The Australian Anti-Doping Agency (AASA) filed a formal complaint “to the responsible authority” in connection with a television commercial featuring former Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson promoting a local organization Online betting.
During the message, Johnson, with humor, alludes to his sanction for doping, stating that the new Sportsbet application “inserts the” roid “into Android.
n a statement, AASA condemned Johnson’s use as well as the message. She argues that this “advertising deals lightly with the use of doping products in sports and sends the wrong message that the use of drugs in sports is normal”.
According to the agency, the advertising campaign also has the effect of diminishing the achievements of clean athletes and denigrating people who work all over the world to ensure that the sport is clean.
Australian politicians also reacted, including Greg Hunt, Minister of Health and Sport, who described advertising as “totally inappropriate”.
Sportsbet executives rejected the criticism and said they had no intention of withdrawing their commercials.
“We have received many positive comments from the public who see this message for what it really is, a joke tinged with irony,” said a spokesman for Sportsbet.