Thursday 23 November 2017

'We can't stick our heads in the sand here' - John Greene on breaking the Brendan O'Sullivan doping story

Kerry's Brendan O'Sullivan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Kerry's Brendan O'Sullivan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Sunday Independent Sports Editor John Greene has said that the GAA and its wider community cannot afford to 'stick their heads in the sand' and gloss over Brendan O'Sullivan's 21-week doping ban.

O'Sullivan failed a drug test for testing positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine ("MHA") following the 2016 National Football League defeat to Dublin, and Greene, who broke the story in last weekend's Sunday Independent, claims that the GAA still have a lot of questions that need to be answered.

"We can't stick our head in the sand and say there's nothing to see here and move on," Greene said on the independent.ie's The Throw-in podcast.

"If you take it that from the moment the player has been told he's failed a drugs test, it's widely accepted, and we haven't seen the report from Sport Ireland yet, but the Sport Ireland statement from yesterday is very clear, that there is no major blame being attached to the player.

"He took a substance which he believed to be okay and it turned out that it wasn't. We know today that it was some kind of tablet, that based on today's news, he didn't want to take a gel that others were taking because he had a problem with caffeine so he took a different tablet.

"He didn't check with the doctors whether that tablet was okay and it turns out it wasn't.

"No one thinks at this point that he set out to cheat or that he is a cheat. But everything that has happened from the moment he's tested positive almost says that something else is going on here. That's the problem that we have now.

"The sooner we get to see and read this report, and understand fully what happened here, then hopefully a lot of the questions we have will be answered."

Some of the questions that Greene has over the GAA's handling of the investigation include why was O'Sullivan's ban lifted in July, but his appeal not heard until February? Allowing him over six months to continue to play with his club and/or county.

Why has it taken 13 months  for this story to come out if he did nothing wrong? Was there legal people involved? If so, is that what slowed the process down? Why are violent conduct charges routinely heard within a week but O'Sullivan's appeal took over six months?

You can listen to the full breakdown of the O'Sullivan story below:

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly Championship podcast, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every Monday, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé, Brendan Cummins and John Mullane.

Subscribe and listen to The Throw-In podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

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