SOUTH Australian tennis young gun Brad Mousley has been banned for a year for taking an ecstasy tablet at an 18th birthday party.
Brad Mousley has been banned for a year for taking an ecstasy tablet at an 18th birthday party - following an ASADA test.. Source: News Limited
The 18-year-old is the first athlete in Australian sports history to be suspended for using the party drug and the first Australian tennis player to receive a drug sanction.
He is considering an appeal.
An independent Tennis Australia (TA) tribunal hearing handed down the ban this week.
The ban will be backdated to May 30 this year, when Mousley accepted a provisional suspension, meaning he will be eligible to compete again on May 30, 2015.
Lawyers for the teenager, Australia's top ranked junior male, had argued for a three-month ban and told the hearing the player had not taken the drug with the intention of enhancing his performance.
They told the hearing Mousley attended an 18th birthday party with fellow junior tennis players Jason Scott and Li Tu on Friday, March 28.
Mousley admitted to purchasing one ecstasy tablet at the party because he "wanted to be active and dance to the music" and because he was feeling down.
Tu and Scott both declined offers to take the drug.
Mousley was subsequently tested by an ASADA official after his opening round match of qualifying for a Futures event at Melbourne Park on the Sunday morning of March 30 — about 36 hours after he had taken the tablet.
It is rare, if not unprecedented for ASADA to randomly test at qualifying of such a minor event.
Mousley tested positive for the banned stimulant methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as ecstasy, and was provisionally banned in May.
He had faced a ban of up to two years but the TA tribunal accepted the player's submission he had not taken the drug to gain a performance benefit and decided to reduce his sanction.
Had Mousley tested positive for the drug on a day he was not scheduled to play, he would not have faced a suspension because ecstasy is only banned in competition under the World Anti Doping Authority drug code.
Mousley's father and coach Craig, who is Tennis Australia accredited, said his son accepted he did the wrong thing.
"It was irresponsible and I absolutely don't condone it, and Brad realises that it was a stupid and dangerous decision,'' Mr Mousley said.
He said his son felt some relief at escaping a two-year ban, which he believed would have been career ending.
But Mr Mousley believed a one-year sanction was still harsh and the family was considering whether it would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"We're somewhat relieved because two years would have been devastating,'' Mr Mousley said.
"But we still feel the penalty is severe.
"Having said that it was a fair hearing ...
"Brad is in training at the moment and he wants to come back from this but a one-year ban is very significant at this stage of his development.
"It will take a pretty special person to be able to come back."
Mr Mousley said lawyers for Tennis Australia argued aggressively that his son should be banned for two years.
"They were unremitting in the way they argued. I found that surprising."
He said Brad felt a "small victory" in escaping a two-year ban, given how aggressively TA had argued.
TELL US BELOW: Is this an appropriate response by Tennis Australia?Originally published as Young SA tennis star banned for drug use