AFL boss has sympathy for banned players

Brent Prismall’s account of his role in the Essendon supplements debacle is further proof to AFL boss Gillon McLachlan that the players were not to blame.

Prismall gave an extended radio interview on Saturday, admitting it felt like the 34 current and past Essendon players were guinea pigs in the supplements regime.

He and his 33 former teammates are now serving doping bans, but are making a last-ditch appeal.

Prismall also admitted in the ABC interview that he cannot explain why he did not list thymosin on his form for a December, 2011 anti-doping test.

While thymosin is legal, the players were found guilty of taking the banned substance thymosin beta-4.

When CAS ruled against the players earlier this year, it referred to some players’ failure to list thymosin on their testing forms.

But McLachlan remains firm in his belief that the players are not to blame for what happened.

“He (Prismall) spoke beautifully and directly – a lot of all the ‘noise’ peeled off and the the stuff that’s been going on, the different views over the last few years,” McLachlan told the ABC on Sunday.

“We got to the essence of it, which was a group of young men in the end don’t know what happened to them.

“That’s completely unsatisfactory.

“He talked of that in a pretty raw and direct way.”

From the time the scandal became public in early 2013, McLachlan said he has backed the players.

“I have a view about how footy clubs work and culture,” he said.

“I saw what the players did to try to be ahead of that and the questions they asked in the lead-up.

“I’ve seen all the documentation and emails and things and I know, in my view, fundamentally, they were let down.

“So I don’t blame them, I never have.”

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