Maria Sharapova admits she doped, tested positive for a banned substance

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Yesterday, Maria Sharapova called a press conference to announce that she had tested positive for a banned substance. The drug is Meldonium, a prescription medication which (she claims) is for a magnesium deficiency. She has been taking the drug for years, but as of January 1st of this year, the drug was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list, a fact that Sharapova didn’t know (apparently). The World Anti-Doping Agency added Meldonium to their banned list because “of evidence of its use by athletes with the intention of enhancing performance.” Here’s Sharapova’s press conference:

Sharapova said: “I did fail the test. I take full responsibility for it. I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down. I let my sport down…I don’t want to end my career this way. … I know many of you thought I was retiring. But if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would not be in this downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.” A strange moment to be so judgy about a carpet, right?

The International Tennis Federation could possibly ban Sharapova for up to four years, and as of now, she’s been “provisionally banned,” meaning there are going to be further tests and the lawyers will be getting involved. Forbes points out that the bigger damage would be if Sharapova lost sponsors and advertising deals, because even though she’s only won five Grand Slam titles in her career, she’s the most sponsor-heavy woman in tennis, and she makes $30 million a year from all of her endorsements. Compare that to Serena Williams, who has 21 Grand Slam titles and makes less than half of Sharapova from endorsements and advertising.

In fact, there’s a reason why “Serena” was trending Twitter during the same time that “Sharapova” was trending. A lot of tennis fans were comparing and contrasting and what-if-ing this situation. Like, would the public reaction be SO different if Serena was the one to come out and discuss a positive doping test? Yes, it would be. It’s also worth noting that Sharapova tested positive on the same day that Serena beat her in the Australian Open quarter-final. As in, even a doped-up Sharapova couldn’t beat Serena Williams.

Oh, and here’s an update on the sponsorship stuff: Nike has already suspended their $70 million contract with Sharapova. She’s had that deal since 2010, and it was for eight years.

Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

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167 Responses to “Maria Sharapova admits she doped, tested positive for a banned substance”

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  1. Sam says:

    Not trying to defend her or anything but the substance she took was legal. So the question is did she take while it was legal and it was still in her blood stream or did she take it after it became illegal?

    • Jayna says:

      She admitted she took it after it was banned and considered illegal, which went into effect starting in January of this year. Her excuse was she said she didn’t open the link she was sent that had the banned substance listed, so didn’t know it was banned and had continued taking it.

      • hogtowngooner says:

        I believe her that she didn’t open the link. I mean, how many of us don’t read every single email?

        Having said that, you’d think she’d see what it was about (new banned substances this year) and forwarded it onto her coach, her medical trainer and her GP to triple-check if they were using it and now cannot. Or perhaps they’d been on the mailing list as well.

        I dunno, for one of the sport’s biggest stars, you’d cover your bases. Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense for not following it.

      • qwerty says:

        From what I read elsewhere her excuse is that she was unaware the drug was banned caused she took it undER a different name than the one on the banned list.

    • Hindulovegod says:

      She admits taking it during the tournament. Her excuse that her very large support team didn’t tell her a drug she claims to have been taking for a decade got banned by WADA strains credulity. Really, Maria?

    • L says:

      Meldonium is only possible to detect up to three days after taking it.

    • tegteg says:

      According to an article I read, she’s been taking the substance for 10 years. When the banned substances list came out in December 2015, she said she didn’t even read it (so she didn’t realize that Meldonium had been added to the list).

    • CornyBlue says:

      They were notified in September 2015 that from Jan 2016 the substance would be illegal and she still took it.

    • Toot says:

      Yeah, but it’s never been legal in the US, where Maria is based and has been since she was a teen. Her excuse is full of it. This drug was made for enhancements and authorities finally caught on. Jennifer Capriati said it best in a tweet yesterday. Quite a few athletes are getting caught with this drug now, so yeah she’s full of it.

      • Pinky says:

        It’s never been legal in the US? I was feeling bad for Sharapova until I read your comment. Time to do more investigating….

        -TheRealPinky

      • mamiejane says:

        It’s not illegal in the US, it’s just not FDA approved. It’s available all over Europe and Australia. When she tested positive, she was in Australia.

    • Shambles says:

      Yeah…. Nah. Ignorance of the law does not mean you’re excused from the law. If I ran someone over with my car and drove away, and I said “well I didn’t KNOW it was illegal to hit someone then drive away,” I would still be charged with hit and run. This is the weakest excuse, like, ever, and it makes her sound like a spoiled, entitled child.

      • Timbuktu says:

        Well, but this is a very bad comparison. Running people over has ALWAYS been illegal, so yeah, your excuse would stink.
        The law that she broke was very recent, announced in an e-mail, and talked about something that has several names (I still don’t remember all the brand names of ibuprofen), and was not a life-or-death kind of law.

    • NUTBALLS says:

      I have a hard time believing that she was ignorant of the law. She has sports docs and other watchers who would be aware of these kind of important changes and due to the consequences of testing positive, an updated list of banned substances would be on her radar.

      • Bridget says:

        She has people who’s job it is to keep track of these things. In fact, this makes me even more suspicious.

      • NUTBALLS says:

        With 70 million dollar endorsements at stake, you can bet your ass that her “people” invested in her success are going to know what substances are banned.

      • Bridget says:

        Yeah. There are people who’s jobs are to keep track of this stuff and her compliance. She’s not exactly a mom & pop operation.

        I’ll admit, I’ve never been a huge Sharapova fan. I’ve disliked that a lot of her popularity is based on comparison. ‘Like Kournikova but can play better!’ ‘Not as good a player as Williams but better looking!’

      • Smoothie says:

        “I’ll admit, I’ve never been a huge Sharapova fan. ”
        She’s super arrogant or at least comes across as so.

      • Magnoliarose says:

        I have never been a fan of hers because I don’t like her style of play and as Smoothie said her arrogance which is on full display as she tries to act like this is an oops moment. Of course she knew and her team knew. They watch those lists religiously because so much is at stake if you get caught and everyone loses money. I bet someone tipped them off.

    • JenniferJustice says:

      What I want to know is when she took the drug before it was banned, was she really taking it for a chemical imbalance or was she using a drug she could get away with using to enhance her performance? Even though it was ‘legal’ before it was banned, I’m seriously side-eyeing that she was taking it for an actual mercury problem v. the obvious using a performance-enhancing drug to simply enhance her performance. Anything after that is a bit beside the point – maybe not as far as the World Anti-Doping Agency is concerned, but for us regular folk, the question remains, why was she really taking the drug – ever?

