THE AFL world is in meltdown after players at giant club Essendon this week received a one-year suspension for their role in a mysterious supplements program in 2012.
The investigation and debate has been going on for the best part of three years, ever since "the darkest day in Australian sport" was declared by the Gillard Government in 2013.
That claim was ridiculously over the top, as all that has been revealed since have been sinister programs at Essendon and the NRL's Cronulla Sharks run by the same shady character, Stephen Dank.
While Cronulla's players accepted their guilt and served suspensions that saw them miss only a few games, many of Essendon's players, and some that have moved on to other clubs since 2012, will not be out of action for the 2016 season.
It is a huge but unsurprising blow to the players and the club, who, seemingly led by former coach James Hird, carried on a pig-headed but ultimately futile fight to escape punishment.
The game and club have been dragged through the mud because not only did Essendon run a program that was next to cheating, it failed to keep proper records. Players now have little idea what substances they were injected with. Law suits will follow.
With so many players suspended, Essendon will struggle to win a game in 2016, and it deserves no better.