Suspended Magpie forward Jack Ginnivan had “fallen short of the standards” expected of players, according to Collingwood captain Darcy Moore, after being banned for taking an illicit substance.
But the new skipper was adamant there was no wider issue of drug use at the club.
Ginnivan, 20, will miss the opening two matches of the AFL season and was fined $5000 after admitting to using an illicit substance in a toilet cubicle at the Torquay Hotel during a team camp in January.
“It’s pretty disappointing for everyone, and in this instance Jack has fallen short of the standards we expect for ourselves,” Moore said.
“But we’re eager to support him going forward to make some better decisions.
“We’ve got to make sure from now we support him and safeguard his welfare.”
Moore was adamant there was “no issue” with drugs at the club, but people could make mistakes, as Ginnivan had done.
“We have over 90 male and female athletes at this club, the large majority of whom take their jobs really seriously and make great decisions,” he said.
“But having said that, we don’t operate in a vacuum. We’re human beings and people make errors of judgment and that’s something that Jack’s done in this instance.
“We get a lot of education and the community knows that, so it’s disappointing.”
Moore said it would “take some time” for Ginnivan to move on from the incident and earn some trust back from the team.
With the AFL’s illicit drugs policy being reviewed, Moore said he was keen to see the results and whether it was working.
“I think it clearly plays an important role in minimising harm around the league, in terms of flagging players who are at risk of making mistakes around drug use,” Moore said of the policy.
“It provides invaluable unidentified data around the prevalence of drug use to the league and to the medical experts in order to keep tabs on how big of an issue this is. I think the challenging part of it is when things become public because around a welfare and a harm minimisation model, not everything is going to be public and when it does it can create a little bit of grey area.
“Players obviously don’t operate in a vacuum and are human beings and make mistakes.
“We know with the consumption of alcohol, that impairs judgment, so you’d be crazy to think there’s no players around the league who use drugs from time to time. It certainly exists. In terms of how widespread it is, I’m really not in a position to say considering I don’t have all the data.”
Moore said Ginnivan had “owned” his mistake and it was up to the players to support him.