Down with sport …

I was horrified this morning as I watched Aurora the Explorer admit she plucked the number of people needing to be interviewed in relation to Australian Sports Blackest day out of her backside …

The Australian brings us more Black views …

JOHN Black, the former Labor senator who in the late 1980s chaired the first government-appointed inquiry into drugs in sport in Australia, has labelled the present Australian Crime Commission investigation as “amateur hour”.

The Senate inquiry headed by Black, which ran concurrently with the Dubin inquiry set up by Canada after Ben Johnson tested positive at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, pioneered drugs-in-sport reform not just in this country but globally. It led directly to the establishment of the Australian Sports Drug Agency – the forerunner to the present Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency – and indirectly to the creation in 1999 of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Black inquiry, conducted nearly a quarter of a century ago, covered virtually the same ground being explored by the ACC, including the possibility of organised crime infiltrating sport through the supply of drugs, the danger associated with athletes being administered drugs intended for veterinary use and the involvement of corrupt doctors and sporting officials …

… But he has little regard for the way the present investigation has been handled and sympathises with innocent athletes and sports angered by the fact they have been embroiled in what he views as a fairly cynical political exercise.

“Well, why the hell wouldn’t they (be angry)?” he asked. “It was just amateur hour. You looked at it and you thought, ‘Oh my god, this is going to end in tears.’ But it kept the Eddie Obeid (ICAC) inquiry off the front pages for a week, so that was the purpose of it.

“It was clearly some kind of media diversion but it was at the expense of sport. It’s had a melancholy and predictable conclusion …

He also points at a reasonably easy avenue towards keeping organised crime out of sport …

“I am just appalled at the advertising for gambling in sports¬†programs, the current exotic betting odds … I’m repelled by that. I think it’s appalling and I think the sports that do it should be condemned for it.

“The emerging problem that has come up has been gambling and sport has embraced it.

“I don’t get how a government can get all wowser-ish about tobacco and then turn a blind eye to this.

“And I don’t know how sport can embrace it either, bearing in mind what has happened on the subcontinent. It’s sitting up and begging for trouble.”

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