This week has unfortunately seen the announcement that Hull KR’s centre Thomas Minns has failed a drugs test with the club and player both at pains to explain that it wasn’t down to a performance enhancing drug.
Minns himself admitted to taking the drug on Mothers’ Day as he struggled with his mother’s death, saying that “I was low and depressed on the day and I felt at the time I needed to do it to get through.” He failed the test following the club’s victory at Huddersfield Giants the following week and has acknowledged that this situation could lead to him losing his career.
It is, indeed, an unacceptable breaking of the rules set out by the UK anti-doping authorities but the RFL, who have already made public their intention to support Minns in any way they can, may well look at how the Football Association handled the failed drugs test of England and West Bromwich Albion midfielder Jake Livermore.
The England international tested positively for cocaine in May 2015 and the fact that it came shortly after the death of his newborn son, something which the FA accepted as a reason and decided not to ban Livermore, citing “the unique nature of circumstances” as a justification. It may well be that the RFL demonstrate a similar understanding of the situation surrounding Minns’ failed drugs test. The footballer explained that he was “a young human being who got lost in circumstances and didn’t know how to react,” and, being 25 years old at the time, was of a similar age to that of Minns (23).
The Hull KR centre, who has been a regular for them in their 2018 campaign thus far, has been given a period of leave by the Humberside club. Minns explained in a statement that “I can now only ask for forgiveness and for my arguments of mitigation to be heard and understood. I do not wish for sympathy. All I ask is that I am listened to and I can make everyone aware that I did not take this substance to enhance my performance at rugby in anyway.”