Matt Stevens: What's the Right Punishment?

Sean KellyAnalyst IJanuary 21, 2009

The word of mouth this week seems to be the shock of Matt Stevens admittance to failing a drug test.

The Bath front-rower has claimed to now have a drug problem and will start counselling sessions to overcome his addiction.

Stevens gave a moving interview on SkySports which saw him nearly reduced to tears, as he confessed his woes of letting colleagues and friends alike who have put time into his rise to an England star, as well as letting teammates down.

"Like any drug problem you don't know it's happening and then it mounts up and before you know it you have a problem and an illness.

"I owe it to everyone to admit that. I want to say I'm truly, truly very sorry. I want to change my life and hopefully one day get the faith back that people had in me." Said Stevens.

The Bath props captain Michael Lipman has jumped to the defence of Stevens saying "I do not feel let down by Matt, he is a very good friend, and wish him the best and will help him through this."

Another fellow Bath player in Justin Harrison has also jumped to the defence of his colleague, by saying he will "do anything to help Matt in his time of need, and will do so with passion."

I would also like to jump on that band wagon and defend Matt Stevens.

A young guy has clearly fell into some trouble in his rise to fame, the drugs he has taken are recreational (I know that doesn't excuse him) not sport enhancing, meaning he isn't cheating. Just fallen into trouble.

He is clearly a brave man, as in a very dark time for Matt he has managed to summon a great amount of courage, by giving such an interview in the state he is in.

Rather than being condemned, he should be encouraged to come back as good as he was before.

Bob Calleja Bath chief executive has said:

"I was absolutely shocked. It is devastating news—something we could have done without, we all feel let down."

"This week should have been all about the anticipation of a classic winner-takes-all match at the Rec. Instead, the headlines have been dominated by Matt Stevens."

I think this is out of order, and Calleja has been quite harsh, and would ideally imagine that he should apologise.

The punishment stands to be a two year ban, which I still feel is quite harsh.

That ban includes sport enhancing drugs, which in my opinion are in a different league when it comes to severity.

I just hope Matt gets the support he needs, and can soon get through this tough time.