Fremantle Dockers deny drug problems - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fremantle Dockers deny drug problems

By Justin Chadwick & Roger Vaughan 19/05/2010 07:52:41 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich is adamant the club doesn't have a wide-spread drug problem after suspending Michael Johnson for five AFL games.

Johnson, who has been charged by Western Australia police with possession of cocaine, fronted the media briefly on Wednesday where he apologised for his actions and vowed to become a better person, player and father.

Along with being suspended, Johnson was dropped from the club's leadership group and fined $5000.

The 25-year-old father of two must also undergo drug counselling, will be voluntarily target tested under the AFL's illicit drugs policy and has been suspended from training with the club until May 31.

Johnson was allegedly caught with cocaine in the early hours of Sunday morning after attending the engagement party of teammate Steven Dodd.

Rosich said there were no other Fremantle players present when Johnson was caught by police and was certain Johnson's brush with drugs was a one-off event.

"We are certainly disappointed by the actions that Michael has taken on this one-off instance on Saturday night under the influence of alcohol," Rosich said.

"Based on what Michael has told us we believe this is a one-off event.

"Michael's a valuable member of our playing squad, has been a valuable member of our leadership group and a very good individual."

Johnson, who will appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on July 5, will be available for WAFL selection on June 21 but can't return to the Dockers' line-up until the club's round 14 home clash with Port Adelaide on July 3.

"It has been a tough couple of days for me and my family," Johnson said.

"I would like to thank everyone out there who has sent their love and support, I really appreciate it.

"I know it's going to be a tough couple of weeks for me but hopefully I can come back to the footy club and become a better person, a better player and a better father to my kids."

Rosich believed Johnson would receive a strike under the AFL's illicit drugs policy.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou maintained his support for the three-strikes program.

"It supports our reasoning as to why you don't name and shame (after one or two strikes), because you've seen the circus that goes around about a player who has been caught, as Michael Johnson has," Demetriou said.

"Our policy is unashamedly not about punishment, it's about a player welfare model which is all about the health and welfare of our players, it's about shifting attitudes so they don't repeat."

While Johnson has been barred from training, he has been visited by several teammates already and will still have access to the club's medical facilities.

He has also agreed to take part in an indigenous or drug and alcohol community program.

Johnson's penalty is similar to the one handed down by Geelong to premiership forward Mathew Stokes, who was suspended until round eight after being caught by police in February with a gram of cocaine.

The controversy surrounding Johnson has capped off a horror few days for the Dockers, who lost to Collingwood on Friday night and had three key players injured during the match.

Luke McPharlin (knee) has been ruled out for eight to 10 weeks, defender Greg Broughton (foot) is out for four to six weeks and midfielder David Mundy (knee) is in massive doubt for Saturday's clash with Sydney at the SCG.

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