Former Sydney Roosters prop Martin Kennedy being suspended until December 2017 for deleting evidence of his attempted drug use.
Last March, Kennedy was issued with an infraction notice and provisionally suspended by the NRL over claims of possession and attempted use of multiple banned substances. The suspension of Kennedy will be backdated from his provisional ban on March 19, 2015, meaning it will expire on December 19, 2017. He has been suspended from participating - as an athlete or in a support role - in all sports that have a World Anti-Doping Agency's anti-doping policy until December 19, 2017. Kennedy, who has played 82 matches with the Roosters and Brisbane since making his debut in 2009, has 21 days to appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The NRL Tribunal was "comfortably satisfied" that the former Sydney Roosters prop ordered each of the substances, paid for them, before he chased up the delivery of the substances. The tribunal found that Martin Kennedy became increasingly concerned when the drugs were not timely delivered as that meant he had less time to use them and he made the purchases to "increase his size and strength" in the lead-up to the 2013 season. The NRL tribunal, chaired by former High Court judge, Ian Callinan QC, found Kennedy guilty under the NRL's anti-doping policy of attempting to use four banned substances in the 2012 off-season: SARMS S22, Growth hormone (GH), chorionic gonadotrophin, and insulin. The penalty requires a mandatory ban of two years but the NRL tribunal added an extra suspension of nine months after it was discovered that he had deliberately erased the contents of his phone.
In a statement, Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) chief executive Ben McDevitt remarked this was a disturbing course of action by a player in one of Australia's popular sporting codes. The ASADA chief executive said he was disappointed in the player deciding to make use of performance enhancing drugs for cutting corners in the NRL and added athletes make many sacrifices in training to reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport. McDevitt also commented that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority will continue to protect those athletes who make the right decisions and honest sacrifices when it comes to their training and performance and also said this matter also shows there are serious consequences for athletes who deliberately obstruct an ASADA investigation.
Replying to the development, NRL head of integrity Nick Weeks remarked the NRL remained committed to eradicating drugs from the game. Weeks added drug-free sport is essential in ensuring a fair competition and a safe working environment for our players, and we will continue to take the necessary steps to achieve this.
Kennedy, who debuted for the Roosters in the opening round of the 2009 season, joined Brisbane in 2014 and notched up 16 appearances that included a qualifying final loss against North Queensland. In his debut match, his side was trounced 52-12 by South Sydney before he went on to play 66 games for the tri-colors across five seasons.