    • Smoothie says:

      For those defending MS, please don’t be so naive. Do you have any idea about the human-team machine behind this $90-million empire? Her Nike contract – $100 million over nearly a decade – was huge. She probably had a team of at least three people monitoring EVERY SINGLE THING she drank, ate, breathed at every minute of the day. Someone probably checked her sleeping position, showering-water temperature, posture, breathing, and optimised it all for performance on field.

      There was some big-time heart specialist who said there’s no way someone this young needed to take this. And probably, if she did, she wouldn’t be a top-10 or even top-100 tennis player because she’d have a serious heart condition.

  2. AG-UK says:

    The drug isn’t approved by the FDA and mainly used in Eastern European countries from what I read. An email sent out in the fall to say it was going to be on there effective Jan 2016. I know she is busy but hey I would imagine it’s your job to be on top of that stuff especially if that was my livelihood. Also if she is ill wouldn’t you think well I have made enough I need to take care of myself or I won’t be around. Sounds weird all of it.

    • Aussie girl says:

      Yep, she is an elite athletic and should have been more on her game regarding banned substances. I mean this is her bread and butter. As for health reasons…? Yep sounds weird to me too.

      • AG-UK says:

        @Aussie girl (I wish I was in Oz now.. (: I know very strange indeed. Other stuff will come out I am sure. So much doping in all sports now, even with the Kenyan elite runners NOW they might not be able to go to the Olympics.

      • Naya says:

        Its not just that its her bread and butter, its that she has a large team behind her. Nutritionists, doctors and coaches whose speciality is sports. She is hardly the 18 year old Ethiopian marathoner whose team comprises of a high school coach and a disinterested government run athletics association OR the desperate but talented Kenyan runner signed to an unscrupulous sports agent who intentionally tricks the athlete into a career ending move so that he can make quick cash and discards him as soon as he is caught.

        AG-UK the issue Kenyan runners are facing with the Olympics is because the Olympics Committee requires countries to codify anti-doping rules into law and the Kenyan government has yet to do so. This is about government and parliamentary incompetence, not doping. A tiny handful of athletes most of them not “elite” by Kenyan standards (all connected to the same two coaches) have been busted over the last few years and that has tainted the reputation of the sport but its nowhere near the number of athletes who have been caught in say the US.

    • Aussie girl says:

      AG -UK maybe we can do a swap…? We are having a heat wave atm which is weird for the start of Autumn ( somewhere in America Leo has just pushed a model off he’s lap, stood up and yelled, ‘ I told you so!!’) . The last 2 weeks have been nothing but 37 to 40′s !!!! I’m from a town called Albury which has a normal name compared to the surrounding towns. We’ve got Wagga Wagga, Wangaratta, yackandandah and tangambalanga.
      Oops completely off topic 😁

      • AG-UK says:

        sounds good to me I am from Texas originally so prefer seasons vs the sort of warm and sort of cold here. I went to Australia several years ago for 3 weeks in Feb. I still keep trying to get back. Def. off topic.. oh well.

      • SydneySnider says:

        Aussie girl: I love those names! I’m in plain old Sydney… It’s been bloody hot here, too, and the meteorologist said the heat will continue until April. Then Winter will set in and I’ll be whinging about how cold it is, although compared to many other places, it’s very mild. Yes, everyone come here!

        As for Ms Sharapova… Yeah. Nah. Not buying it. She knew what she was doing and chose to come clean so she didn’t get ripped apart by others exposing her. Are the grunts and squeals side effects of this “medication”?

      • Lozface says:

        Yep nearly 40 here in Melbourne yesterday! Crazy hot and set to continue for a while.

        Love the Aussie town names too… I was just up in Noosa and loved saying Mooloolaba and Maroochydore!

        Back on topic, there’s no way on earth you don’t read an email from WADA as a professional athlete or your dozens of support staff don’t.

        She could get a game at Essendon with that excuse ;)

    • hogtowngooner says:

      Exactly. I said the same thing upthread. You’d think she’d have forwarded it to her doctor to be sure given this is her career on the line.

    • neve says:

      Fun Tennis Fact: Every time a player is announced ‘injured’- and disappears off the radar for a while is because they’ve tested positive for something. Their people & sponsors will have gotten it hushed up. Big bucks on the line when a positive test goes public.

  3. LAK says:

    i always feel bad for athletes who are banned or fined for day to day substances that apparently have performance enhancement drugs in them eg Cough syrup taken for a cough.

    i’m still suspicious about the performance enhancing qualities of cough syrup because i haven’t managed to run any faster when taking it. LOL then again, i’m only running for the bus.

    ….But seriously, if this drug has just been banned and she’s been taking it for more than ten years, i feel bad for her. the Federation would have been aware that she’s taking it since you have to declare everything you are taking, so to suddenly announce that it’s banned is really bad.

    • Sixer says:

      I am sympathetic to the fine line between maintaining a healthy body (when you are an elite athlete whose body is stretched to risk levels) and cheating at your sport.

      But insofar as I understand this drug, it’s a quality-of-life enhancer for people in heart failure. It is specifically designed to make you perform better physically. It’s not really one of those fine line drugs-come-supplements that you would take for a magnesium deficiency.

      • lucy2 says:

        Yeah, I have to think for a magnesium deficiency, couldn’t you take a magnesium vitamin or change your diet? Taking a prescription meant for people with heart failure seems like a stretch.

    • Amelia says:

      I understand wher you’re coming from LAK, but as a professional athlete it is her responsibility to be aware of everything that is going into her body.
      Whilst mildronate has technically been ‘legal’ to use up until January, it nonetheless has significant performance enhancing properties and has been monitored by WADA for a while now. (There’s an interview in L’Equipe with the scientific advisor to the French Doping Authorities that discusses this, but I’m having trouble linking to it on my phone).
      Its use was endemic amongst endurance athletes until the ban as it helps an athlete’s recovery, their tolerance to exercise and (not completely confirmed) their ability to metabolise fat more efficiently. All of which can have a pretty significant effect when the best of the best are trying to get every possible advantage they can over their opponents.
      If those other athletes could pack in their use of the drug before the ban came into effect, why couldn’t she?

    • LAK says:

      Amelia/Sixer: I feel so naive around these things and also flabbergasted by her and these drugs.

      I feel a joke about Russian athletes coming on, but it’s probably too soon.

      • Amelia says:

        Definitely not too soon.
        There are running jokes about the Russian cycling team Katusha still going strong. Come join us 😊

      • Sixer says:

        Money has not done sport any favours, if you ask me. Russian joke away! American joke away! British joke away! It’s everywhere, sadly.

    • sienna says:

      I agree LAK. Also, isn’t this the job of her team of physician, coaches and trainers, et al. to follow this stuff.?

