Amidst the furore of the dramatic Ben Cousins arrest and the sad end to his West Coast career an interesting contradiction has emerged.
Two weeks ago, after the tragic passing of West Coast Eagles great Chris Mainwaring, it was widely reported that Ben Cousins had visited Mainwaring’s home on two separate occasions on the day Mainwaring died. (It has recently become known that a toxicology report stated Mainwaring had “cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis, anti-depressants and the acne drug, Roaccutane, as well as alcohol in his system when he died.”)
To try and prevent the inevitable conjecture about Cousins’ involvement in drug taking with Mainwaring, the day after Mainwaring passed away, the West Australian reported that “Cousins was subsequently tested and the Eagles yesterday said the results were negative.”
The West Australian wasn’t the only news outlet to report that Cousins was tested after Mainwaring’s death – the same point was also reiterated by the Herald Sun, Foxsports, The 7.30 Report, the ABC News, The Australian, The Age and LiveNews. It is also believed that the claim was repeated by network television and radio stations.
Neither Cousins, nor the West Coast Eagles administration, nor the AFL, nor ASADA, sought to contradict the claims broadcast and printed. Nor did the West Coast Eagles administration, the AFL or ASADA correct the claim in the two weeks which have passed since Mainwaring passed away.
It came as somewhat of a surprise therefore that on Wednesday night, 15 days after it was widely reported that Cousins volunteered and passed a drug test, Channel Nine reported that the “West Coast Eagles now say Cousins did not present at the football club and have no knowledge of, or involvement in, that drug test.”
Crikey contacted West Coast, who stated that they were unable to confirm or deny the allegation, noting that for privacy reasons, they were unaware of whether Cousins had or hadn’t taken a drug test after Mainwaring’s death.
It would be fair to question why a player taking a drug test is public information, but a player not taking a drug test is strictly private and confidential.
It would also be fair to question why no-one, be it the Eagles, the AFL or ASADA, bothered to correct the record with regard to Cousins and that now infamous non-drugs test, despite it appearing in virtually every news outlet across the country.
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Late news: according to Cousins’ lawyers, this week’s charges are expected to be dropped on Monday morning.