Cairns Taipans boss says basketball won't be dragged down
BASKETBALL won't be dragged down by the blanket-like verdict delivered to Australian sports fans on Thursday by the Australian Crime Commission, Taipans boss Mark Beecroft (pictured, left) says.
The former basketball coach said he was confident his sport would rise above the damning report that says drug use with the help of organised crime is rife across Australian sports.
The general manager said by not singling out what sports were in the wrong, it was unfair on the ones that were playing fair. "They need to identify, be more specific, talk numbers," he said.
"Basketball's always seen as a clean sport and has a family mentality. And we fall in line, we've been tested."
"There's been times when planes have been delayed because athletes were finalising their sample."
Mr Beecroft said he would be watching the winter sports season with interest.
"You'd have to say the Lance Armstrong saga's been a starting point for everything to be looked at. And it seems to have snowballed from there," he said.
"I want to see how it's perceived (by the fans) ... I certainly don't see us being tarred by that brush."
Other athletes can't dodge it that easily though, says Cairns's Michael Thwaite, who plays with Perth in the A-League and has represented the Socceroos.
"It's definitely disappointing to the players who have never been close to taking drugs," he said.
"I think the sooner that they are named, the better. That puts players who have never touched drugs in the proper light."
Not that he thinks any of his teammates or opponents are part of the problem.
"Definitely not. I have played at the highest level and at the lowest level, and I have never seen anything even remotely suspicious," Thwaite said.
But even at the lowest level the mud will stick, according to Brothers Hockey Club president Natasha McAlister, whose 13-year-old daughter Quinlee is involved in wakeboarding, futsal and hockey.
"It's all about expectation to succeed," she said.
"I know my daughter is very anti-drugs but as she gets older, who says it won't be a case of 'if you can't beat them, join them'?"
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Confident: Cairns Taipans boss Mark Beecroft.