      I like that she came out in front of the scandal admitted her wrong doing and took responsibility for her actions, she didn’t try to blame anyone else for dropping the ball.

      I love Serena so much and am not a fan of Sharapova, but this is one time that I actually support her.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        The press was going to run the story, she didn’t do this of her own volition.

      • Pinky says:

        I felt exactly as you do until I read more comments and did a little more cursory research. The drug is not what a normal doctor would prescribe for any of her symptoms, so it seems she’s been using it for its performance enhancing properties all along….

        And she STILL couldn’t beat Serena. Gosh, the racist trolls on ESPN.com and HuffPo and anything Breitbart related are going to flip their shiz….

        -TheRealPinky

      • Bridget says:

        She’s trying to get out in front of the story and put her own spin on it.

      • sienna says:

        Interesting Pinky, I haven’t done any research on the drug at all.

        I should read some more on it, thanks for the heads up!!

    • Bridget says:

      Usually these things are banned for a reason – what may seem harmless to us could be a masking agent for a more potent drug. And as folks have noted upthread, this drug has never been legal in the US.

  4. Louise177 says:

    It baffles me when athletes say they didn’t know a substance is banned. I would think or somebody would always check what’s banned since it’s always changing.

    • Esmom says:

      Especially an athlete of her stature, who has a team of people who can check this for her. It really is baffling. I can only conclude she was trying to get away with it.

  5. Amelia says:

    There’s practically no possibility she was taking meldonium (or ‘mildronate’) for a magnesium deficiency.
    Firstly, it’s usually prescribed for osteoporosis and ischaemia (or a lack of blood flow) relating to angina and heart disease (neither of which an elite athlete would likely be capable of performing with, particularly in endurance sports. Plus, there are more suitable medications for these conditions anyway).
    Secondly, if it was prescribed by her doctor, she would have a TUE (therapeutic use exemption). Athletes with asthma usually have these in order to use their inhalers.

    Either, she and her team made a collossal error in not checking the updated banned substances list (which is ridiculous, considering mildronate has been on WADA’s radar for a while now) or, they reckoned they could get away with still taking it since its use was endemic within endurance sports before it became a prohibited substance. It won’t turn a donkey into a race horse, but it can significantly increase an athlete’s tolerance for exercise.

    I do however think Sharapova is being used as something of a scapegoat; world tour tennis has a massive doping and corruption problem. Huge.
    It is so, so easy to get out of drug tests and miss being tested, something that’s been catching the eye of people more and more lately, particularly since the match fixing report by the BBC and Buzzfeed.
    Not that it negates the fact that mildronate is now a banned substance and it should not have been in Sharapova’s system once the ban came into place, but considering there are far more potent PEDs being used in the tour, it bugs me that some people are really jumping on her for this and ignoring several obvious dopers on the men’s and women’s tour.

    Source; am a track and road cyclist with dubious ‘aquaintances’ who use this drug.

    /rant over.

    • Sixer says:

      Yes and yes and yes to all of this.

    • Betti says:

      Interesting post and her excuse is rather dubious as am sure her team would have known this.. This is pre emotive PR. Plus wasn’t the performance enhancing drug Lance Armtstrong caught using well known to cause testicle cancer? Which he battled successfully.

      • Amelia says:

        Re Lance Armstrong, there’s usually a bit of a ‘chicken and the egg’ debate regarding his cancer diagnosis.
        EPO is a naturally occurring substance in the kidneys (that can also be synthesised) which boosts red blood cell production and is used therapeutically for chemotherapy-induced anaemia. Obviously, for endurance athletes, the more red blood cells the better.
        A side effect of this treatment can be cancer recurrence or tumour progression in patients, so it can be a case of weighing up the risks from case to case.
        I’m getting off topic, but there’s usually debate about whether LA was a fairly talented cyclist who happened to get cancer and then launched the comeback to end all comebacks with the help of EPO and various other PEDs before appearing to transform into one of the greatest riders of all time?
        Or, was he a fairly talented cyclist who doped in order to progress, got cancer – possibly as a result – continued to dope post-recovery and so ensued the huge fallout?
        Anyway. Off topic 😊

      • LAK says:

        Amelia, this is all very informative for me. Maria AND LA. Thank you.

      • Amelia says:

        Ah, thank you LAK!
        I feel quite passionately about this topic, so it’s lovely to know I might be helping to make at least a couple of small things clearer.

      • Sixer says:

        I’m also grateful, Amelia. The press is too sensational but the sporting world is too corrupt. So sane commentary is very helpful.

      • Amelia says:

        You guys are giving me the warm and fuzzies :)
        I knew all those debates at the velodrome would come in handy at some point.

    • Crumpet says:

      I want to know how I can get my hands on this stuff. Just kidding (sort of).

    • als says:

      @Amelia – thank you for the info and I agree 100%.
      I also think that the system favors cheating by not having serious controls and establishing a very very busy competition schedule.

      There is only one week gap between
      Roland Garros and Wimbledon and these are different surfaces. Not to
      mention all the other back to back
      competitions. I don’t care how much
      you train, you just can’t do it. It was
      obvious Lance Armstrong or any other
      human couldn’t do what he did without doping.
      And the tour organizers want the money so they support the doping that keeps the athlete going.
      I suspect Sharapova brokered herself a deal with the WTA: she takes the hit for this, eases the pressure on a corrupt system, and, im exchange she will get a small sanction.
      Her extremely staged press conference was damage control that everyone allowed her to do. She was accused on March 3rd. Between then and now no one made it public, not WTA, not the Anti-Doping Agency. They allowed her to take initiative and do damage control. What do they get in exchange?

    • Bridget says:

      Doping in athletics is a big story and there’s rumors of more and more crackdowns in the pipeline for a number of sports. Not to mention that it’s an Olympic year. My take: Sharapova got caught. She pissed hot and someone leaked her name and she wanted to get out in front of it. I don’t know that I would describe her as a scapegoat, because it was always going to be news if an athlete of Sharapova’s stature failed a drug test.

      • Edwin says:

        Thank you it’s a shame people trying to give this cheater a excuse for doping. It’s well known that she made a lot of enemies within the tennis community with her entitlement attitude. What caught me by surprise was the disparaging remark about the carpet at the venue where she held her conference at.

    • leah says:

      “I do however think Sharapova is being used as something of a scapegoat”
      I don’t know about that, she was the most profitable female tennis player theres no way they would actively want to make someone like her the scapegoat.

    • MoochieMom says:

      I have a magnesium deficiency. I have vitamins. Wal Mart type vitamins that fix this.

    • Sticks says:

      Thanks for the insights Amelia. Super interesting and I agree about the scapegoating too.

