Thursday, August 22, 2013

Statement of Charges against Essendon supporters


To: Essendon Football Club supporters

1. You are charged with the following offence against Australian rules football:

Contrary to logic and common sense, in the period from about February 2013 to now, you engaged in conduct unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the Australian Football League or to bring the game of football into disrepute.

2. A statement of the grounds for the laying of the charge is attached.

3. There will be no hearing. Penalties have already been determined, and will be applied without delay.


1. The conduct described below constituted conduct unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the AFL or to bring the game of football into disrepute on the part of Essendon Football Club ("the Club") because, having determined to support a club which evidence suggests has implemented a scientifically pioneering program relating to the administration of supplements to its players, it engaged in the following logical fallacies:

(a) Argument from ignorance: "You can't convict the players because we will never know if they really took the drugs." 
(b) Argument from incredulity: "I can't believe James would do this. It's just not possible." 
(c) Argument from repetition: "Aren't we all sick of this? Let's just let James get on with it." 
(d) Argument from silence: "The players will never admit to taking drugs, so you can't suspend them for taking drugs." 
(e) Begging the question: "The players have done nothing wrong, so they deserve no penalties." 
(f) Burden of proof shifting: "Demetriou has to answer for tipping off Evans in the first place."
(g) Circular reasoning: "James is a great man and top bloke, so he wouldn't do such a thing."
(h) Circular cause and consequence: "James won so many Anzac, Brownlow and Crichton medals that he couldn't have done such things."
(i) Continuum fallacy: "You can't say there was a pharmacologically experimental environment at Essendon unless you can quantify how many injections there were."
(j) Suppressed correlative: "AOD-9604 doesn't even enhance performance, none of these drugs do really. We don't know enough about them yet."
(k) Equivocation: "What's wrong with players taking drugs anyway? Headache drugs are fine. They take tablets all the time, not to mention cortisone and other injections."
(l) Ecological fallacy: "Jobe shouldn't have his Brownlow taken away, he was always big and strong so it wouldn't have affected him anyway even if it was performance enhancing."
(m) Etymological fallacy: "What does it mean anyway, performance enhancing drug? Sportspeople take drugs to enhance performance all the time. That's what food is. Sugar is a PED."
(n) Fallacy of composition: "Dr Bruce Reid is the most respected and moral doctor in the business. He wouldn't have let anything that bad happen."
(o) Fallacy of division: "Essendon is a strong club with strong people working for it, they wouldn't have let a bad egg in to screw things up."
(p) False dilemma: "Look, either Hird is innocent, or there has been a massive conspiracy by certain external elements of which he is only a mostly unknowing victim."
(q) If-by-whiskey: "Okay, if it comes out that James has signed a contract with the devil himself and sacrifices babies in the dungeons at Windy Hill, then of course I'll change my mind. Until then, he has done no wrong in my eyes and deserves my full support as an upstanding member of the football community."
(r) Fallacy of many questions: "Sure, Demetriou can put out this list of charges against James, but when is he going to stop putting the Bowie knife into him by leaking to Caro? When is Andy D going to stop the personal campaign against James? When will the AFL get off his back?"
(s) Ludic fallacy: "That story of the Mexican drugs is just too ludicrous. What are the odds of that happening?"
(t) Fallacy of the single cause: "The simplest explanation of this whole thing is that it's a witch hunt by Demetriou for a perfectly legitimate supplements regime. There are just too many elements in that charge sheet."
(u) False attribution: "Look at Andrew Garnham's testimony, he was an AFL employee! Well, he was working for Essendon at the time he was supposed to have got this info from ASADA, I know..."
(v) Fallacy of quoting out of context: "Dr Reid said, and I quote, 'I am sure Steve Danks believes that what we are doing is totally ethical and legal.' Come on, that's Bruce Reid talking!"
(w) False authority: "Gerard Whateley changed his mind the other day on AFL360, and that's good enough for me."
(x) Argument to moderation: "Demetriou should come at least half way between his sanctions and what Hird is prepared to accept. That's true compromise."
(y) Gambler's fallacy: "Every day it's another bad news story about Essendon. One of these days it has to turn around, so keep fighting."
(z) Hedging: "Dank was giving them Thymosin, and yes its injection schedule was consistent with the banned beta 4 type of Thymosin, but I think he actually was referring to the non-banned kind, and you can't prove otherwise."
(aa) Historian's fallacy: "James would not have gotten Essendon into this, knowing that this was the situation he would be putting himself and the club into, if he really did do all those things."

