Essendon has been subconsciously affected by its supplements scandal and the club has gone soft on its playing group because of guilt relating to the incident, according to incoming president Paul Brasher.
Brasher will take over the role from Lindsay Tanner and promised to take a more aggressive approach against the club’s critics in an 18-minute address on the club’s website.
During the speech, Brasher admitted the club felt like an “outcast” within the AFL community after 34 players were banned for using banned substance Thymosin Beta-4 and the residual impact that has had on the team today.
“I’ve heard a few people say the club has become too passive on the field and off the field in recent years. I hate to hear that and yet it’s something we really do need to reflect upon,” he said.
“I think there are some things, some of them subconsciously, that have continued to influence us as a result of the supplements saga.
“First of all, as we all know, the players suffered enormously through absolutely no fault of their own. Is it possible that in the years that followed when they came back that we perhaps felt guilty about what happened to them and, as a result, went a little bit soft in pushing them to the best possible performance? Don’t know.”
Brasher said the club had suffered from a lack of confidence externally and internally after the scandal.
“At the same time, rightly or wrongly, we were seen as a bit of an outcast in the AFL community,” he said.
“Is it possible that caused us to feel as if we didn’t have the right to have a loud voice within the community and that therefore we were perhaps a bit passive in what we said externally?
“I don’t know the answer to either of those two questions, but the one thing I will guarantee you is that if either one of those was correct, we will not allow it to be correct going forward.”
Brasher served on the Essendon board for eight years before being elected as the next club president back in July this year.