    • Magnoliarose says:

      Thanks for the extra take. Interesting to see if more athletes are caught too or at least put on notice.

  6. Naya says:

    “even a doped-up Sharapova couldn’t beat Serena Williams.”

    Thats my take away from this piece. Whether or not Serena manages to clock those grand slams, she is imo the greatest player tennis has ever seen.

    • Pepper says:

      Given Serena once locked herself in her panic room to avoid being tested, it’s likely that she, along with just about every pro player, has also been doping and exploring gray areas.

      • The Original Mia says:

        She once locked herself in and has never tested posted. The same cannot be said for Sharapova.

      • BritAfrica says:

        Serena can lock herself in as many panic rooms as she likes. FACT: she did not test positive for any banned substance. If she did, her career would have been over by now….

      • slashdot says:

        To all the people saying that Serena did not test positive ever… you know, that was exactly Lance Armstrong’s argument during all those years. You know, before his former team mates exposed the truth. Not saying Serena has doped, but at this point, anything is possible. The most realistic scenario is that a lot of tennis players, men and women, use substances that enhance their performance. However, the doping industry is 10 years ahead of the anti-doping organizations and we see the result in the Sharapova case.

  7. CornyBlue says:

    I played Tennis for 4 years at a very small competitive level and I was constantly tired and in pain. I can very well see why athletes take PED or other substances. Having said that Sharapova makes the lamest excuses as if emails sent by WADA is not read by her or her entire team. I have never liked her but at least she has Suagrpova.
    Also if Serena was int his position newscasters and ESPN and everyone else would have torn her apart. People are largely sympathizing with Sharapova as she is a white pretty blonde.

  8. Cynthia says:

    She’s a pretty white girl, she’ll be fine. I reckon she’ll go away for a while, then write a book, go on an apology tour, telling every show host how she has learnt from her mistakes and how this experience made her stronger.

    • QQ says:

      THIS! ^^^ Forever this

      Also Kinda F*ck Off this Meltdown that the news is having, behind an almost ran second tier Blonde Lithe traditionally pretty girl as though they lost the great white Tennis Hope Meantime SERENA is still with us, kicking ass and taking names

    • MrsBump says:

      To be fair, OJ got away with murder (literally) and Tiger Woods was able to resume his career. Not everything is black and white..

      • perplexed says:

        I don’t think Tiger Woods is necessarily a comparable example. He cheated on his wife — he didn’t get caught taking performance enhancing drugs. Cheating on your spouse doesn’t necessarily end a career — family image endorsements, maybe, but there’s no plausible reason to ban him from golf. Most people would want someone at the top of their field to stay in the sport (personal life notwithstanding). He was considered the greatest in his profession whereas Maria isn’t. Obviously she’s good for having won Grand Slams, but she’s not THAT good when you put her up against Tiger (or what he once was) or Serena.

        We can make fun of Tiger all we want for being a crappy husband, but there is nothing in the rule-book that says an athlete should be banned from sport for having a harem of mistresses.

      • RamblingRose says:

        I agree, I really don’t see how race or comeliness has anything to do with this.

      • perplexed says:

        I think, so far, she is being given more of the benefit of the doubt. Whether that’s because of her race or her prettiness, I’m not sure. But her story sounds a little weird, yet the media seems fine accepting it. Maybe that will change, but I definitely think how she looks helps at least. If she looked like Tonya Harding, who knows if the media would buy her story.

  9. Pepper says:

    Most tennis players have taken this drug or similar, even on the semi-pro circuits it’s very common. It’s nothing compared to the treatments the top pro players have experimented with.

    I believe Maria didn’t know the drug had been banned. She was absolutely, 100% going to be tested during the Australian Open if she reached the final, and since that was a very achievable goal for her going in, it would be insane to keep taking the drug right up to then. She could have kept taking it for most of the tournament and gotten away with it, but to not get it out of your system before a final is actively sabotaging yourself.

    There are other drugs that have a similar effect that aren’t on the banned list yet. If she’d known, she’d have switched.

    • Hindulovegod says:

      I believe it’s more likely she thought she’d get away with it as tennis is notoriously lax with its stars, as others have mentioned. But it’s an Olympic year for tennis, so scrutiny is higher. She miscalculated.

      • Pepper says:

        The thing is that there was no reason for her to risk it. There are other non-banned drugs she could have switched to, some said to be more effective. Besides which the effects of this drug are long-term, it’s not like she was taking something that gave her an instant boost, she still would have reaped the benefits if she got it out of her system before she was likely to be tested. Most athletes primarily took it because it helped them heal and push forward in the off season, there are other non-banned substances that have much more of an impact during actual competition. There’s just no reason for her to take the risk except ignorance.

    • Crumpet says:

      Maybe she feared switching. After all, millions of dollars are riding on her performance, and she has been taking it and winning for 10 years. Or maybe she just really didn’t know. Like Vijay Singh and the deer antler spray.

    • Original T.C. says:

      I was actually buying her story until she got to the “I did not open the link sent to me by the organization that regulates my profession”! Seriously? That is classic plausible deniability often told by lawyers to their guilty defendants and every TEENAGERS in the world to their parents.

      And saying the drug that “was given to me” by my doctor is not accepting blame. I don’t know any person with signs of Diabetes that isn’t told to change their diet first and instead given pills that are not what is used for diabetes management. Or having a Magnesium deficiency and taking something else instead of magnesium. One irregular EKG is not going to place on on medication for Angina which usually comes with chest pain and inability to function at even regular people’s speed.

      Most of all, replace her with Tom Brady using this same excuse. Yeah, the press would have laughed in his face and left him bleeding. I have friends who do marathons and they calculate down to a drop of water and single steps to cross a lobby the effect on their performance. A Nike elite athlete who doesn’t know the effect of every med going into her body would send my friends into a “girl please stop trying to sell me beach front property in Arizona”!

  10. Lex says:

    I cannot believe she was being paid $70 for ONE deal. I wouldn’t be able to point her out of a line up.

    • MoochieMom says:

      Active TAG users and reviewers here in this house. We know who she is and don’t give a flip. We let them know we feel like they overreacted and went “brand baby” on those who spend a lot of money with them and care more about their quality vs their brand. We didnt even know she was a sponsor. We don’t care.

  11. paolanqar says:

    All my respect goes to Serena Williams who consistently won against her with pure talent and inner strength.

    • vilebody says:

      I hate to be a downer, but Serena is one of the most rumored dope abusers in the business. Doesn’t pardon Sharapova, but let’s not pretend Serena is a saint.

      • Jsilly4e says:

        Well that’s just it, it’s a rumor. Since Maria was actually tested positive there is the difference.

