Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says the AFL’s illegal drug policy should be scrapped because its star player Bailey Smith is facing a ban under the league’s Drug Addicts Act.
The AFL Integrity Unit will be interviewing star midfielder Smith the next day after a video of the star with illegal substances appeared in a clip taken last year.
Smith, who is currently serving as suspension for head batting, later issued a statement saying he was “sorry for the behavior towards the end of 2021 that I am deeply ashamed of.”
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He is expected to face another two weeks out under the AFL’s drug policy.
Speaking to reporters on Monday morning, Beveridge called on Smith to change the AFL’s position on the issue of illicit drugs in its support of the three-strike system.
“None of us are sure it works,” he said.
“Ultimately the club, the people, the elements of the football club are here to help and support our players.
“And basically any player with a clinically diagnosed mental health challenge will never face the policy.”
Beveridge also said he did not want Smith to be further punished by the club and the sanctions that were likely awaiting the mullet-clad footballer.
Since gaining fame in the AFL, Smith has been outspoken about his mental health struggles.
He told the News Corporation that he turned to drugs last year to address his “long-term concerns,” adding that last season’s great final defeat also contributed to the problem.
“I had to take a vacation that month, and I didn’t know what my future would hold from there,” Smith said.
“I did not know if I would ever be able to return to good form, or to be straight and slim.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“Still, I haven’t brushed my teeth in two days because of this thing.
“It hurts me, and I get waves of chronic anxiety and it’s hard.”
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