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Friday, July 31, 2009

The ins and outs of the Bath drugs scandal

The ins and outs of the Bath drugs scandal

Amid one of the biggest drug scandals in rugby history, former Bath trio Michael Lipman, Alex Crockett, and Andrew Higgins face a Rugby Football Union hearing over their alleged use of prohibited substances.

They are accused of conduct which is prejudicial to the interests of the sport due to a number of charges, including the consumption of prohibited substances, and refusing to undergo drug tests while under contract at Bath.

While other similarly accused professional athletes readily submit themselves to substance abuse treatment, all three resigned from the club suddenly, but have vowed to fight the charges.

"This is a matter that we take very seriously and will do everything possible in order to clear our names," they said in a joint statement.

The hearing decision is expected to be heard on Monday.

Earlier in the month, fellow Bath player and former Australian international Justin Harrison was suspended for 8 months after admitting to cocaine use.

Harrison was released early from his contract prior to a misconduct hearing following a London party which ended in him being punched in the face.

He was in line for a 18 month ban, but the way he dealt with himself subsequently, and his admission of guilt were taken into consideration.

In February of this year England prop Matt Stevens was handed a two year ban after a doping test showed that he had used cocaine. Stevens too admitted his guilt, and is now attending regular counselling sessions for a drug problem.

Clearly it's not worth it.

Time: 01:22
Note: Clip courtesy of Sky Sports

Posted by Rugbydump at 5:52 pm | View Comments (34)

Posted in See it to Believe it

Viewing 34 comments

Stubby July 31, 2009 5:35 pm

Drugs will get you nowhere

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Anonymous July 31, 2009 5:38 pm

Refusing a drug test is not the way to 'clear your name'. Dumbasses.

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goodNumber10 July 31, 2009 7:23 pm

why does Harrison get 8 months and Stevens get 2 years for the self same issue?

infact harrisons is worse, it was in public and his behaviour on the day resulted in him getting into a fight in public.

no question they should both be banned but again the RFU fail to show any consitancy.

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Matt July 31, 2009 7:30 pm

pro players get tested every now and then in all sports...
refusing to do a test is seen as a positive test... a mark against your name.... refusing 3 is stupidity and they deserve to be fired and not fight back.
I don't see they have a leg to stand on. Despite being skillfull players.
At least thats my view.

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Anonymous July 31, 2009 8:00 pm

The only drugs they should test for are performance enhancing drugs. Using PED's is cheating. Using cocaine is not. Recreational drugs that players put into their bodies are nobody's business.

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Jean July 31, 2009 8:04 pm

Harrison's ban was shorter than Stevens' because Harrison's was out of the season - an anomaly that the IRB says it will fix.

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Kearney for tests July 31, 2009 9:12 pm

Does anyone else take comfort in that Saved by the Bell episode where they all renounce drugs at the end? I think these three should have watched it.

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T July 31, 2009 10:01 pm

Jesus they are wild for that shit over in Bath.

No wonder they never won anything...

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jimbo July 31, 2009 10:34 pm

its true coke isn't gonna make u play rugby better so why a ban players? just report them to the police and i doubt they'd even do anything!

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Anonymous July 31, 2009 10:45 pm

Bad boys of the premiership. Just last night me and Matt Banahan snorted several grams worth of cocaine off a dead prostitues body. We tried to get Nick Abendanon and Olly Barkley involved but Nick was had taken way too much ketamine and Olly was assaulting innocent passers by with his cast.

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Jordan July 31, 2009 11:58 pm

the reason that they get banned for cocaine and the like is because if you want to look at it like its a business (which technically it is) do you want a coke addict working for you? that will not reflect well on your business and your customers (viewers) will lose interest in what you have to offer.

Rugby is a beautiful sport but at the professional level it is a business, and these players need to be treated as if it were their job. If i were drug tested at my place of work i would not be banned i would be fired.

just something to sink your teeth into.


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Lennox August 01, 2009 2:54 am

Yeah because there aren't any successful business men who do cocaine.

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goodNumber10 August 01, 2009 5:06 am

couple of things here.

yeah lost of people do it world wide, but it is for the most part illegal, in the UK it is a CLASS A drug, up their with Smack and Crack etc..

The fact is it's illegal so if you are found taking it by your employer then as Jordan says it's not unreasonable to be dismissed from your job in the same way as if you committed any other crime that brought your professional lifestyle into disrepute.

Now what your saying Lennox is that people should be free to do what they want in regards to Narcotic consumption which is a totally different argument. you're talking about changing the law.

These guys, if found guilty, and lets remember they are innocent till proven guilty and contest the allegations, are subject to British laws, and codes of conduct befitting their profession and should be banned.

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Anonymous August 01, 2009 5:28 am

I'm one of those "drugs should be legal" pseudo-hippies, regardless of the fact I take none.

However. Bath and the RFU have every right to punish the players as they are doing.

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Lennox August 01, 2009 8:14 am

I have no problem with them getting banned, I'm just pointing out that most business people aren't drug tested, and quite a few do drugs.
Rightly or wrongly, sportspeople are under alot more scrutiny.

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nomex August 01, 2009 9:03 am

wouldnt it be better if those guys get some help instead of bumping them out of their jobs?

the drugs havent been used to gain any advantages... cocain was used as a party drug, so those ppl could need help instead of being penalised.