    • Esther says:

      same thing people said about Lance Armstrong.

  12. Anett says:

    Her arrogant statement about the carpet just made it all worse.

    So this drug was not illegal last year, altought tests results showed that it could enhance one’s performance. Does not it mean she was doping in the last 10 years but it was totally legal?

    Is any sports left untouched by these drugs?

    One more thing I find funny, she is behind the Suparpova brand, I am not naive it is good money, and now it turns out she has a history of diabetes in her family. So how on earth she could give her name to that?

    • als says:

      Yeah, I never got her choice for creating a sugar brand, either. I didn’t know about the diabetes history, but as an athlete I thought it was a pretty risky association.

    • hogtowngooner says:

      Yeah the carpet thing rubbed me the wrong way. I haven’t seen the video of her saying it, but I think maybe she meant it as a cute little joke and it came off badly? Or she’s just really arrogant as you say, and she’s sneering at the decor of the place that’s allowing her to perform this mea culpa. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

    • Pumpkin Pie says:

      Good point. To be honest I had no idea there is diabetis in her family before I read on the press conference.
      She tried to have her name changed during some tournament from Sharapove to Sugarpova, that is after her candy came out. So ridiculous. They didn’t allow it – the organizers or whoever.

      • Anett says:

        I have seen the video, for me it came off as no joke. But please check it out, wonder what you see.
        Really she wanted to change her name? Awesomely ridiculous.

      • Pumpkin Pie says:

        Yes she wanted to change her name – but on the scoreboard, I forgot to mention that. Not in her ID !

  13. Asdf says:

    I hate Sharapova, but you never never never say she ONLY won 5 grandslams. Winning 1 is extraordinary and if it is inly once you are instantly considered a star. She won 5 solidifying her as great.

    Serena was caught a bunch of times but only asked to leave for a little bit blame it on the knee blah blah then ppl got pissed and started getting on the wta and atp for never testing top players.

    • Crumpet says:

      Yeah, I don’t buy that Serana isn’t doping. Actions speak louder than words. Locking yourself in your panic room when the drug committee shows up? Ahem.

      • vilebody says:

        Thank You!
        I’m sort of amazed at all the over-the-top Serena love here. I guess they have never seen her threatening to “stuff a ball down the throat” of a linesman or yell “you’re nobody. We’re in America!” to an umpire who ruled against her. I understand that there’s a racist factor as to why she’s not more celebrated, but I don’t think people realize that there’s also a personal one–most people in tennis don’t like her, and companies are hesitant to endorse someone who has a history of bad behavior.

      • Robin says:

        Exactly! Serena’s behavior and sportsmanship have not been the best over the years and hiding in your panic room when the drug tester shows up doesn’t exactly scream integrity.

      • Bridget says:

        No, we’ve definitely talked about that. The difference is, Serena is fired up in a way that is acceptable in male players – John McEnroe created an entire public persona out of it. And the “sure, some of it is racist” doesn’t seem to get it. Serena is arguably the greatest tennis player ever, but makes half of what a significantly less accomplished but more traditionally pretty counterpart makes. Not to mention the racist comments that she and Venus have been subjected to over the years, from traditional media, social media, and even from people in the stands (which is reportedly why she wouldn’t go back to Indian Wells for so long).

        Who knows if she is clean or if she’s dirty, but we’re not talking about Serena peeing hot here.

      • vilebody says:

        @Bridget:
        Straight from ESPN: “Despite [McEnroe's] success, the world’s No. 1 player from 1981-84 was offered few endorsement opportunities. “When I see McEnroe, I see ‘bad sport,’ ” said the president of a Madison Avenue ad agency. “I wouldn’t want him identified with my product.”

        In other words, your premise of “acceptable behavior” for male athletes (at least in tennis) is totally false. McEnroe was not well liked and didn’t get many endorsements. It’s only now that time has passed and he’s mellowed that people give him a pass.

        I think the same thing is currently happening with the Williams sisters. Serena, in particular, has mellowed out a lot (her father used to be very controlling, so I think that’s been a big part). Non-tennis watchers are suddenly seeing a nicer side of her and immediately cry that she hasn’t been fully appreciated because of racism. Is it partly to blame? Yes. But I think more of it has to do with her lackluster reputation, which includes anger problems, rumors of match-fixing, and rudeness to fans.

      • Pepper says:

        But people thought McEnroe, Connors etc. were dicks. People liked watching them play, but they didn’t like them as people. Hell, Andy Murray get’s crap for yelling at HIMSELF and not looking happy enough,

        McEnroe was pretty light on endorsements until long after his retirement. Only when he started to poke fun at his terrible reputation did he get big deals.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        This? It’s murky, I don’t know what to make of it.

        As per NYPost: “LOS ANGELES — Serena Williams fled to the panic room in her Los Angeles mansion when she mistook a sports association drug tester for a dangerous intruder. The tennis legend’s assistant called 911 around 6:00am local time last Wednesday and told the emergency operator that a prowler had been spotted at the luxurious property, TMZ reported. Williams retreated to her panic room in a bid to protect herself. But the intruder turned out to be a random drug tester who stopped by unannounced for a urine sample. Cops responded to the 911 call but quickly left the property when the misunderstanding was discovered.”

      • perplexed says:

        I’ve never thought of Serena as being anywhere as rude as John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Granted, I was a really small kid when McEnroe was playing (and am not old enough to have watched Connors), but looking at old documentaries those guys seemed to constantly be throwing around F-words and temper tantrums. And their tantrums seemed to go on throughout a match. Serena’s temperament seems more in line with other players on both the mens and women’s side of the tour — occasional outbursts but not constant. Sure, you could say that event or another event displays some level of arrogance for any of those players, but Serena, like the other current day players, aren’t constantly drumming up drama on the court like McEnroe and Connors were. Those guys’ tempers seemed off the charts. McEnroe and Connors were so temperamental, they claimed that Sampras and his generation were boring. No, maybe you guys were just THAT loud and obnoxious (which I don’t really think Serena really is). Maybe she’s a little temperamental compared to current-day Federer but she also seems really zen compared to McEnroe and Connors. Those guys seemed truly nasty…

      • vilebody says:

        @perplexed
        I agree that both McEnroe and Connors were way worse than Serena. But people here seem to think that nobody cared about tantrums, which is definitely not true–they both got an incredible number of fines and punishments.

        I do think there are two big differences with Serena. The first is that she is the only person (that I know of) to have threatened a linesman/ump–and she’s done it more than once. The second is that Serena and her sister have had a lot of rumors about match fixing and faking injuries to help their standings over the years. Tennis fans look at behavior off the court just as much as on, so this has not helped their reputations.

