Drugs in elite sport have plagued our media in the last few years. Whether performance enhancing drugs or illicit drugs, rarely a week goes by without a scandal headlining the news. The Cronulla Sharks and Essendon Bombers have headlined the performance enhancing drug scandals in Australia, along with Lance Armstrong and other individuals being exposed throughout the world.
Most recently we have seen Karmichael Hunt and five Gold Coast Titans players caught with illicit drugs. This week Ben Cousins was arrested for a third time due to the struggle he has had with illicit drugs both during and following his career.
At local level it is even likely that we know teammates who take drugs recreationally. Unfortunately, this is the way society has become.
Over the last couple of months there has been a growing worry of local football participants throughout Australia playing while under the influence of the illicit drug Ice (also known as methamphetamine). This morning on Triple M’s “Hot Breakfast in Melbourne” the discussion about drugs escalated in a shocking way. A caller under the name of “John” told of his experience of being on Ice during a practice game this weekend and how common it is in the community.
Listen to the call here. It is worth listening to the full call and the talk back afterwards.
Jake King, a recently retired AFL footballer talked with Eddie, Luke, and Mick on the subject. His incite is also extremely worrying and important to hear.
Both of these audio clips show just how close drugs are to us at a local level and how they are becoming more and more common and widespread. It is interesting that Jake touched on Sudafed and Red Bull, which are both easily and readily available.
As Christians what should our response be?
Do we pull ourselves out of the culture?
Do we stand back and let it happen?
Do we take a stand and tell our teammates how stupid their actions are?
Personally, I don't think any of these options are what Jesus calls us to do. We are called numerous times in the Bible to love people. What does that look like in this situation?
Firstly, it looks like having a strong stance on not taking drugs yourself. Taking them is cheating, not good for you, and not honouring to God.
Secondly, it looks like not excluding yourself from the culture. Love your teammates and opponents who are participating in the taking of drugs. Remember that Jesus loves and cares about them. Help them to make wise decisions, affirm them as a person, take care of their needs, and model for them a life in submission to Jesus.
This drug pandemic may not affect you personally right now, and it may not affect your club or social group this season, but the chances of drugs infiltrating your world in the future are high. It is worrying and it is scary, but Jesus is in control of this sin-filled world, and it is important to look to him for help.
By Zac Metcalfe