As Essendon great Tim Watson expressed confidence in the ”likelihood of a positive outcome” for his son Jobe, players from rival clubs said the Bombers’ skipper and his teammates should be able to play on until the drugs investigation proved otherwise.
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Richmond midfielder Daniel Jackson said he did not want to see the careers of Bombers players affected if it was discovered by investigators that they made a ”relatively honest mistake”, while Carlton defender Michael Jamison said he had no problem with Watson and teammates playing out the rest of the season.

Jackson, a member of the AFL Players Association executive, urged the AFL and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigating Essendon’s supplement program to take into consideration ”extenuating circumstances”.

Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, athletes found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation face suspensions between six months and two years. ”They [the players] were put in a tough position,” Jackson said. ”We just don’t want to see any good players have their careers affected by what seems like a relatively honest mistake on their behalf.

”While the policies are all about the individual taking responsibility … you’ve got to remember a lot of these guys are young guys.

”Any other 19, 20, 21-year-old wouldn’t have the life skills or qualifications to be speaking against people of proper authority in their realm, in this case it’s a football club.

”There are senior players in that as well, but it just sounds like the due diligence and the processes in this example weren’t quite followed properly and as a consequence the players have suffered because of that. The [WADA] policy might claim that ignorance is not a defence, but there are more extenuating circumstances.”

Jackson said suggestions that Watson’s Brownlow Medal was now tainted or should be stripped in light of his admission were unfair.

Watson’s father, Bombers legend and senior commentator Tim, said there were ”complexities” surrounding the issue of whether the drug in question was a banned substance at the time it was administered.

He said he was concerned when he had first learnt his son had taken the drug, but has since been reassured.

”To me, because of the discussions that I’ve had with people, I’m completely and utterly satisfied with what has taken place in terms of how it has been dealt with and the likelihood of a positive outcome,” he said.

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

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