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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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My drugs shame - Raiders ace's shocking revelation

RUGBY ace Brett McDermott has failed a drugs test. The Barrow Raiders forward made the shocking revelation to the Evening Mail just days after announcing his retirement from rugby league.

Brett McDermott

Traces of steroids were found in the 32-year-old’s urine after Rugby Football League testers visited him at his Dalton home on March 2.

At the time he was in the middle of a six-match ban for stamping and punching, and was awaiting surgery on his right elbow.

Mr McDermott has admitted the charge and faces up to a two-year ban – though he is appealing for a reduced sentence, based on mitigating circumstances.

In his first interview following the test results and his retirement – hastened by his wish to avoid tarnishing Raiders – the father-of-three said he had taken a healing agent to speed his recovery and aid his return to his day job as a coal man.

He said: “When I was banned for seven weeks, I fit in to get my elbow fixed.

“I took some orals from the gym to speed things up. With work, I wanted to get back to fitness as soon as I could.

“I didn’t ask what was in them. I knew they were anabolic, but I didn’t ask what was in them, I just wanted to get back playing and working and this sorted us out.

“There are things you can take in competition and out of competition and I thought, as long as I’m clear when I’m playing, I would be fine.

“I was never taking any performance-enhancing drugs when I was playing.

“It’s a bad way to end (my career). I hope people don’t judge me on what I have done now, but rather what I have done in the past.

“All I did it for was to get back as quick as possible for work and for rugby.

“I had seven weeks of wages missing from the rugby, because I was on a pay-as-you-play deal and I had just had my third kid and that money was missing.

“It’s just sickening inside. It’s a daft mistake, but I did it to get back to work and playing as soon as possible.

“I wasn’t playing at the time so I didn’t think there was much of a problem, but obviously you can’t take certain things, and I did.”

Mr McDermott will have an appeal hearing with the RFL on May 10.

He has written a statement in mitigation and was not expected to go public on the issue.

Only after the result of the appeal would the RFL normally release the details, but the player is aware people are already talking about why he quit the game.

He said: “This will stop all the rubbish going on behind the scenes from all the gossip merchants.

“It will be hard to take having to face a lot of people, but the reasons why I did it are there.

“I was carrying coal on the Wednesday when I’d had surgery on the Monday. I should have had two or three weeks off, but I only had a day off.

“I feel silly for what I have done, but there was a genuine reason for doing it.

“I have hardly slept since.

“We need to take everything away from the club, because it had nothing to do with them, that’s why I retired.

“I wasn’t even training at the time. I just took it because I wanted to get back fit.

“The club have been brilliant and they should be completely exonerated.

“I just hope people me for what I have done in the past and not for this one silly mistake I have made.

“Everybody knows I was banned at the time and they all know I had surgery on my elbow.

“Hopefully they will see the reasons.

“If I wasn’t banned and I wasn’t having my arm done when I was caught, then fair play.

“The retirement didn’t come because of the ban, because the ban would come anyway. It was to distance it all from the club.”

Mr McDermott will be back on the terraces at Craven Park tomorrow, supporting the team he has followed since childhood.

There with him will be his dad Ged McDermott, who is standing by his son through this difficult time.

He knows a lot of people will feel let down by his son’s actions, but he hopes those who already know him will treat him as they always have.

Ged McDermott said: “There’s no lies with this, it is straight from the heart.

“A lot of people have been fair with him – they have been brilliant with him – and this is just a nightmare way to end it all.

“We have to be open with it. There is no way in the world Brett has ever hidden from anything – off the pitch or on it.

“If anybody really wants to come up and say something to him, he will listen.

“You are always going to have you nucleus who aren’t going to listen to anything.“It be 70/30, with 70 per cent of people for Brett and 30 per cent against him.“People are more than welcome to come up to him if they have something to say, or if they want to know something.

“The people who know him I know will stand by him.

“The other aspect, you are going to have people who have been waiting for this and they are going to have a go.”

Ged McDermott expects there will be those who believe his son has always been on drugs and those who will let it tarnish a 15-year professional career with Barrow, Workington and Whitehaven.

But he added: “I value him as a son and I would give my life for him as a person, but at the same time, it is a silly and naive mistake.

“People will say what they say, but I know him and he never lies to me – ever – and he couldn’t look at me for about a week.

“It sounds like a silly error and it is an error, but he knows what he has done wrong.

“It is how people come to think about it. People will have their own thoughts – oh yeah, well he’s always been on it, things like that.“People from our business, they know Brett and they know what kind of person he is.“He has made a mistake – a tragic one – and I don’t think people will hold it against him.

“There is no hiding from it – it is just gut-wrenching.

“It is better that it is out in the open. He will have to face the consequences of what comes along.”

Barrow Raiders issued a statement on the matter today.

It said: “On March 25, Barrow Raiders were informed by the RFL operations manager that Brett McDermott had failed a drug test and tested positive to two anabolic agents following a recent test carried out by the UK anti-doping agency.

“He has admitted using performance enhancing substances and was provisionally suspended by the relevant authorities.

“He has since announced his retirement from the game as a player.

“Barrow Rugby League would like to express that they are shocked, hugely disappointed and are all deeply saddened at Brett’s actions, after being such an integral part of our club for many years, as a role model for the young players. This news is totally unwelcome.

“We would like to take this opportunity to state that all our players are informed at the beginning of each season of which supplements can or cannot be used and as a club we pride ourselves on enforcing these guidelines.

“We are governed by the RFL and reaffirm our commitment to working with the RFL and the UK anti-doping and in no way condone what Brett has done and the implications of his actions.

“Brett, through his own naivety, is well aware that he has let himself, his family and a lot of people down, but most importantly from our point-of-view, he has let this club down.

“There is no room in sport for the misuse of drugs and there is certainly no place for it at Craven Park.

“There will be no further statement from Barrow Rugby League.”

Have your say

I agree with every word Trevor - rugby was a way of life for Brett, i sincerely wish him and his family best wishes and in my eyes you will always be remembered for your playing skills and been a genuinly nice guy - chin up kidda x

Posted by jan d on 17 April 2011 at 00:25

Where has Barrow raiders support for Bret been during this, non existent, someone at the club should be offering Bret some form of support to help him through this most difficult of times for him and his family. A servant of Barrow rugby for many a year, you can't just slam the door in someone's face and say that's that. Barrow Raiders, put an arm round this lad because believe me , he needs it now.All to often players feel isolated after being in the spotlight, take Terry Newton for example, I bet that his former clubs had handled that situation differently.

Posted by Trevor Dickinson on 10 April 2011 at 21:14

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