Rugby Union players are exonerated while cyclists take the blame
Springboks Bjorn Basson and Chiliboy Ralepelle have been let off and totally absolved of all blame by the South African Rugby Union after testing positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine last autumn but Alberto Contador faces a long ban after he tested positive for Clenbuterol.
Their defences were essentially the same. The Boks duo tested positive because the methylhexaneamine was present in supplements given to them before the Ireland game, a supplement approved by the Springbok managment and used with some regularity over the last couple of seasons. So that’s all right then.
Disregarding the question as to exactly why a player would need a supplement so close to any game, the SARU Disciplinary committee argue that their players cannot in anyway be held responsible for the accidental appearance in their bodies of the banned drug. So that’s all right then.
The soothing words of SARU chief executive Jurie Roux almost are worth repeating and will infuriate many: “This verdict completely quashes any idea that either the players or the team were guilty of any attempt to cheat. No responsibility attaches to the players at all.
“The banned stimulant was in a supplement given to the players in a warm-up before the Test against Ireland and is a product that has been used by the Springboks before without any adverse analytical findings.
“I am most sorry that the players have had to endure the stress and stigma attached to a failed dope test. Hopefully this verdict will have laid to rest any idea of any wrongdoing on their part.”
Meanwhile the much maligned and demonised Contador is using the same line of defence with, indeed, a rather more plausible argument in my opinion, that the clenbuterol was present in the imported meat from Spain he ate on that fateful night in Pau last July. At least there is a long uncontested case history of suchlike cases with clenbuterol around the world.
The difference of course is that rugby union, which always rejects claims that the sport has any sort of drug culture, has failed to act or even acknowledge a potential problem while cycling, which is typecast along with athletics as the baddies of world sport and the haven of all druggies, has acted time and time again in recent years to eradicate the curse and has taken testing and disciplinary action to new levels.
Sport evidently feels the need for a couple of whipping boys when it comes to drugs and cycling and athletics are the appointed victims.