Watsons confidentBombers: we’re OKI took drug: Watson

Former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett believes Essendon’s senior management and coaching staff should be sacked over the ongoing drugs scandal.

At the launch of the EJ Whitten game at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, Kennett said if he were in the shoes of Bombers president David Evans, he would have acted quickly after the scandal first broke.

He also said if the Essendon players were found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs, then skipper Jobe Watson should lose his 2012 Brownlow Medal.

Watson told Fox Footy’s On the Coach program on Monday night that he had taken a substance which is on WADA’s banned list.

“The question has been asked of me, ‘What would I have done if it had happened at Hawthorn,” Kennett said in reply to a question from MC Tony Jones.

“I probably would have, on the third or fourth day after I found out, sacked the coach, sacked the CEO and then sacked the head of the football department.

“Then, if I had any courage, I would have sacked myself because the buck stops with me (the president) and the board.”

Kennett also said Watson, if found guilty, should lose his medal, even if he didn’t know he was taking illegal substances.

“There is then the issues of the substances, and the tragedy of that is I don’t think they will necessarily prove they are performance-enhancing. I don’t think so,” Kennett said.

“But if they do, then there is going to be a very heavy penalty paid; you have got to abide by the rules.

“And that would be a heavy penalty against some of the senior staff members and their players and Jobe Watson and that would include the Brownlow Medal.”

On the subject of a general penalty, Kennett said: “If he is found to have taken a substance that is illegal or performance-enhancing, whether he knew it or not, then the rules are far clearer.

“You could argue that the penalty is two years, or if he says he didn’t know, it might come back to six months.

“These are anti-ageing and anti-obesity drugs, why in God’s sake would a group of 20-year-olds, fit as Mallee bulls and (fitter than) 99 per cent of the population, be taking anti-ageing and anti-obesity drugs?

“I don’t think they have got any idea what they had administered to them, they had no idea.

“And that is where the senior people at the club failed in their duty of care.”

Kennett also hit out at the AFL for allowing the standards of the competition to drop during the recent Adelaide salary cap scandal and the ongoing troubles at Melbourne.

He said the AFL had fallen behind the NRL in policing standards, comparing it to the NRL’s stance during the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal in 2010.

“The NRL acted very quickly. They not only took the points but stripped them of premierships which they had already earnt,” Kennett said.

“If you compare the ARL, [NRL] and the AFL, then we are substandard.

“We are slipping and unless we get to the point where we say enough is enough, and this is the responsibility of the commission, then we put at risk our code and the code always has to be bigger than the individual.

“With due respect, the AFL is wrong. Right now, the AFL is acting to protect the interests of some people and with that I don’t have anything more to say.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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