launched Federal Court action against ASADA.

Essendon’s argument is that the joint AFL and ASADA investigation into the club’s 2012 supplements program was unlawful.

McDevitt has said that if Essendon players are prepared to make admissions, they would potentially reduce any anti-doping bans from two years to as low as six months.

Little said it is up to the players to seek their own legal advice, but strongly doubts any will accept McDevitt’s offer.

“For him to be in the media trying to cut a deal with players, say take the easy option of pleading guilty, or the reduced option if they plead guilty, I think is a disgrace,” Little said.

“What his motivation is, I don’t know and I cant imagine.

“But I think he is naive if he thinks he is going to break into our playing group and get some person to plead guilty and take a reduced sentence because our players don’t believe they did anything wrong.”

Little said Essendon were aware that Hird was launching his own legal action against ASADA.

Earlier this year, after Hird’s wife Tania strongly criticised the AFL, the Bombers effectively told them to keep quiet.

“James was doing what he thought he could do or should do,” Little said.

“We told him, for want of a better term, toe the party line and I believe he has been doing that.”

Little also said given the ongoing uncertainty over what the Essendon players took in the supplements program, it was time for Dank to talk.

Dank is the central figure in the Essendon supplements scandal, but is yet to fully outline what the program involved.

“Stephen Dank needs to become part of this process, whether it is via ASADA or some other way,” Little said.

“There is too much knowledge there that he knows that we don’t know, that others don’t know.

“There is no question he could help bring greater clarity to what is a very difficult set of circumstances for most people to get their head around.”

Also on Sunday, Little revealed Essendon sought a delay in ASADA’s issuing of the show cause notices until after the match against Melbourne.

He also said in his pre-match speech that Essendon had waited until now to launch their legal challenge because they had become increasingly concerned about the investigation process.

Little said they had also received strong advice to take the legal action.