        As I said before, Serena has changed a lot over the past few years, for the better. I just dislike it when people who have no clue about tennis run in and lecture tennis fans with condescending and unmerited authority to further their pet causes.

    • BritAfrica says:

      Really?? Serena was ‘caught a bunch of times’?? Please forward the link to that story so that we can read it and verify your excuse for bringing in her name in defense of ‘poor little’ Sharapova.

      Even when it’s Sharapova who is caught and clearly guilty, it’s still Serena who gets smeared.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Yup.

      • JaneS says:

        Serena is an easy target, always has been. Women don’t get that big and strong unless they’re doping right? LOL. Funny how everyone has speculated on the big and strong Serena doping, and it’s the feminine woman who ACTUALLY gets caught out.

  14. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Lame excuse that anyone can tell is a lie.

    She’s a walking talking professional brand. Her team reads her emails, knows her facts, tells her where to report and what field she’ll be playing in. Whole management association behind getting her those deals because she is a tennis cliche (tall, white, blond) and they shrugged off an important email regarding banned substances for a drug she should have never been taking in the first place?

    Sure Jan.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      I don’t follow tennis that closely but something about people’s response is strange to me because even though Maria is definitively in the wrong, people are more interested in rumours around Serena. I don’t know she’s doing behind doors but I don’t know why that absolves Maria.

      Maria’s doctors clearly weren’t giving her the good stuff.

      • BritAfrica says:

        IKR?? There’s a surprise!

        A thread above have managed to change the story from ‘Sharapova caught’ to ‘Serena dopes as well’. Didn’t see that coming….!

      • vilebody says:

        @Jo ‘Mama’ Besser and BritAfrica
        I don’t know what you’re reading, but the vast majority of comments are about how Sharapova was dumb and her excuse is idiotic. There are a few Serena comments on here because Kaiser brought her up. Calm down.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        That’s a pretty heated response to a couple of benign comments. I think we’ll be okay.

      • BritAfrica says:

        @ vilebody

        Kaiser was comparing the situation between what would have happened if it was Serena who got caught vs Sharapova getting caught. Kaiser did not bring up Serena’s imaginary possible doping.

        The majority of your posts have argued that Serena has doped as well. Again, please provide a link to that story, I would quite like to read it.

        Tell me to ‘calm down’ all you want but when you write………’but I don’t think people realize that there’s also a personal one–most people in tennis don’t like her’……….. my answer to you is ‘please, you first’. Like me, you do NOT know ‘most people’ in tennis so perhaps you should dial it back a tad….

  15. foxface says:

    sharapova regularly earned more than her male counterparts.

  16. HK9 says:

    I have a magnesium deficiency and I take magnesium for it so I call bulls-t on this one.

  17. Kitten says:

    I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t care? I just find it hilarious when people drone on and on about the “integrity” of sports (since when?) or hold up one athlete as an untouchable representation of “pure” athleticism, as if they’re not all doing every f*cking thing they can to gain a competitive advantage. And who cares if they are? I’ve said it a million times around here: you could pump me full of PEDs, HGH, whatever other sh*t you want and I STILL couldn’t win 5 Grand Slams.

    Again, I realize I’m completely alone in this but I think the only way that we can truly level the playing field is by making all of this stuff fair game. Instead we have a lot of athletes going to great lengths to hide their PED usage, and some that are playing by the rules.

    I don’t know… I just can’t get too worked up about this for some reason.

    • vilebody says:

      Normally, I would agree, but I want to add that steroids/hormones are very unhealthy for people and it’s not always a choice. In many professional sports, people need to be stars at a very young age, and a 16-year-old shouldn’t have to make a decision about doping or not. For example, a lot of “Iron Curtain” female athletes ended up undergoing sex reassignment surgery because of all the hormones that they were given throughout the years–many of the time, without their knowledge or consent.

      • Kitten says:

        I completely see your point, which is a very worthy one, but I also view that as a separate issue (sub-issue?). Underage athletes who are being fed PEDs without their consent is different from adults who are presumably aware of the risks, putting PEDs or HGH in their bodies. The former is abuse and exploitation, the latter is a personal choice—-I mean, within the context of the hypothetical that we’re discussing.

        That’s sad about the Iron Curtain athletes. I hadn’t heard that before.

      • Sixer says:

        What about Flo Jo, Kitten? She died as a likely casualty.

        I don’t have a totally settled opinion on this one. I think money has ruined sport and performance-enhancing drugs are a symptom of that rather than a problem in and of themselves. I also think it’s getting to the point where the issue is intractable and so continued prohibition is like King Canute and the tide. So I really do see where you’re coming from and sympathise with the position.

        But people have killed themselves, are killing themselves and will kill themselves IN THE COURSE OF THEIR JOBS.

        I think that’s a little bit different to, say, legalisation of recreational drugs, which I support. In that instance, I believe there would be harm reduction (tax revenues funding rehabs, safer products, less organised crime, less street crime, etc). I’m not sure we should be advocating a position in which people can only succeed at their job if they take potentially life-threatening drugs. People who don’t do that won’t be able to succeed at their job.

      • Kitten says:

        But I’m not “advocating”, Sixer. Advocating is handing out PEDs and HGH at competitions and sporting events. What I’m talking about is taking something that is done behind closed doors and hidden from the public and making it transparent and out in the open. People are doing it regardless so the only difference would be whether we legalize it or not.

        “But people have killed themselves, are killing themselves and will kill themselves IN THE COURSE OF THEIR JOBS.”

        But that’s sort of the risk of being a professional athlete, regardless of whether HGH or PEDs are involved, you know? Skiers can hit a tree, NFL players get concussions, people crash their bikes and die during the Tour De France, boxers get killed with a punch to the wrong spot. Athletes are generally aware of the toll that their sport takes on their bodies. I guess I’m just of the mind set that it’s THEIR choice to do as they see fit with their bodies. I’m not saying that HGH/PEDs should be required BTW and I’m also not saying that they’re necessary to be a competitive athlete. At the end of the day, it’s still a personal choice.

        I get that what I’m saying is controversial and maybe even offensive to some people, but I just strongly believe that what we’ve been doing thus far isn’t working. The truth is that PEDs and HGH isn’t going away anytime soon so maybe we just need to find a way to deal with it openly.

        Perhaps this is just the natural evolution of sports… As equipment and coaching techniques get more advanced with time, so does human athleticism.

      • Sixer says:

        Like I say, my position is not really settled. Frying pans and fires, you know?

