On the 29th of August this year, Sandor Earl’s four-year suspension will end. He will be once again be allowed to play in the NRL if a team will take him.
Earl, now 27-years-old, has recently said that he still wishes to return to the league and believes he is physically able to. Running his own F45 franchise and training four to five times a week, his fitness certainly doesn’t seem to be an issue.
If you believe the rumours, both the Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra Dragons, have expressed interest signing the former Roosters, Panthers and Raiders player. Although the NRL will still have to register his contract.
If all goes to plan, Earl could be donning the Red V for instance come Round 26. Although it’s probably more likely Earl would prefer a full pre-season under his belt before kick-starting his NRL return.
No doubt some people won’t want Earl back in the game. After all, he’s a drug cheat. His ban was for using and trafficking performance-enhancing drugs. The trafficking is especially important because it carries a four-year minimum ban.
Without this charge, he probably would have only seen himself given a one-year ban like other players did which included Paul Gallen and Wade Graham. Their bans were backdated, and in reality, received only a few weeks on the sidelines.
The trafficking ban was flimsy at best. Earl picked up the vile of CJC-1295 (the prohibited substance) from Stephen Dank’s office in Mascot and drove it 33 kilometres to Dr Khans clinic in Cabramatta. The drugs were for his use only and no money was involved. In fact, during the whole incident which spanned weeks, no money was ever required by Earl.
So here’s the question. Should Earl be allowed back and should the NRL register his contract?
Back in 2011, Earl was a 21-year-old and at the beginning of the season had 9 NRL games under his belt. A rookie trying to become a regular. He met Stephen Dank on site at Penrith. Dank had worked with at least 5 other NRL clubs, including most notably Manly and Cronulla. Not to mention the AFL clubs he’d also worked with.
Earl was never charged for the treatment. The injections were in a legitimate clinic. And most of all, he was told face to face by Dank, someone employed by his club, that the peptides had been used by other players, and that it was completely legal.
He was a 21-year-old kid coming off a double shoulder reconstruction. Plus, when it came out, Sandor didn’t try to hide anything. He didn’t dodge questions. He admitted what he did, owned up and fully cooperated with ASADA in their investigation. What did he get for it? A four-year ban, when other players who did remain quiet only missing three games.
It is time for his exile to come to an end. He deserves a second chance.
Sandor Earl SHOULD be allowed back into the NRL.