Super Rugby’s Queensland Reds and ex-AFL player, 28-year-old Karmichael Hunt has pleaded guilty to four counts of cocaine possession, and fined $30, 000 by the Australian Rugby Union and Queensland Rugby Union. As ABC News reported, Hunt attributes his cocaine use to “misguided post-season celebrations”, and while he has been suspended for six matches and will no longer be vice-captain, his contract with the Reds remains in place. Hunt was contracted to another code during the time of the incident, and the same Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (QCCC) investigation that charged him has also served notices to a significant number of footballers across the state. As The Brisbane Times reported, these include the Titans’ Beau Falloon, charged with four counts of supply, and Jamie Dowling, who faces seven charges of possessing a dangerous drug and two counts of supply. The QCCC’s investigations are ongoing, and may have implications for other “high-profile athletes” in the state.
As reported in The Daily Telegraph, Southport School on the Gold Coast had been the Titans’ training grounds since September 2014, and in the wake of this controversy, the reputable school will no longer allow their grounds to be used by the club.
With the NRL introducing compulsory training on illicit drugs for players at every club, their stance on drugs is clear. It is a shame that the sport’s 2015 season has again begun with incidents that attract negative publicity for the game.