(bb) Homunculus fallacy: "There was an evil little man inside James' head telling him to do all those things, it wasn't really him in his right mind." 
(cc) Inflation Of Conflict: "Gerard and Robbo disagree with Caro and Patrick, who knows what to believe."
(dd) Incomplete comparison: "James is just a better coach with more morals and sounder judgement."
(ee) Inconsistent comparison: "James played in more finals than Bobby Skilton, won more grand finals than Kevin Murray and coached more finals than Andrew Demetriou. How can you not think he's worth fighting for?"
(ff) Ignoratio elenchi: "James was a great player and is a great coach, he deserves our moral support."
(gg) Kettle logic: "James is not the sort of person who would get mixed up with convicted criminals. And Shane Charters didn't supply him with PEDs in his playing days, anyway."
(hh) Mind projection fallacy: "Everyone's taking drugs anyway, what Essendon has done is no different to what Collingwood or Hawthorn are doing."
(ii) Moral high ground fallacy: "James will fight for the Club and its supporters until his dying breath, in the name of honesty and all that is good about the Club, against the unprincipled horde of haters."
(jj) Moralistic fallacy: "Drug taking is horribly dangerous and threatens the health of the players, so it is not in James' nature to do such a thing.
(kk) Moving the goalposts: "A more important issue is the AFL bringing the game into disrepute with its attack on the character of the game in the media."
(ll) Naturalistic fallacy: "Footballers and coaches have always sought an edge, it's part of the game, they shouldn't be punished hard if they stray over the edge a little bit."
(mm) Nirvana fallacy: "At this point we are going to lose people from the game no matter what happens, shouldn't we be figuring out how to win them back instead of bringing down the harshest of sanctions?"
(nn) Onus probandi: "Demetriou has to prove that he is fit to stand in judgement over a champion like James before anything else happens."
(oo) Post hoc ergo propter hoc: "I can't help but think that we didn't have much of a drug problem before Demetriou was made CEO."
(pp) Proof by verbosity: Gerard Whateley.
(qq) Prosecutor's fallacy: "You could go into any other big club and find a similar lack of governance, that doesn't mean James is guilty of all these things."
(rr) Psychologist's fallacy: "I watch the players all the time and I didn't see anything particularly different about the Bombers in 2011, they hadn't bulked up noticeably from what I saw."
(ss) Red herring: "What's this I see with Caro making these references to Essendon people being linked to the Liberal Party, is this a witch hunt or what?"
(tt) Regression fallacy: "The Bombers sucked in the second half of 2012, clearly the drugs didn't work anyway."
(uu) Reification: "The footy gods are on James' side on this one, he will pull through."
(vv) Retrospective determinism: "This was always going to bring the playing group together so we can win flags once again."
(ww) Shotgun argumentation: see above.
(xx) Special pleading: "James Hird is an ornament to the game and will become a Legend, he should be paid the respect that goes with his record."
(yy) Wrong direction: "James is right to be angry at Demetriou because the League has hounded him for months."
(zz) Personal Attacks: "Who cares about what the Fat Greek says anyway."


1. You are herewith sentenced to support the Essendon Football Club for the rest of your life.

2. You are concurrently sentenced to watch your club fall from its lofty height of constant premiership contender to the disgrace of deserved mediocrity, as happened to the Carlton Football Club a decade ago, through a series of savage sanctions that could have been largely avoided if the Club hadn't been so bloody minded about defending individuals.

3. Due to these Club sanctions, you are also sentenced to watch successive boards try and fail to subvert them to restore former glories, hiring has-been senior coaches and trading away draft picks for mercenaries and journeymen to top up an over-rated list.

4. You are additionally sentenced to witnessing years of endless speculation over the return of former stars to save the Club, destabilising the current hierarchy and undermining faith in incumbent personnel, not the least speculation about James Hird himself (that's if he hasn't been rubbed out for life).

5. There is no number five. Not any more.


  1. Wonderful m0nty... a tour de force, topped off by this, the piece-de-resistance

    "5. There is no number five. Not any more."

  2. Most succinctly written article ever. Didn't miss anything.

    I also love penalty 5

  3. Oh how it must sting... Essendon players found Not Guilty!