Controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank believes the AFL and ASADA “constructed” a story to incriminate he and the Essendon Bombers in the supplements saga, and says he plans on bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Dank, whose involvement in the Bombers’ infamous supplements program in 2012 has seen him avoid media attention in recent years, claimed ASADA fabricated the claims against he and the club to serve its own purpose.
“Don’t be fooled into thinking that this story started on the 5th of February, 2013,” Dank told the ABC’s PM program, referring to the day Essendon self-reported its 2012 supplements program to the AFL, when ASADA first revealed information of alleged doping in the country.
“They tried to sit down and construct a story so they could have an ending that would suit their means, obviously try and incriminate me to all ends of the Earth and at the same time try and construct an ending which would allow the players to walk.
“‘I’ve got no problems with the players being allowed to walk because the players have done nothing wrong.
“But the thing that I’ve found that’s sometimes been comical, is the fact that we’re having a due process which has followed no process … and certainly we’ve had a process which has been devoid of anything that resembles proper judicial processes.”
Dank has worked as a sport scientist for a number of football clubs, most notably Essendon and Cronulla, and is alleged to be the figurehead of the Bombers’ 2012 supplements program, which ASADA claims featured the use of banned substances.
Essendon staff and players are in the process of fronting an AFL anti-doping tribunal, but Dank described the evidence currently being used in the case against the club as “comical”.
“I laugh a little bit about some of the evidence that I’m being told is being presented at the moment at the AFL tribunal because it’s evidence which in no way, shape or form is real, in no way, shape or form has any basis and to be honest, in no way, shape or form has had any real meaning in relation to the true facts of the case as it happens,” he said.
“And yet these particular players have been subjected to this process.
“I think James Hird said it immaculately well the other day, that these particular players and his support staff have rights which are currently well below that of the average Australian citizen.
“I mean, I find it quite comical because a lot of it is so far from the truth.
“But of course the part that I don’t find comical is the fact that these 34 players have needed to be subjected to this.”
Dank also revealed he received an infraction notice from the AFL late last year.
ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt revealed earlier in the year that Dank’s name had been placed on the Register of Findings, which is the precursor to a sport issuing an infraction notice.
But Dank told PM he had not responded to the AFL’s infraction notice and that AFL had not pursued the matter.
‘We want certain people brought to justice’
While Essendon coach Hird is weighing up High Court action after unsuccessful appeals against the AFL and ASADA investigation into the club, Dank noted his intentions to see “certain people, certain bodies brought to justice”.
Hird’s case accuses ASADA of unlawfully using the AFL’s power to force players into answering questions, but Dank refused to go into specifics about what a potential case would entail.
“I think it’s pretty fair to say that this whole process has left the boundaries of simply damages and defamation action,” he said.
“As I said, I’m not going to go into specifics, but as I said we want certain people, certain bodies brought to justice for what they’ve done throughout all of this.
“We don’t just want to win defamation cases and damages cases. We want to bring people to the judicial process who need to be put under full investigation for their actions throughout this whole investigation.
“So this goes quite high and quite wide and it’s when those particular people are brought to justice I’ll be a lot more happier about saying the job’s been done.”
Closing submissions at the AFL anti-doping tribunal are set to be heard on February 18, with a verdict not guaranteed to be reached by the time the Bombers start their AFL season on April 4.
Dank seems unlikely to give evidence at the tribunal, nor will he opt to publicly give his side of the story.
“Simply to air it publicly isn’t going to bring about justice and that was one reason why we didn’t bother to venture into the quasi-judicial system of the kangaroo court involving the AFL tribunal and ASADA,” he said.
“I mean, that can only be realised in a proper judicial process associated with a court of law.
“So I think it’s laughable to suggest I would simply air my view or simply turn up to something as ridiculous as the AFL tribunal and think that justice is going to be done.”
Dank was once again quizzed over whether he ever administered banned drugs to any players at Essendon or Cronulla, and his answer was an emphatic “no”.