I am sorry that the darts player Richie Burnett has been banned from earning a living in his chosen profession for 18 months after a positive test for Cocaine. I don’t condone the use of Class A drugs but there were mitigating circumstances. Burnett is suffering from depression. Couldn’t the powers that be have suspended the sentence?

I am not an expert on Cocaine, but I rather doubt that its use would have greatly enhanced Burnett’s performance a great deal, rather the opposite, I would have thought. His results have not exactly suggested some renaissance in his career, have they?

I appreciate that given the prominence of darts on satellite and cable TV these days it is important that the sport/game will not want to be associated with drugs. I get that. But I do not know how this helps Burnett.

You may be surprised that not everyone copes very well with mental illness. By its very nature, decision making might not necessarily be as sound as it would be if one’s faculties were in perfect working order. A date with old Charlie might be regarded as mid table or maybe below in the grand scheme of things.

Burnett is seeking help which is the right thing to do. It looks like he is receiving decent support too, although not from the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), at least in terms of his earning a crust. I would have thought enforced wordlessness would not particularly assist the battle against depression, but perhaps there are things going on that we don’t know about. I certainly hope so.

He’s made a mistake, a pretty stupid one, but he is also a sick man and he has been very brave in confronting his illness in the glare of media publicity. I hope he gets well soon.