Essendon AFL midfield star Brendon Goddard has labelled ASADA chief Ben McDevitt’s treatment of Bombers players as insulting.
Goddard wasn’t part of Essendon’s 2012 supplements program, as he joined the club from St Kilda for the 2013 season.
The Bombers’ 2013 club champion says the AFL club’s ongoing battle with ASADA is sure to affect the players in some way.
“I try to stay across all things as do all players that aren’t involved, to help support and to be there for the players and the footy club,” Goddard told the Nine Network’s The Footy Show on Thursday night.
Goddard said McDevitt’s attempts through the media last week to convince the 34 players issued with show-cause notices to lodge early guilty pleas in a bid to gain reduced sentences were insulting.
“What’s disappointing is getting an early-guilty plea (offer). A guilty plea for what?” Goddard said.
“The boys are adamant they’ve done nothing wrong. So is the footy club.
“The club only encouraged the guys to be honest and up front and I think they’ve gone through this with great integrity.
“For him to throw comments out like that were really insulting.”
Goddard says the entire AFL community is anxious to see the issue resolved.
“Everyone in general is just sick of it and we just want to see a conclusion,” he said.
“In some way, it is going to affect them. But to the point of blaming it for the defeat on the weekend (against Melbourne), I don’t think it’s to that extent.”
The 34 current and former Essendon players issued show-cause notices by ASADA have been given an extension to respond to their charges.
The AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) confirmed on Thursday the anti-doping authority had agreed to its request to lengthen the response time.
The deadline is now July 11.
While the 34 players will have an additional two weeks to respond, it’s unlikely to mean their cases are heard after the conclusion of Essendon’s Federal Court action – the stated aim of the AFLPA.
The club’s legal action will be first heard on June 27, along with the separate legal injunction filed by exiled coach James Hird.
On Wednesday, AFLPA chief executive Ian Prendergast called for an extension and for ASADA to hand over its evidence briefs against the 34 players.
Prendergast threatened legal action if the AFLPA was denied the briefs, though it’s understood ASADA has yet to respond to that request.
For the first time, the June 27 directions hearing will be broadcast on television, with the ABC providing a live feed of the court.
That hearing, and any information made public as a result of the legal action, is likely to be key to the next moves of all parties.