Fuck the haters. Yes, it’s in the headline, the first sentence and even makes an appearance in the last line of this article.
Roosters players Sam Moa, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Boyd Cordner, Marty Kennedy and the club as a whole must resemble Andy Dufresne at this stage — they’ve crawled 500 yards through shit-smelling foulness I can’t even imagine. Or maybe I just don’t want to.
They’ve crawled through a river of shit the length of five football fields and come out clean on the other side, all but vindicated by strong leadership and the truth.
The Chief Operating Officer of the NRL, Jim Doyle, has said he is “unconcerned” by articles that appeared in Fairfax newspapers this morning that claimed six Roosters returned blood test results with elevated Human Growth Hormone readings, and was “unaware” of any ASADA investigation into the results.
According to an article on NRL.com via AAP, Jim Doyle said he was “comfortable” with the club’s handling of the matter when they informed the NRL’s integrity unit earlier in the year.
Two days before their NRL preliminary final against Newcastle, the Roosters say they having nothing to hide after it was revealed a sports nutrition company was sacked when six players returned tests with elevated readings for HGH.
The company, Nubodi, was hired at the end of last year to help finetune detox diets for players before being dismissed in January.
“We’re not concerned, really,” Doyle told AAP on Thursday. “We were aware of these matters earlier this year. So from my point of view, it’s not new.
“There’s no reason for us to suspect there’s a doping issue there. The (HGH) levels are high but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a doping issue. ASADA are obviously aware of it. They have been for quite some time and I’m not aware that ASADA’s actually doing any investigation on their part for those particular matters.”
But Doyle said revelations the blood tests of players including Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ended up on the mobile phone of an alleged crime figure raised big concerns.
The trio were later re-tested by the club and did not return elevated levels of HGH and there’s no suggestion they acted improperly.
“How that happened, obviously I’m not sure,” Doyle said. “It’s not the type of information that would normally be out in the domain and being texted around. For us, we’ll look into that and try to determine how that took place.
“We’ve already been speaking to various people about that as to … where that’s come from. But certainly the results itself we’re aware of and they’re not overly concerning to us whatsoever.”
Effectively, a statement like this from the NRL’s COO absolves the Sydney Roosters of any wrongdoing in the matter of doping, as it’s in stark contrast to the NRL’s public position on other investigations.
The governing body has steadfastly refused to comment on ongoing investigations with ASADA including on the Cronulla Sharks and even on Sandor Earl beyond the already established facts in each case. They have not commented on the specifics of either investigation, with CEO Dave Smith often claiming “we’ll deal with facts” for both cases as they come to light.
So for the NRL to come out and say they “aren’t concerned” should be welcome news to the Sydney Roosters and their fans on the eve of their biggest game since the Grand Final in 2010.
It is the first real acknowledgement from the NRL of the intricate details of a case, and the NRL coming out like this should be acknowledged as real evidence that no investigation into doping is ongoing — and also there being no real evidence that doping went on in the first place.
The Roosters, through Brian Canavan, were refreshingly open with the Fairfax journalists on the claims, and it is clear that their transparency with the NRL has absolved them of any cover up.
Canavan in particular should be applauded, as should Nick Politis, for being so open about the saga in an effort to be transparent with the media. A “no comment” would have been the easy way to go, but they went the road less travelled. Marty Kennedy was refreshingly candid prior to what may be his last game for the club in the articles on Fairfax media today as well.
Yet still the Roosters have been accused of a cover-up and not being transparent.
What are clubs meant to do? Run with unsubstantiated evidence to the media at the slightest hint of impropriety?
The Roosters handled this as well as they could despite waiting half a season to inform the NRL. And fans should sleep a little easier tonight knowing the NRL is not investigating a cover-up or the incidence of doping due primarily to that transparency.
Roosters Chief Operating Officer Ted Helliar, one of the true unsung leaders of the remarkable turnaround of the Roosters this season, had one word to say today on Twitter:
You, the players and the fans alike, Ted.
Those fans have had to deal with unrepeatable barbs as the club’s proud name was dragged through the mud on the eve of the Grand Final Qualifier.
Those barbs will continue. But the response on Twitter in support of the club and its players has been overwhelming.
It’s a tough bunch of fans. They’ve copped it for being latte drinkers, salary cap cheats, and now drug cheats. They’ll continue to cop it, and they will continue to turn up.
The Roosters started out the year with the hashtag #Love2Hate, and it’s clear the whole season has come full circle after 29 weeks.
Fuck the haters. Bring it on.