13 hours ago
Bulldogs still won't name names
The Bulldogs are still refusing to confirm which player allegedly tested positive to a recreational drug and was fined $25,000 last season.
The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph all ran independent stories this morning naming Willie Mason as the player who had been fined for testing positive to cocaine, a claim the test forward is denying.
?I can?t comment on these allegations because as I said before, we have a workplace code of health and safety and it was developed in conjunction with the players,? Bulldogs Chairman Dr George Peponis told Sydney radio station 2GB this morning.
Dr Peponis eluded to the fact that he was disappointed that newspapers went to print with the Willie Mason story this morning.
?It?s unfortunate people are saying things that shouldn?t be said,? he said. ?I dread the thought of waking up in the morning and seeing more allegations.?
The Bulldogs failed to tell the NRL about the positive drug test but are well within their rights to do so.
?The players are not compelled to undergo in-house drug testing,? Dr Peponis said. ?These are social issues that are affecting the whole of the community. We are trying to address them in the best way we can.?
News of a player testing positive to cocaine comes on top of the departure of Bulldogs CEO Steve Mortimer and Football Manager Garry Hughes, both in the wake of the sex scandal that continues to engulf the club.
Despite all of the off-field pressure, the Bulldogs remain one of just three clubs who are undefeated so far this season.
Tomorrow night they play the Sydney Roosters in what is expected to be the game of the year so far.
The Bulldogs held a training session in preparation for the game this morning but it was closed to the public and the media following a late-night decision.
A media statement, in part, issued by the club last night said: ?Could all media respect the wishes of Bulldogs Football Club senior coach Steve Folkes by not attending the last Bulldogs training session before the Bulldogs team plays in the game of the round on Friday night against the Sydney City Roosters at Aussie Stadium.?
Mason arrived at the training session on-time and remains adamant that he is not the player who tested positive to cocaine last year. But the fact that all three Sydney newspapers were willing to name Mason this morning suggests that the story comes from a high ranking and/or well regarded and trusted league official.
Mason was dropped by Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes at one point last season and had a media ban slapped on him at the time. It's unknown if Mason being sacked from the top 17 had anything to do with the latest allegations.
Newspapers have been careful not to name the players at the forefront of sexual assault allegations, even though most senior league journalists know who is involved.
In a statement yesterday, the Bulldogs said it would not be right to name the player who allegedly tested positive to the recreational drug, claiming it would breach agreements within the club.
?Under the Workplace Code of Health, Safety and Conduct entered into by all the Bulldogs Rugby League Club, the Club cannot comment on any such allegations,? the statement said.
?The Bulldogs players? legal rights along with their rights to privacy and confidentiality as outlined in the Code must be respected at all times.?