So now we know why Patrick Tuipulotu came home early from last year’s All Black tour to the northern hemisphere. And now we know why he has not been in pre-season training with the Blues.
Until Fairfax broke this story today all the New Zealand public had been told is that the player was taking a break from the game to deal with “an Ongoing Personal Matter”. That indicated that he was battling some demons, and the general public respected the requests for privacy.
Failing a drugs test does not remotely fit into that category; the public had been misled.
Like so many stories, it is the handling of the issue that can create more damage and doubt than the original story.
If Tuipulotu has tested positive for a PED, was New Zealand Rugby’s primary concern the reputation of its self-administered testing programme? Noting that this emerged in November of last year.
And did they seriously think the story would never see the light of day?
After the various instances of NZR’s fumbling of the ball when it came to the integrity of the overall culture, you really would have thought they might have learnt, and realised that a spot of transparency was the best approach.
This is not as issue of whether he is guilty or not, and how the result came about. The international WADA process will determine that.
This is about how the powers that be thought it was an acceptable course of action to deceive the public; something you would be more likely to expect from an eastern European Athletics federation. We can be so quick to condemn others.
The real loser in this is the next player who needs time away from the game to deal with a genuine Ongoing Personal Matter. The New Zealand public will not be as accepting when that happens.