Martin Devlin: There's nothing heroic about Cameron Smith playing with painkillers

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 29 Oct 2020, 1:13PM

Martin Devlin: There's nothing heroic about Cameron Smith playing with painkillers

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thu, 29 Oct 2020, 1:13PM

There is nothing courageous or heroic about Cameron Smith taking painkilling drugs just in order to take the field in the NRL Grand Final. And the sycophantic Ozzie sports media falling over themselves to fawn all over him need to stop the butt- kissing and start doing their jobs - which is questioning the legality, morality and long-term sensibility of both his and the club's actions.

For a start what kind of message does this send? The idea that any athlete in any sport is so busted up they can only play after injections questions the integrity of both athlete and event. Smith's injury was/is so severe he can't swing a golf club - meaning HE CAN'T PLAY, or he can't play without having to have painkilling injections i.e. drugs.

And if he can't perform without these drugs  then by definition they have to be called performance enhancing. To me this is in the same department store as Lasse Viren's blood doping. It's putting  something into the body that means the athlete transcends the level they could  or would ordinarily perform at that time.

So how is this not illegal? How can the NRL sanction this without at least independently questioning the medical personnel involved? We're all aware of the murkiness that surrounds the activities of these club doctors given the latest slew of allegations involving South Sydney and Sam Burgess.

And where was it ever ethically or medically approved in any walk of life to willy-nilly hand out injections and/or whatever else in order for an employee to be able to front for work? The lack of transparency, the deliberate fudging of information  has to be of concern and must be addressed. Back to the bit about messaging.

Is this what the NRL really want to be telling young people that you should hide your injuries and when  you're not fit and can't play to pump yourself full of drugs so you can? What about the long-term  damage being done here? When Cam Smith's shoulder completely seizes up later in life who  pays for that? Should medical insurance have to cover something so obviously self-inflicted? 

And are we meant to feel sympathetic or simply accuse Smith of being idiotic?  Wake up Ozzie sports media and start doing your jobs. I repeat. What Cameron Smith and the Storm did is neither courageous or heroic. It's more a reflection on the tootless NRL and their inability and refusal to call it drug-cheating and confront it.