You could be accused of thinking that the AFL said the quiet bit out loud on Wednesday.

That at the heart of it all, yes, we do test our players for illicit drugs. And yes, we do get them to sit out of games if we find that illicit drugs are in their system, either overstating injuries or concocting them altogether to keep the trail clean.

But we do it for their own good.

We do it to protect them from the potential health impacts of playing elite sport with a dangerous drug in their systems. We do it to protect their identities because drug use is often linked to other mental health conditions, often brought on by the stress of the bright lights of the game — and we wouldn’t want to add to that stress.

And, crucially, we do it because if they get caught, the World Anti-Doping Agency could ban them from playing.

It’s that last point that will have fans tilting their heads and squinting their eyes as they consider the ethics of it all.