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Articles on Essendon

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By laying charges against the Essendon Football Club, WorkSafe Victoria has accepted that its mandate extends to professional sports. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

In charging Essendon, WorkSafe puts all sport on notice

The implications of the bringing of OHS charges extend far beyond Essendon. For WorkSafe Victoria and professional sporting competitions, it is the equivalent of crossing the rubicon.
The standard of proof that applies in different types of judicial proceedings may result in quite different verdicts. Shutterstock/Andrey Popov

Judge suspects but must acquit man on child pornography charges

After saying he was ‘deeply suspicious’, a judge cleared a man of child pornography offences. We need to understand the standard of proof to make sense of verdicts, including AFL rulings on doping.
Thirty-four current and former Essendon players have been cleared of taking a banned substance during the club’s supplements program. AAP/Joe Castro

ASADA vs Essendon: through the haze and fog, now what?

The so-called “blackest day” in Australian sport can now instead be described as the precursor to its foggiest period, following the exoneration of 34 Essendon players from taking a banned drug.
Essendon faces the prospect of not being able to field a team next year. AAP Image/Julian Smith

ASADA v Essendon: next steps for the winners and losers

Federal Court Justice John Middleton’s decision to uphold the legality of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) investigation into the potential use of banned substances at the Essendon Football…
Will Essendon players face sanction if it is proven that they took banned substances during the 2012 AFL season? AAP/Joe Castro

What happens if Essendon players are issued ‘show cause’ notices?

Speculation continues to mount that Essendon Football Club players will face sanctions from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) over the club’s controversial 2011-12 supplements program…
2013 saw a decisive change of government in Australia. What else happened? AAP/Lisa Maree Williams

2013, the year that was: Politics + Society

Three prime ministers, four Labor Party leaders, two popes. 2013 was nothing if not a hectic year for the Politics + Society desk at The Conversation. And while it’s repeated so often as to go beyond being…
The Essendon supplements scandal that has enveloped the current AFL season has created the narrative of villains and heroes. Is it a sports marketers’ dream? AAP/Julian Smith

Marketing sport: villains and heroes in AFL brand narratives

This season, some sports commentators and footy fans have argued that the investigation into the supplements regime at Essendon has brought the club, the AFL and “the code” to their knees. From a branding…
The devotion of Essendon fans towards their coach and club legend James Hird - despite his involvement in the club’s supplements saga - can be easily explained away. AAP/Julian Smith

Understanding the ‘cult’ of James Hird

It’s times like these when we get to see just how much sports like Australian rules football shape the thoughts and dreams of so many Australians. Not only has the Essendon drugs scandal dominated much…
It looks likely to be lawyers at ten paces as Essendon and the AFL head to court over the supplements scandal. AAP/Julian Smith

Essendon vs the AFL: what are the legal issues?

The only real winners in the whole Essendon drug supplement saga are set to be the lawyers. With all parties “lawyering up” and multiple court actions either under way or threatened, legal eagles will…
The alleged “supplements program” at Essendon Football club raises many questions. David Crosling/AAP

Supplementary reading: why was there no red flag at Essendon?

The notice of charges by the AFL against Essendon Football Club has been published, and we have dealt elsewhere with some of the facts of the matter. But some harder questions remain. What does this list…
Dr Frankenstein created a beast of horrifying power; Essendon just created a shambles. Image from

Frankenfooty: Essendon’s mixed bag of supplements

The list of charges by the AFL against the Essendon Football Club for its alleged supplements program makes for compelling reading. Early on in the Essendon charge sheet is this paragraph, which sets the…
Essendon coach James Hird, along with his club and three other senior officials, have been charged by the AFL over the supplements saga. AAP Image/Julian Smith

The Essendon supplements saga: what you don’t know can hurt you

The idiom “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” usually means the less you know about the possible risks and harms that can befall you, the less likely you are to worry yourself sick about them. The recently…
Anti-doping is about protecting the integrity of sport, but what about the people? ĐāżŦ {mostly absent}

AFL, NRL – it’s time to move on from anti-doping

With the AFL and NRL “doping scandals” grinding on it seems there’s no end in sight to this saga. But there should be – and soon. Anti-doping will never work and should be replaced with a different approach…
Essendon coach James Hird outside his home on August 14, 2013 after the AFL charged him and four other club officials for bringing the game into disrepute over the alleged banned supplements scandal. Julian Smith/AAP

Human experimentation and ethics at Essendon Football Club

The news that the AFL has charged James Hird, and other members of the Essendon Football Club’s management staff (including the club doctor, Bruce Reid) with bringing the sport into disrepute should surprise…
Catching all dopers would be an expensive exercise, running into tens of millions of dollars. EPA/Dominic Favre

Exposing dopers in sport: is it really worth the cost?

On the back of an interim report by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) into the Essendon Football Club’s controversial supplements program in 2011-12, the AFL last night charged the club…

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