Waite gives drug tests thumbs up

CARLTON forward Jarrad Waite says he would be comfortable being tested every day for illicit substances and warned any drug users in the AFL they were stupid to be jeopardising their careers.

Waite said he had full confidence in the league’s illicit drugs policy as the best of its kind in world sport, and had no objection to even closer scrutiny from testers.

”I wouldn’t mind if I got tested every day of the week, because I don’t do it,” he said on Tuesday.

”If they want to do more tests then that’s good because I’ve got full confidence that, especially at Carlton, we don’t have a drug culture here.

”I’d be very surprised if blokes who are professional athletes are putting their careers at risk by doing drugs and doing stupid things like that. If I got tested every day it would annoy me, but it wouldn’t bother me because I don’t do drugs.”

Waite said it was up to the AFL and the AFL Players’ Association to decide if any part of the policy needed revising at Wednesday’s drug summit, although he supported the program in its current form.

”I think our system is very good. The players chose to have this system in place and it’s the best drugs system in the world,” he said.

”There are a lot of sports out there who don’t get drug tested in the off-season. As a playing group we decided, as a whole, we would be tested in the off-season to prove to people that we’re not a drug-cultured sport.”

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, however, believes the illicit drugs policy should be overhauled, claiming the system can no longer deal effectively with the drug problem. McGuire used a media report on Tuesday that a group of Collingwood players contacted the AFL last year to concede drug use as evidence there needed to be a readjustment.

The Collingwood players – believed to be at least four – admitted to an AFL medical officer to drug use late last season, according to reports, but escaped a strike against their names because they reported their drug use with impunity.

Clubs are not informed when a player records first and second positive drug tests – or in this case, self-reports.

McGuire said he wanted to be ”able to run my own club” by drug-testing players, even if that put them at greater risk of recording strikes.

”We’ve actually said we will pay the AFL to do more tests on our players and that puts us at risk of losing key players if they [record] three strikes,” he said on Triple M.

The self-reporting loophole is likely to be one of several elements discussed at the summit.

McGuire said he had long known there was a drugs problem in football and called for the current policy to be changed to reflect the issue.

”It ain’t a Collingwood issue and we don’t care because, you know what, we’re actually taking this on head-on. We’re saying there is a problem,” McGuire said.

”I said it in 1998, I said it in 2005 and I’ll say it today … there is a big issue in our community and we have taken great steps in football. Now we have to review those steps.

”What we can’t be is defensive. We can’t have the players’ association getting their backs up, we can’t have people who have been the architects of the current rule defending a position because it has worked to a degree, now we have to reassess.”

AFL Players Association chief executive Matt Finnis said on Tuesday that self-reporting was not common among players.

”No … we’ve had this policy in place for several years and this is a procedure which has been included throughout that time, because the policy is actually about knowing players who are using drugs so we can try to help them,” he told 3AW.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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