Ex-Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has vowed to clear his name, following his 8-year ban for anti-doping violations.
The 33-year-old had his career effectively ended earlier this month, when he was given the suspension after testing positive for the banned substance Zeranol in January 2019.
It was the third time in 10 years that the 25-times capped hooker tested positive for a banned substance. He served a two-year ban between 2014 and 2016, while he also tested positive for a banned substance in 2010, before it was ruled as a "No-Fault" decision, for which he did not serve a suspension.
But in an explosive statement today, Ralepelle says he is being made the "fall guy for a corrupt system", adding that "black rugby players ae held to a different standard".
A statement from his legal team reads:
"Ralepelle denies ever taking the banned substance and believes there has been a concerted effort to discredit him and portray him as a repeat offender despite evidence to the contrary.
"Chiliboy’s legal team will argue that there were multiple inaccuracies in SAIDs findings and challenge procedural failures by the sporting body, entrusted to ensure fairness in the much-loved sport.
"This is not the first time that Chiliboy has been falsely accused of taking a banned substance, in 2010 Chiliboy and Bjorn Basson both returned positive samples for a banned stimulant following a Test against Ireland. The decision has later ruled a No-Fault decision after it was revealed that the coaching staff provided the supplement to the entire squad during the tour. SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux later publicly apologised to the Chiliboy following the ordeal.
"The #BlackLivesMatter movement has propelled the world to have honest conversations around systematic injustices & policies, affecting the black community; and the South African sports fraternity is no exception to this conversation."
Ralepelle added to those words himself, claiming he is being targeted because of his skin colour.
"The last few months have been an absolute nightmare for my family and me, but I refuse to be the fall guy for a corrupt system, one utterly determined to destroy lives and livelihoods of athletes of colour.
"I have dedicated my life to this sport, and should this be the end, then so be it, but if they expect me to just go off quietly into the night, then they have another thing coming. I won’t stop until my name is cleared. I do believe that we, as black rugby players, are held to a different standard. Racial inequalities continue to persist in the sport, and I, for one, will continue to fight, so that future generations of the sport, don’t have to."
You tested positive 3 times. Stop blaming others and take responsibility for your actions. https://t.co/8etmKvNR0A
— Jacques Burger (@Nabasboer) July 24, 2020
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