In his last media conference as Essendon coach, Mark Thompson blasted the stress his players have been under because of the supplements scandal.
Essendon coach Mark Thompson has blasted everyone involved in the AFL club’s drawn-out supplements scandal.
Emotionally asking “where’s the decency?”, Thompson says it is unfair that the players involved in the supplements program still do not know their fate.
Thompson’s tumultuous season as an interim senior coach ended on Saturday night when Essendon lost their elimination final to North Melbourne by two goals.
He will now make way for James Hird, who has served a 12-month AFL suspension because of the 2012 supplements program.
The AFL also fined Thompson $30,000, which he is yet to pay.
ASADA have served show-cause notices on 34 current and former Essendon players after investigating the supplements issue.
Essendon have taken ASADA to the Federal Court over the notices and are awaiting a verdict on their legality.
“No-one really understands how difficult it has been and how much pressure we have put these players under,” he said in his last post-game media conference as Bombers coach.
“l really feel sorry for them.
“Everbody has been saying the players are the No.1 priority.
“Well, right now, the players have 34 show-cause letters under their nose – two years later.
“Everybody admits and knows they’ve done not much wrong.
“Where’s the decency? That’s what I think, I feel for the players.”
Thompson was then asked if his frustration was directed at anyone in particular.
“It’s at us, it’s at us – we’re responsible for it – no-one in particular,” he said.
“It’s just all of us.
“We just have to try to free the players.
“They want to know … they deserve it, to know either way, whatever happens.”
Ruckman Paddy Ryder might have played his last game for the club, with speculation he wants a trade to Brisbane.
Media reports have said that he in particular has struggled with the stress of the supplements issue.
News this week of Ryder’s potential move was a major distraction ahead of Saturday night’s final.
“I hope he stays, he’s much-loved,” Thompson said.
“It would be a shame for him to leave.
“We’ve been a club that’s really looked after its people.
“For us to lose someone like Paddy is a poor reflection I think on our club.
“For that reason alone I hope he doesn’t go.”
Thompson added Hird and Ryder were close and the change of coach was not a reason that the ruckman might leave.