“I took drugs during my 10 year League Career” – said Johns in an astounding live interview on the Channel 9 Footy Show tonight.
Interviewed by Channel 9 commentator Phil Gould, Andrew Johns spoke directly and at times nervously about his problem with recreational drugs and how it has been evident during his stellar 10 year career at the Newcastle Knights.
A clearly shocked Phil Gould continued his questioning as Andrew Johns revealed the seriousness of his habit. Johns agreeing that family, friends and his NRL club had an idea of what was happening behind the scenes.
An eerie silence hovered over the interview as the Footy Show crowd and Phil Gould struggled to comprehend the frank admissions by Andrew Johns.
Johns admitted to occasional mid-season recreational drug taking and at times feeling he may turn positive samples in. Citing a need to escape the pressure and constant demands on his life, Johns had used drugs and alcohol as his relief – at times to also combat bouts of depression and severe mood swings.
Tonights admission from Johns gives an insight to how tough things may have been at times for Newcastle with players and officials obviously feeling the wrath of Johns’ mood swings and possibly having some knowledge of Andrew’s personal problems.
Brother Matt Johns spoke briefly after the interview, and an emotional Matt Johns spoke of how he has known of Andrew’s problems and recklessness for some time. Holding back tears Matt Johns said how he first feared Andrew was dead when he received a late night call from the UK – former NRL star Brian Carney phoning Matt to explain the breaking headline about his brother and the drug possession.
The Johns family has obviously had plenty to deal with in private and maybe the public admission by Andrew may help them all beat the problems at hand.
While not escaping the blame, Andrew Johns was frank and apologetic throughout – explaining he is struggling with how to explain things to his young 7 year old son Samuel. Regardless of the crime, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Johns. While some many throw the book at him, its yet another example of how we are all flawed – his role as a high profile and extremely successful sportsman simply highlighting the example.
While Johns spoke of possibly helping juniors and other communities, warning of the dangers of drugs and his experiences – the only realistic long term option for Andrew Johns and his young family is to relocate to a place where they can escape the constant public scrutiny.
As NRL News mentioned earlier today, a move to somewhere such as the United States would allow Johns and his family to live out their lives in peace and deal with their issues away from the prying eyes of the media and fanatical fans.