Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is sensationally calling for the AFL’s illegal drug policy to be scrapped just as superstar Bailey Smith is banned after a photo of him with a bag of white powder emerged
- Beveridge claimed no one in the AFL is even sure the policy ‘really works’
- Comments come as his star midfielder Bailey Smith faces suspension under the policy
- Dog coach said players with diagnosed mental health problems are exempt
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has called for the AFL’s illegal drug policy to be scrapped as Bailey Smith is suspended under the controversial system.
Star midfielder Smith will be interviewed by the AFL integrity unit in the coming days after being caught on video with illegal substances last year.
The video and images appeared last week, with Smith later apologizing for “indulging in behavior in late 2021 that I am deeply ashamed of.”
Smith has been out of competition under league policy for at least two weeks after admitting to taking drugs when a photo appeared on Saturday showing him holding a bag full of white powder.
Beveridge (center) wants the policy abolished because he believes no one in the AFL is ‘really sure it works’
The 21-year-old, who is currently serving a two-game ban for headbutting an opponent, is likely to receive a further two-game ban for ‘improper behaviour’.
He could also accommodate a strike as part of the illegal drug policy.
Beveridge, who has offered his support to Smith, questioned the value of the three-strike policy.
“None of us are really sure it works,” Beveridge told reporters Monday.
“Ultimately, the clubs, the people, the voters at the football clubs are here to help and support our players.
“And essentially any player with a clinically diagnosed mental health challenge will never be exposed to the policy anyway.”
Smith was also seen snorting a substance at a nightclub in a video released shortly after the scathing photo
Smith has been outspoken about his mental health issues.
The mullet-decorated midfielder is one of the league’s most marketable stars, but he has struggled to gain fame during his four seasons with the Bulldogs.
Smith told News Corp that he went partying last year to deal with his mental health issues, including “chronic anxiety,” which were exacerbated by last year’s grand final defeat.
“I just had to take that month off, and I didn’t know what my future would look like from then on,” Smith said.
The superstar midfielder said he considered leaving the game as he turned to partying to address mental health issues, including chronic anxiety.
“I didn’t know if I would ever get back into good shape, or get back on the straight and narrow.
“There have certainly been very dark days.
“Even now I haven’t brushed my teeth in two days because of this stuff.
“It hits me, and I get waves of chronic anxiety and it’s hard.”
Smith told News Corp. he was almost relieved that videos and images of him using illegal means had surfaced.
He said he is ready to be held accountable and get help, and is urging others in a similar position to do the same.
Smith said his parents and girlfriend were his main supporters, adding that Beveridge was the first to offer his support last week.