Bomber 'embarrassed' over scandal

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 26 Februari 2013 | 14.43

Mark Thompson says he feels embarrassed by the Essendon drugs scandal. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Herald Sun

ESSENDON assistant coach Mark Thompson says he feels embarrassed to walk in public in light of the drug scandal currently engulfing his club.

As the AFL and Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority continue their investigation in to the club's alleged use of performance enhancing drugs last year, Thompson said the matter was the most serious issue he had ever had to deal with in football.

Thompson said the club's image had "copped a hammering", making life difficult for all players and staff.

"It's been very hard to survive and to live," Thompson said.

"Everywhere you go you feel embarrassed, you think that people are thinking you've done these things that everybody has been saying we're doing.

"To be honest we just have to sit back and wait, and we can't defend ourselves because we're just not allowed to and we understand that, we're part of this process where we want to find the truth out and once the truth comes out we'll deal with the consequences.

"In that regard it's been really difficult."

Thompson told Fox Footy that the past few weeks had been a constant challenge, but admitted he had been impressed with the way the players had handled the situation.

"The players have actually been OK," he said on AFL 360.

"They've been training really well and when we get out on to the grass you sort of forget about what you're doing so in that regard it's OK. But it does come up in your mind when you're not out on the grass.

"You've just got to bring people together and discuss things. It changes every day and in all honesty it's a challenge, but it's a challenge we have to get through because we have to play games of footy and we have to win our respect back to our members, sponsors, the game, everybody."

Speaking for the first time since the drug scandal erupted, Thompson admitted to being "part of the process" that saw suspended high performance manager Dean Robinson to the club.

"I was there. I take responsibility for that for sure."

But he dismissed suggestions his influence at the club is greater than it should be.

"I'm there because of my experience and I try to pass on that knowledge, but in the end there's no point me having that knowledge and experience and having a puppet here and a puppet there and I'm pulling the strings. I'm not the coach, I've got no responsibility.

"If I've got the experience, I'll actually train you to do your role, I can't actually do it for you. So as far as that's concerned, it's only advice."

Thompson, the coach of Geelong when it won the 2007 and 2009 premierships, refused to fan any speculation surrounding Robinson's past involvement with the Cats.

"Again, when all the truth comes out, if there is anything that happened at Geelong well it will come out too," he said.

"At least we know with ASADA it's going to be very, very thorough and they will get to the bottom of it."

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