Tennis star Maria Sharapova, announced on Monday that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open this January.
Athletes failing such tests have become pretty much a common occurrence. As long as there is a way to try and gain an advantage over their competition, some will take it. My good friend and columnist here at My 2 Sense, Sal Marinello, can tell you the names of all of the drugs used and what it is that they do to and for an athlete’s body. What I can tell you, though, is that there is a right way and wrong way to react to a failed test. Join me as we take a trip down memory lane at some of the most amazingly ridiculous excuses athletes have given after being exposed, and one person who actually got it right:
Ryan Braun – In 2011, when his test showed high levels of testosterone, the Milwaukee Brewer and former National League MVP first sad it was “BS”, and then actually blamed it on a Federal Express man who didn’t get it to the lab on time, hence breaking the “chain of command”.
Sammy Sosa – The Chicago Cubs slugger was so tied up in knots over his secret being out that he sat in front of Congress and had his lawyers read a statement denying he had used anything because he had a limited command of the English language.
Manny Ramirez – He tested positive for a female fertility drug but said it was given to him by his doctor for a “personal health issue.” Manny being Manny for sure!
Rafael Palmeiro – Perhaps the poster boy for excuses, this guy, had the gall to wag his finger at members of Congress while saying: “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.” Of course, when he was suspended for failing a test, Rafael blamed it on a B12 supplement injection that might have somehow been steroids.
Jenrry Mejia – Just last week this three-time failed test loser now claims that there is a conspiracy against him by Major League Baseball and that they are trying to bring down his career. Whaaaat?
Which brings me back around to Maria Sharapova. I am in no way condoning what she did because it has been called “reckless beyond description” by the former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound. The fact that for ten years she used something called Meldonium which had not been a banned substance until recently was wrong, and she should have known it. Sharapova obviously took it, not for the health issues it does help with, but to gain an unfair advantage which is cheating. Nike has already suspended its relationship with her. Tag Heuer ended its relationship with her, and if its deemed an intentional violation, she could be suspended for up to four years! Sharapova is no different from the examples I referenced above in that she, too, got caught; but she sets herself apart from the other slugs with how she confronted the problem. Maria strode to the podium Monday and said this: “I take great responsibility and professionalism in my career every day. I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down. I let my sport down. I know with this that I face consequences. I don’t want to end my career this way, and I really hope I’m given another chance to play this game.”
Leave it to a woman to “man up” in a tough spot.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.