UPDATE: Hawthorn president responds to Drive co-host
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has questioned why David Schwarz and Nick Riewoldt didn’t speak out against the AFL’s illicit drugs policy when he was still playing.
Riewoldt was joined on Monday by Macquarie Sports Radio Drive co-host David Schwarz in denouncing the system, where players have multiple strikes before being publicly named and suspended.
Kennett told Macquarie Sports Radio Mornings it was imperative leadership on the illicit drugs policy came from current players.
“It’s easy to be critical of the system after you leave because you’re not putting your own employment at risk,” he said.
“The AFLPA’s policy is irresponsible and they should understand it’s in the interest of the players that there’s a policy that puts the welfare of players above every consideration.
“When you heard David (Schwarz’s) comments about a number of players that left football which had their minds changed because of drugs, that’s equally worrying.
“It’s not a compulsory sport and the rules should be quite clear – if you don’t want to abide by those rules then don’t join.”
Click PLAY to hear his full comments
Earlier on Monday, AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh spoke on Macquarie Sport Breakfast, and said “the reality of it is is that if it is happening, then it is a very small number and the policy is helping out a large percentage of the players who have been identified as having issues.”
David Schwarz responded on Monday’s Drive program, saying Marsh is ignoring a problem that is rife within the sport, with other former players and coaches including Nick Riewoldt having stated that drugs are an issue in the AFL.
“I have at least a dozen ex team-mates that are now drug affected because of their use of drugs whilst playing,” Schwarz said.
“If I was Paul Marsh, I’d be listening and I’d be listening loud and clear before he has a number of deaths on his hands.”
“Yes, you’ve got a job to do to protect a players image, but you’ve got to protect their lives first and foremost.”
Take a listen below.