Here is a story I read in the Herald Sun yesterday by Mark Robinson about the AFLs hypocritical stance in relation to betting and drugs- thought it was quite topical to what was being discussed yesterday. Not sure if this belongs here or in the general forum but IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢m sure the relevant people will move it if needs beÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.. One player, David Hale, places a bet on the Brownlow Medal and is on every front page in the country. Another player unnamed snorts cocaine and/or pops pills, is on strike two and remains anonymous. Anyone else think that a fraction unfair? The AFL, the self-professed best sports organisation in the world, labours it moralistic attitudes: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“WE have to protect the integrity of the competition blah blah blahÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â Yet, when Hale, Daniel Ward, Simon Goodwin and the young bloke from Sydney Kieran Jack, make an error of judgement, the AFL allows their mugshots to be plastered in newspapers and on TV. ShouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t the drug three be treated the same? Do paying club members want to know which of their players is taking charlie or do they want to know who their players think can win Charlie? On the flip side, you could argue, shouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t the gamblers have the same level of confidentiality than the drug takers, which is three strikes and youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢re named, an agreement drawn up by the AFL on the insistence of the playersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ association? When the AFL went into damage control on Friday night it didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t suppress the identity of the players. Surely HaleÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s crime, and perhaps the other three, doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t fit the public humiliation they faced in yesterdayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s Sunday Herald Sun. Both gambling and drug taking have serious consequences for the AFL. They are vices for another life. Not for an AFL one. The league views both extremely seriously. Gamblers face fines of up to $100,000 and suspension and drug takers caught for the third time face suspension of up to 12 weeks. A subsequent breach is no fewer than 12 matches, except if itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s for marijuana use. The drugs issue is a mess and, as Mike Sheenan said on Saturday, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s a significant and growing problem. At a guess gambling is probably less so. But thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s a guess. I canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t even entertain the thought of players betting against their team, but then again, I didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t think two planes would fly into the World Trade Centre either. Now that the scandal is out, the AFL must act strongly to determine the extent of the problem. The league said it had access to two betting agencies- Betfair and Tabcorp- with which they have a corporate arrangement. It makes this investigation to date, a bit of a sham. If the Sheriffs of Docklands want to catch all the bad guys, they must access accounts at Centrebet, Sportingbet, Sportsbet and all those offshore operators we usually associate with countries such as Noumea. Then those players, too, must be named. Since this story broke late on Friday, there have been plenty of nodding heads. LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s be honest. How many of us (media) and you (public) know of AFL players and/or club officials betting on football? Confession time. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve placed bets for a couple of footballers. Not much. I think it was $50 on their team mates to win the Brownlow Medal. Shock. Horror. LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s hang them. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve also done it for a club official. It was $50 on one of his players winning the Coleman Medal at odds better than 50-1. The stories are endless. Endless, also, will be the embarrassment and notoriety that will forever hang over the heads of Hale, Goodwin, Ward and Jack for being the first players caught betting on footy. Elsewhere, three players are walking around aware they are lucky young men. Very, bloody lucky. For those who are interested here is the story by Mike Sheahan Mark Robinson was referring toÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.. IT WAS only a matter of time before player betting became a scandal. There has been too much talk linking players and the punt ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ horses and footy ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ for it to be idle chat. Just like the drug issue, actually. It's not a claim we could stand up in court, but, in this business, we are practised at sorting wheat and chaff. Mark Robinson's article reveals punting on football by footballers as a problem, a major problem, and tells us the authorities have been made aware. The only surprise to me is that betting on football has surfaced before drug use. No matter what you hear about the number of drug tests done each year, drug use is a significant and growing problem. As it is in the broader community with people in their late teens, 20s and 30s. Players are quite open with people they trust and many of them say it's rampant. Most say the biggest problem is in Western Australia, but quickly add it's not confined to any one state. The drug debate in football was derailed when the world came down on former Swan Dale Lewis in 2002 after he suggested in the Herald Sun 75 per cent of players on club lists either used illicit substances or had experimented with them. He lost his nerve under the resultant pressure and recanted, and the message was lost. The problem has escalated since. A premiership player almost died in the United States late last year, and, if drugs weren't involved, then Las Vegas is in Europe. The issue has been raised with the most powerful AFL officials several times in the past 18 months. The response has been fair enough: the stringent testing system just doesn't support the anecdotal evidence. But, just as the betting story was only a matter of time, so, too, is a drug scandal.