In a week where the National Rugby League is about to welcome back Blake Ferguson in a community role with the Sydney Roosters, one of his good mates still waits for a trial that’s been nine months in the waiting.
Sandor Earl was in the last year of his contract with the Canberra Raiders when on August 30 2013 the winger was charged with use and trafficking of a banned substance. He became the first well-known player to fall at the hands of the ASADA investigations into rugby league. Earl was on his way out of the game to try his hand at French rugby before his sporting aspirations were placed temporarily on hold while a decision was made on his ban length.
It seems that Earl has been forgotten about. Decision on a punishment has been painfully slow and one wonders if this was a high profile player whether they would have got a swifter hearing. It’s also a very high possibility that other players who are on ASADA’s radar are still playing in our game. There’s been plenty of rumours around the game about who will be eventually named as part of the investigation. Earl is being punished for clearing his conscience and coming clean with his naivety in trying to get back onto the field quicker from injury.
It’s ironic that Ferguson was sacked by the Canberra Raiders exactly one week after Earl’s charge. Since then Ferguson has been found guilty in a court of law of indecent assault back in an incident that took place on June 16 2013. And it’s very likely Ferguson will be given the green light to resume his career in the National Rugby League at the start of next year with the Roosters club.
In my time around rugby league I have been fortunate to have met Sandor Earl who always took time out to interact with fans. On day one I was quick to come out in support of Sandor and took a few punches through social media for backing a “drug cheat”. I thought that by Christmas he would be able to move on and have closure on the charge hanging over his head. By Easter the hiatus continued and next Friday will mark the nine month anniversary when ASADA went into meltdown and had no choice but to take action.
If and when a decision is made could you really blame Sandor for turning his back on the game and Australian sport with the way this saga has continued to drag on? With a health food business going from strength to strength in Thailand, one could say he’s set himself up for life after sport even though he’s in his athlete prime at twenty-four years of age.
Spare a thought for Sandor Earl and his family even if you think he’s a “drug cheat”, and consider how you would feel if something as important as a career was put on hold because of bureaucracy.
It’s time for Sandor to have his day in court.
An online petition is running at change.org