The Sharks confirmed at least five current players have until Friday to decide whether to accept ASADA suspensions for the use of banned substances while another six who have moved onto other clubs are also under the pump to accept suspensions ranging from six months to two years.
ASADA’s 18-month investigation culminated in Wednesday’s action where a number of players were offered one-year suspensions, back-dated to November 2013, if they admit to taking prohibited peptides CJC-1295 and GHRP-6, according to The Daily Telegraph.
In another report from the Daily Mail, players in question include Sharks captain Paul Gallen, Kade Snowden, Luke Douglas, Matthew Wright, Jayson Bukuya, Anthony Tupou, Albert Kelly, Jeremy Smith, Wade Graham and Nathan Gardner.
The club conceded that players have been “offered a proposal regarding a possible suspension” and have just days to act.
“The Sharks will continue to act in the best interests of the players and are providing on-going support, both to those issued with the notices as well as others in the club, while solicitors acting for the players will continue to manage the process on their behalf,” the club statement read.
Gallen, who maintains his innocence, said Wednesday players are in two minds whether they want to be labelled drug cheats.
“There are two ways to look at it,” he told Sky Sports Radio.
“At one stage we’re (thinking) ‘thank God, this is going to be over hopefully, whatever happens is going to happen and we can just get on with life’.
“Because closure on this thing would just be unbelievable (after) what we’ve gone through the past two seasons.
“But then you say ‘let’s stuff this, we’ve done nothing wrong’. It’s a real hard situation to be in.”
Players can begin serving their suspensions in the NRL off-season, ideal for those facing just six-month bans, but also may choose to challenge the show-cause notices in either the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or the Federal Court.
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