|James Hird on his way to work earlier today. (source fairfax)|
It's accepted players won't face suspensions. They can't. That's up to ASADA and they're not ready to do that yet.
But there's an unfinished report released early in time for the finals. That's what the AFL wanted to avoid, outrage if Essendon won the premiership only to later lose half their team in the off season when ASADA got ready to demand player suspensions.
There's enough though in this unfinished report for the AFL to do what they're going to do today.
Most likely they'll suspend Essendon staff for the vague and broad charge of "bringing the game into disrepute" and most likely Essendon lawyers will finally test this charge in court. It's a charge that hasn't been tested as far as I can remember**.
So what does "bringing the game into disrepute" mean? I know. I'll cut and paste the synonyms for 'disrepute' into a nice and easy to read pile.
disgrace, shame, dishonour, infamy, notoriety, ignominy, stigma, scandal, bad reputation, lack of respectability; degradation, humiliation, odium, opprobrium, obloquy; discredit, ill repute, disesteem, low esteem, loss of face; unpopularity, disfavour, ill favour. ANTONYMS honour.Can't argue the club or its staff haven't done any of these.
Now let's cut and paste the definition from my Apple dictionary....
disrepute: the state of being held in low esteem by the public: one of the top clubs in the country is bringing the game into disrepute .
If club lawyers don't like the charge "bringing the game into disrepute", maybe they should have challenged it in court years ago. It seems a little late now.
So what could the penalty be? Well, it's too open ended. Sky's the limit. A fool speculates. Besides, this is too important to become a Sanctions Against The Bad Guys Tipping Competition.
So the big problem for Essendon is that the dictionary says they did it - and if any of us know one thing about what this has done to this season and most importantly, our game, they did it well and truly.
* I am not important and have no qualifications on any of this but my day job does require me to spend a lot of time looking through dictionaries.
** It has been tested unsuccessfully a few times in the Victorian Supreme Court. That's why it still exists. More info when I finish reading about it. (14 Aug).