Stephen Dank continues to frustrate

Date: July 11, 2014 / Posted by Glenn Mitchell

Another week has passed in the Essendon drug scandal with the waters more muddied than when it started.

Throughout this saga the Bombers’ administration has painstakingly denied that its players have taken any banned substances whilst on the same hand it states that it cannot definitively say what it was that the player group was administered.

Not true says the man at the eye of the storm, sports scientist Stephen Dank.

On Adelaide Radio earlier this week he stated that the players knew exactly what they were taking which flies directly in the face of what the club has maintained since early on in the ASADA investigation.

Dank said, “they not only knew exactly what they were taking but they understood what they were taking”.

He followed that comment with a now standard Dank line – “The reasons why I say that, again, will be discussed in the appropriate forum”.

That will do little to assuage the feelings of frustration – and dare I say fear – that the Essendon players currently carry as they wait to see the outcome of the Federal Court proceedings that have been launched by their club and suspended coach.

All through this debacle Dank has maintained that he has done no wrong yet ASADA, having investigated the inner workings of the club and with the subsequent findings scrutinized by a retired Federal Court judge, issued 34 show-cause notices to current and former Essendon players.

And all through this process Dank has refused to provide any information to those investigating the club.

Instead he has done the media rounds of late, along with appearances at various sportsmen’s nights, where each time he has stated that nothing untoward was done whilst he was overseeing the Bombers’ 2011-12 peptides program.

In an article in The Herald Sun on August 14 last year Dank said, “There is quite a deal of assistance that myself and my legal team can and will offer Essendon”.

That offer seemed to evaporate with the same newspaper – three weeks ago – carrying a plea from Essendon chairman Paul Little.

The Bombers’ supremo said, “I think Stephen Dank needs to become a part of this process, whether it’s via ASADA or in some other way.

“There is too much knowledge he knows that we don’t know. He could help bring greater clarity to what is a very difficult set of circumstances”.

So what happened to Dank’s August offer to provide the club with information to assist it in clearing its and the players’ name?

Six months into this Blue Hills like saga Dank went on record describing the charges that were levelled at Hird, the assistant coach Mark Thompson, club doctor Bruce Reid and football manager Danny Corcoran, as “laughable”

He further stated that, “I certainly know the ethics of those four blokes and under no circumstances would I have thought they had done anything that would have been contrary to the care of the players”.

Surely, from an ethical standpoint, Dank had the ability to intervene in this protracted saga a long time ago and, in the process, greatly aid the club, its management and players by tabling the evidence that he says he will only produce in court and which indicates he says beyond doubt that there were no undue happenings at the Bombers.

One has to wonder why Dank performed a 180-degree about face from his offer to help the club in August last year to having its chairman publicly request his help last month.

Dank seems more than happy to espouse his thoughts through the media but loathe to actually talk to Essendon or ASADA.

However, when the situation suits he does fall back on the age old line when asked certain questions, saying by way of an answer that, “I can’t because of the impending court action”.

He last made that utterance in his interview on 5AA earlier this week when asked directly about the peptide, Thymosin Beta 4 – the banned substance that formed the basis of the show cause notices to the players – and whether it was administered at the club.

Surely, if he knows it was not administered – court case or not – he would have been free to deny its use in the strongest possible terms.

Instead, he chose to say that legally he could not comment.

So we are back where we started …the club and the players say they do not know what was administered while Dank says they know full well.

It would have been helpful no doubt if somewhere over the past 17-months Dank had come forward with the information he possesses, just as Little beseeched him to do last month.

But the holding pattern continues.

Hopefully we will all know soon the answers that Dank has guarded so closely.

It may be a good idea however not to hold your breath in the meantime.

First published on The Roar – theroar.com.au – on 10 July 2014