News has broken that one-time Australian Rugby captain James Slipper is facing a two-month suspension for repeated positive cocaine tests.
A Rugby Australia tribunal last Thursday made the initial call that the 86-Test prop should be stood down for two months, and receive a $27,000 fine. He had failed two random drug tests; one in February and a second this month.
The news has been quickly followed by a statement from the Queensland Reds player. That he had been battling depression for the past year, which is believed to stem from a difficult family issue.
JUST IN | Wallabies veteran James Slipper has returned a second positive test to cocaine and will be fined $27,500 and suspended for two months.
James Slipper statement: pic.twitter.com/LuBhjzoDKD
— News Talk 4BC 1116 (@NewsTalk4BC) May 24, 2018
“I take full responsibility for my actions and apologise unreservedly.”
Two-month suspension for James Slipper positive Cocaine test
Queensland Rugby Union chairman Jeff Miller said “Hearing the news we were shocked and extremely disappointed. In saying that, James has some significant personal issues he’s dealing with that need to be taken into consideration.”
Stood down from all rugby, the actions of the player have only made worse recent results on the field, pale in comparison.
While a difficult situation, Rugby Australia have both a responsibility to the players welfare, but also to be seen as upholding a wide-ranging illicit drugs policy. Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said the organization; including the Queensland Reds, were helping James Slipper in every way possible.
“That’s one of the things about depression. People work really hard to hide any mental health or depression challenges they have themselves for a very long time before they’re prepared to front it.
“That’s where as a sport we need to try and encourage people to come forward earlier because the earlier they come forward the earlier we can help them,” she said.