        But your solution essentially says that all future professional sports people will have to take potentially life-threatening drugs, or they can’t be professional sports people. It codifies it. And I don’t think that’s a great solution, even if the problem is intractable. Risk is one thing. Deliberately building in harm from drugs which is an eminently avoidable risk – you can participate; you just don’t take drugs – meaning those who avoid can’t have sport as a career? Not a light decision at all. And not the same thing as risks inherent in all carrying out of the sport. Not at all the same thing.

        Generally speaking, my approach to all this stuff is to advocate the solution that reduces harm. In this case, unlike recreational drugs, legalisation won’t reduce harm. It will encourage harm. It will literally codify harm into a career path.

        Having said that, I think money rules. And in any sport where there is significant amounts of money, the slim advantage among elite athletes given by performance-enhancing drugs will be bought. Because there’s a pay off and because the money in the sport ensures detection can be avoided more often than not. So it’s already endemic. and perhaps there is no turning back so what difference would continued prohibition really make?

        I really don’t know.

        For example, while I agree with other posters here that the blonde, pretty white perp (Sharapova) will get an easier ride in the press than Serena ever would and that’s dreadful. But I wouldn’t go into bat for any athlete of any colour or any gender in any sport. Because there are so many of them at it, you are quite likely to be defending an offender. I’ve been so disappointed by so many sports stars that I’ve admired, I’ve become utterly jaded.

      • Kitten says:

        Sixer it seems like your concern is that every single athlete will suddenly be popping PEDs and HGH like candy just because it’s “allowed” in the industry. But I’m not proposing that athletes have full, unmonitored access to any drug they want. I’m saying allow it but with regulations and restrictions, just like anything else. Sports has always been a business of rules and regs-this would be no different. Isn’t it better to have a team of doctors monitoring the dosage and application of these things than an athlete self-administering on the fly?

        I don’t disagree that money is and always will be a big component of professional sports, but to make it seem like athletes have no autonomy isn’t accurate either. It’s true that athletes are often conditioned, trained, traded and sold like race horses and it’s true that they are commodified on some level. That being said, not every single athlete’s singular motivation is money. These people are passionate about what they do and I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to assume that every single athlete with legal access to PEDs and HGH will be taking them simply because everyone else is or simply because they can.
        I might sound naïve but I could actually see it going in the reverse direction. If PEDs and HGH are legal in sports, then I could imagine athletes actually opting to NOT take them just to show that they’re naturally athletic without them, as a badge of honor if you will. In fact, that could actually result in a new kind of competitive athlete.

        Your counterargument is well-made and your concerns are more than valid, but ultimately I just don’t see how sports can continue like this. Every time a new PED comes out, there’s a new way of testing for it, and a new way to avoid testing positive for it. Additionally, new PEDs are constantly coming on the market, thus during that lag time between discovering and testing for them, athletes are using them. To me, this just isn’t a problem that can be effectively combated through prohibition.

    • FingerBinger says:

      @Kitten I’m not worked up by it either. However I find it fascinating that all these athletes want an edge even in golf. Tiger Woods has even been accused of doping.

    • perplexed says:

      I’m not worked up over the drug issue, but I do think she’s being treated differently by the media which gives me pause. Maybe she made a genuine mistake, but she’s being more of the benefit of the doubt than I’ve seen with other athletes. I’m also fascinated by how she managed to get caught — that’s more intriguing to me than the actual use of the drug. With the kind of team she has around her, I don’t get how this fail happened.

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah that’s the impression I’m getting from the comments. I haven’t followed this story outside of here so I was unaware of how the media has been coddling her. Not surprising I guess.

    • Bros says:

      I agree kitten. the cat and mouse game is so tiresome and stupid at this stage, where medical science will always be asked to find ways around whatever sports association attempts to keep the sport ‘clean.’ We should allow these people to just stuff themselves full of anything they want and watch, with the results probably being more entertaining. I love the strongman contests they are always putting on TV that take place in like Zambia or Mauritania where there are no anti-doping laws on the books and it’s just a steroid-fueled free for all, which is soooo much more fun to watch.

    • Bridget says:

      These may be consenting adults, but consider that what happens at a professional, upper echelon level trickles down into mid-level, youth, and even children’s sports. Integrity is great, but the big issue is a whole mess of crap going into developing bodies, not to mention the safety of everyone involved. Not to mention that competitive sports would become skewed toward who had the access to the best drugs and programs, giving huge advantage toward the wealthy.

      • Kitten says:

        But then should alcohol be illegal? Because kids can get their hands on that as well.

        Again, maybe I’m being naïve (wouldn’t be the first time) but if PEDs were legal and regulated, then wouldn’t young athletes just operate under the understanding that they can’t use them until they are of age? I mean, every young athlete, every young PERSON experiences a level of growth and increasing responsibilities and opportunities as they grow into adulthood. This would be the same kind of thing: coaches, parents, and trainers would educate young athletes to understand and respect the adverse effects of PEDs on developing bodies. If PEDs were simply an accepted part of sports culture, this might actually be an achievable thing. As it is now, kids can get their hands on PEDs but feel forced to hide them from adults, leaving them to administer these things on their own volition, using immature and presumably poor judgment. Is that any better?

        I realize I’m going a bit overboard with the idealism here but since we’re talking in hypotheticals I think it’s ok to consider all possibilities.

      • Bridget says:

        If PEDs are allowed, they’ll essentially become required for anyone that wants to excel in athletics and we can’t have people required to take something that is proven to be damaging to their health. That’s a huge part of the PED conversation. The health ramifications are very serious.

        And if alcohol were required to be good at something, we probably would be having a similar conversation about it. It wouldn’t be safe.

    • lisa says:

      i dont care at all. it’s a medication some people take. if athletes think it helps them, so be it.

      the drug tests can’t catch all the performance enhancers so i can’t get excited about this type of drug or cold meds.

      and i dont think the lack of interest is because she’s a “pretty blonde.” i go to the US open every year and most people i tell have to be told what sport goes on there. many people just dont care about tennis, especially womens tennis. heck, i only watch the womens matches that come on before the mens matches i go to see.

  18. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    And she accused Serena of doping. That’s rich.

  19. Alex says:

    The only thing I took from this is that A. the media is going soft on her which ABSOLUTELY would not happen to Serena and B. Serena can beat Maria on substances outright.

    Damn shame Serena doesn’t make more money than her in endorsements.

    • Sasha says:

      The media is totally going soft on her taking what she says as true at face value. I have no doubt that if Serena were in this position, there would be no sympathy for ignorance of the amended list. She would be raked over the coals.

      • Alex says:

        No doubt in my mind. I said this yesterday but this is the advantage of being blonde and pretty

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Heck, she’s getting heat over this and she’s not even the one in trouble.