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RIP Sir Bobby August 01, 2009 10:54 am

I think a lot of people are missing a major issue here. These men were role models for a generation of youngsters at a well known professional sport. What impression does it give out if the game allows drug use of any sort, recreational or perfomance enhancing. The easiest way to stop this happening would be give an immediate lifetime ban to anyone caught taking drugs, this seems harsh and it is but I assure you after a couple of players are prosecuted the rest would very quickly snap out of it. This is because at the end of the day anybody who has had the opportunity to play rugby would do so over drugs any day of the week.

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ArranR August 01, 2009 11:50 am

I think it's strange that this is all happening at Bath =/

I think a lot of pressure is put on the players and they use the cocaine to releive the pressure, but it ends up being the wrong choice for them. Thats what Matt Stevens had said, and I think it's the same for the other guys aswell!

There's too much pressure left on the lads, but it is still no excuse for drugs, real proffesional rugby players can handle the pressure, unlike these boys.


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Anonymous August 01, 2009 12:50 pm

I'd just like to add that cocaine is actually a performance enhancing drug. Obviously not as much as other drugs but this must not be forgotten.
Pretty much every drug has an effect on your play, even alcohol, as it increases your pain treshold. Obviously that is only if you don't play totally hammered.

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will August 01, 2009 3:10 pm

what is it with bath and cocaine five who have done it and four of whom have seen the concequences that stevens had to deal with complete idiots.

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Jeremy Guscott August 01, 2009 4:09 pm

Rugby's gone soft, me and Stuart Barnes used to shoot up on Heroin in the changing rooms at the Rec before every game.

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Anonymous August 01, 2009 4:51 pm

No surprise they made a joint statement.

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cheyanqui August 01, 2009 7:22 pm

as folks have said, rugby is a business.

as RIPSirbobby said, kids look up to them.

Bath, RFU, and IRB, are selling a product, and the marquee aspect of that product is the talent -- the players themselves.

Protecting the image that they want to portray is vital to their business, whatever that image may be. So as employers, they are likely to engage in civil contracts with the talent that provide sanctions for this behavior.

On the other hand, if you want to create a sport with a negative, bad boy image, then drug use is probably OK. I doubt that is where rugby is going.

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Matt August 02, 2009 9:55 am

Just to point out to those who are under the opinion of coke is just a recreational's not. It IS performance enhancing in the context of sport. Thats why it's on the IOC banned list. It dull's pain, meaning you can train and play harder. It increases your senses so you react quicker, and push yourself further. But at the same time increases your chance of injury. And then there's the theory of "well if a little helps, why not do more".....oh cuz it can kill you.
I certainly don't want any kids i know going to their local sports shop asking for a gram of coke rather than a sports bar or protein shake etc. Just think ethics.

The likelyhood that they actually used it for that reason is minimal. It is likely they only used it for recreational purposes as you can still train and play the very next day with little detriment to performance. Whereas after a night out on the booze you can't train/perform properly.

It also costs less for a good time. At 30 a gram, vs easily 60 of booze, and then taking into account, head ache vs none, if it were not for the legality of it all, stands to reason why people do it.
However these aren't normal people. they're paid, contracted, sports professionals.
Sucks i know, but if you don't like it, quit.

Oh they did didn't they.

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Lennox August 02, 2009 1:58 pm

Haha, Stuart Barnes on smack.
hilarious. I wish, he might be less of a useless, ignorant idiot commentator.
He couldn't possibly be more stupid.
TO be fair, in the old days, all the players did heroin. It was part of the tradition of the game.
The Lions, long tours and heroin. All part of the tradition.

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Anonymous August 03, 2009 7:58 am

It just seems crazy to even consider taking anything when you know there is a chance you could get tested and lose your job. I think that's what diminishes any sympathy you could have for these guys, they know the consiquences and they've seen it happen at their club. It will be interesting to see who employs them next.

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Andy August 03, 2009 8:38 am

I would have said it was performance hindering if anything. I think that isn't the point though. Like people have said they are role models and if the youngsters see the older players doing it then they will possibly get into it and then you have a problem at your club. Same for the IRB they have to ban them otherwise the youngsters will see that all that happens is they lose their jobs at their club but it isn't such a problem for the wider rugby community. They need lengthy bans, it's the only way to stop youngsters thinking, i quote, 'class A's everyone's doing it'

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Jonathan August 03, 2009 6:40 pm

I couldn't care less if they did a bit of coke. If you banned everyone who did coke there would be 50% unemployment in this country!

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Andy August 04, 2009 9:34 am

Jonathan, neither do I.

If you owned a rugby club you would though. And i doubt 50% of professional rugby players do coke either. Realistically i'd say more than we think but not 50%.

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Anonymous August 04, 2009 10:34 am

Look at the 1:02 mark. Looks like he is getting the last drips.

Anybody who has done coke knows what I am talking about.

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Anonymous August 04, 2009 10:43 am


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Anonymous August 05, 2009 1:16 am

Just because a person is a professional sportsmen, it doesn't mean the owners of the club owns the player's bodies and personal lives. The players can put what the like in their bodies as long as they don't cheat on the field of play. No wonder the U.K. is such a nanny state.

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Anonymous August 05, 2009 10:21 am

To the above. Unfortunately if you read their contracts they basically do.

I'm basically of the opinion that they should be punished, people should be allowed to put whatever they want into their bodies unless they are a professional sportsman representing a club which is trying its best to put together a competitive side to reward its fans. I think you can sacrifice that part of your lifestyle to become a professional sportsman.

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Anonymous November 19, 2009 6:44 am

David flatman was involved in it some where as that was the reason he was left out of the england squad

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