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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

It was only a few weeks ago that Geelong's Matthew Stokes was reinstated to the senior list after a club imposed suspension for his drugs violation. Now Fremantle's Michael Johnson finds himself in a similar predicament. Caught in a police raid and charged with possession of cocaine, he will face court in July. As a result, he has been suspended by the club for five games and fined $5000. He will not even be allowed to play at WAFL level for the next month. He has also been dropped from the players' leadership group, will be required to attend drug counseling programs and will be tested regularly under the League's drug policy.

In a media statement, club CEO Steve Rosich said that the club imposed sanctions would remain in place regardless of the outcome of the July court hearing. He further stated that the club would support Johnson but also made it clear that such behavior was unacceptable. Although he believes the programs the club has in place are satisfactory, Rosich indicated they would be reassessed.

Johnson, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, has expressed regret at his actions and gratitude for the support he has received. He is determined to put the matter behind him and return as he said ".....a better person, a better player and a better father...". During the police and club investigations, Johnson cooperated fully and the club believes, based on Johnson's statements, that what happened was a one-time incident.

Source: Luke Morfesse, Club Media Release and abc.net.au

Article last changed on Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 8:33 PM EDT


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