How many exactly in ‘up to’ 11?

Journalism and ethics are much like with indicating out of roundabouts. There’s plenty of literature on the very importance of it but society has accepted that it simply doesn’t get adhered to.

Collingwood got slagged on the weekend but I don’t think Pies fans are too aggrieved. Annoyed that if the number is indeed so high that a fair portion of their list enjoys St Kilda festival a bit too much, sure, but they want four points against Richmond, bugger their social lives for the minute.

But it puts a very weird and uncomfortable light on the dreaded drug conversation.

Firstly, this has nothing to do with performance-enhancing drugs, because then we’d be discussing Essendon.

Cheap gags at the Bombers’ expense aside the AFL is probably the only sporting code in the world that has a code for illicit drugs, the ‘recreational’ drugs.

In-season if you fail a test for these illegal social stimulants you cop your first strike and at this point only your club doctor will know. You get caught again during a season it’s a second strike and then bugger me if you get done a third time because by now you are copping a 12-month suspension for your trouble.

The story about the Magpies was about hair-testing though, a fair more credible guide to what is really going on in the social lives of the players.

Hair can keep track of what’s been consumed for up to three months, whereas the testing conducted during the year will only really indicate the behaviour of the prior 12-24 hours.

You take a party drug during the season; you’re playing Russian roulette with the testing. You take the same drug in between courses at Grandma’s Christmas Day, its 100% coming up in the results first day back at work.

But during the season it’s a strike, it’s your first warning. The doctor will know but strictly that’s all, it’s essentially got as much chance of causing a shockwave as a redhead on Tinder.

You keep at it and it’ll eventually get out, especially if you get done three times and you’re publicly suspended.

So what is the relevancy of this hair-testing? It has no consequence. It’s an anonymous study for what?

Do some AFL players take drugs? Let’s see, they are well paid 18-30 year old males on good coin, reasonably narcissistic and other good-time lubricants like beer and any drinking really affect physical performance.

Groundbreaking.

Yet because the off-season results, in part, got into the hands of the chief football writer of the largest paper in the AFL mecca of Melbourne, the anonymity got shot to bits.

Is it news? Sure.

Is it fair to go with a number you’re “reasonably confident” of? Questionable.

Is it then fair to say that Hawthorn has had up to 28 players in the past 10 years on two strikes? On the Herald Sun’s quota for fairness then absolutely, we know of one for sure (google Travis Tuck) so “up to” 28 must be cocher.

Tomorrow’s top story then: Mark Robinson has had up to 342 haemorrhoids in the last six weeks.

Providing the old fella has slipped up with one grape south of the waistline the last month and a half my story is on the money, it’s a 50-50 shot, and with that kind of story potential I’m tempted to toss that coin.

Why bother with the off-season testing when it’s as good a chance to become public as Wayne Carey rolling the arm over at a mate’s barbecue.

Either make the off-season testing just a part of a then ‘all-year-round’ testing and be done with the grey area or ditch the off-season testing altogether.

If the players want to really run the gauntlet with no consequences in their six weeks off there’ll be a price to pay anyway, with a little thing called the law.

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