Panthers star Brent Naden could serve a suspension of only a few months, despite testing positive to cocaine after the NRL Grand Final.
While Naden has been provisionally suspended under the NRL’s Anti-Doping policy, he could benefit from a new WADA ruling, according to Nine’s NRL reporter Danny Weidler.
Cocaine is prohibited In-Competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy, but incredibly, if Naden can prove he used the drug in a recreational manner, rather than to enhance his performance, he could get away with serving a suspension of up to only three months.
“One of the more interesting parts of it is, previously we’ve seen people with cocaine in their system on gameday get years,” Weidler told 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio.
“In this instance, WADA has changed the way they view this. From early next year, the way I understand it, if you have cocaine in your system and you test positive, but you can say it was for recreational use, not for performance-enhancing use, then you can get a one-to-three month ban.
“If you go to rehab, it’s more likely to be one month more than three. I could be wrong on that, but that’s how it has been explained to me.”
After admitting to the Panthers that he had used the recreational drug, Naden commenced and recently completed a voluntary rehabilitation program at a private health facility.
According to Weidler, another “layer” to the story for the NRL is trying to figure out how Naden came into contact with the substance.
“If he has breached the bubble, the NRL are going to then have another investigation, which I’m sure they’ve already launched, to determine exactly how that all transpired,” he said.
“None of it is good for Brent Naden unfortunately, and none of it is good for the Penrith club.
“The entire club is going to have to have a look at itself after this because whether they like it or not, it happened on their watch.
“The club has to examine what is going on in their backyard.”