    • Karen says:

      Serena is the best female athlete ever. Not only is she physically amazing, her mental strength has gotten her through many tough matches in addition to being a black woman in a white person’s sport. Even with Maria’s drug enhancenents she has choked on many occasions. She has also been nasty to Serena revealing to the public Serena’s relationship with her coach when it was obvious they wanted to keep it private.

      I do believe Maria’s coaches and trainers dropped the ball on this one. All of her sponsors are dropping her. I always thought she was meh and just a pretty face. I have been a tennis fan for years and she is not,memorable. Williams sisters, Graf, Monica Seles, Martina, Chris Evert, Billie Jean, etc are the greats.

  20. Robin says:

    Well, if she’s suspended that means we won’t have to listen to her ridiculous shrieking for awhile.

  21. Jsilly4e says:

    I’m just a nobody. I’m a stay at home mom and I work out occasionally. However, I see several different doctors for a small auto immune disease I have. And all my doctors, primary, ophthalmologist, rheumatologist, allergist, dermatologist, etc. know what vitamins I’m taking, what prescriptions I’m taking. I have to update my list every time I go see a doctor. It’s up to me to know and inform them and for them to let me know if j shouldn’t be mixing a drug or supplement. You’re going to tell me nobody on her team knew? She didn’t know? She’s in a sport where they will do drug testing and she just pops pills in her mouth all willy nilly? Nobody opened that list in the email? Nobody? And she’s based in the U.S. now, no? Isn’t it already banned in the U.S.? So I don’t understand the “oh I feel sorry for her.”

  22. feebee says:

    Firstly, it wasn’t just for a Magnesium deficiency, she also said she had irregular EKGs and a family history of diabetes. Secondly, totally with you on the strangeness of the carpet judgement, like, Maria, you’re here to admit to doping, you don’t get to judge the carpet today.

    Everyone can get caught out by a change every now and again but there are so many problems with this:
    1) She is a professional athlete
    2) Everything she ingests especially “medications” should be triple checked regularly
    3) She is based in the US but doesn’t have an American doctor? Not one who could advise her?
    4) She must have known it wasn’t available here and there was a reason for that.
    5) Drugs don’t get banned overnight. Either she or her doctor should have been aware the drug was under review.
    6) Read your f**king emails
    7) What the hell is her management team doing?
    8) Given the Russian athletics team has been suspended en masse because of doping and the recent betting scandal in tennis you would think that tennis players and Russian athletes might be trying to be a little more careful.
    9) She’s been taking this for 10 years, so since she was 18, hmmm. Ten years of listening to commentators marvel at her endurance/ability to never give less than 100% or give up till the last point.
    10) The WTA need to step up it’s game here. I would be requesting a medication list from all players pronto. Obviously the players needs to be protected from themselves.

    This press conference was a PR move – an attempt to get out in front of the story, given on the same day Peyton (ugh) Manning was announcing his retirement. Not an accident.

    Tennis officials fell for Agassi’s oopsie claim years ago but times have changed. If she doesn’t receive a 1-2 year ban (2 years is standard practice) then tennis officials can expect a rather large side eye.

    • spidey says:

      “This press conference was a PR move – an attempt to get out in front of the story, given on the same day Peyton (ugh) Manning was announcing his retirement. Not an accident.”

      Course it was that is why she came on looking below par and not up to her usual sexy standard.

    • spidey says:

      “This press conference was a PR move – an attempt to get out in front of the story, given on the same day Peyton (ugh) Manning was announcing his retirement. Not an accident.”

      Course it was that is why she came on looking below par and not up to her usual sexy standard.

    • spidey says:

      Sorry about the duplication.

  23. anne_000 says:

    As a professional for so many years, she would have known that she’d have to keep herself continually informed with every list of newly banned drugs that comes out, especially if this med she was taking was also known as a performance enhancing drug. For all the tens of millions she was getting, she could have hired someone whose primary job was to keep up-to-date on each new banned list and inform her a.s.a.p. She should have done her due diligence, especially since it would cost her so much, that is, if she truly is innocent, which I don’t think she is 100%.

    • anne says:

      yes. i agree it’s her responsibility to be thorough about those things. she’s said she knew the drug by one name and the notification of banned substances used a different name for it. take that for what you will. . . .:(

  24. Tessd says:

    I wonder when the doctors prescribing illegal meds will start being held accountable? She was taking this medication her doctor prescribed her fully believing it was Ok to do.

    • Merritt says:

      Why would the doctor be in trouble here? The drug is not illegal. Unless this was an official team doctor, then it is not their responsibility to keep up with sports regulations. There are several drugs that are perfectly legal, but are banned for competitive athletes. Furosemide for example. It is a common drug for people with heart failure, and it is legal. But it is banned for competitive athletes due to its potential to mask performance enhancing drugs.

      • perplexed says:

        Isn’t the drug illegal in the US? Someone said it wasn’t approved by the FDA. She may have gotten the drug from a Russian doctor though (in that, I think the drug is legal over there).

        Nonetheless, I think there are some doctors that specifically work towards the enhancement of athletes’s natural abilities (i.e Lance Armstrong’s doctor). I think they get dealt with in some capacity, but somehow keep on truckin’.

      • TessD says:

        @Merritt – so her doctor didn’t know she is an athlete and just continued prescribing her the meds? How convenient!

      • Merritt says:

        @Perplexed

        Has it been verified whether the drug was prescribed to her in the US or in Eastern Europe?

        There is a difference between illegal and not approved by the FDA. A lot of supplements that are OTC are also not approved by the FDA.

        @TessD It would be helpful if you actually read what I wrote before getting on your high horse. If the doctor who prescribed this drug was not a sports medicine specialist (which seems unknown at this point), then why would they be up to date on sports doping regulation? As I said, a drug that is banned for a competitive athlete is not necessarily banned to the general population. It is the responsibility of the athlete and their team to be up to date on doping regulations. Sharapova either wasn’t up to date on regulations or didn’t think she would fail the test, take your pick.

      • perplexed says:

        “Has it been verified whether the drug was prescribed to her in the US or in Eastern Europe?”

        I have no idea. I can’t find verification — I was just speculating. People have been claiming that a lot of Eastern European athletes use this medication.

      • may23 says:

        @Merritt it’s unlikely she would intentionally choose a “regular” doctor over a “sports” one. And even if she had started taking the meds prescribed to her by the “regular” doctor at the very beginning of her career, I bet she began seeing a “sports” doctor at some point. To assume he or she were unaware of the meds Maria had been taking at the time is silly.

      • JaneS says:

        She claimed it was her ‘family’ doctor. Basically trying to shift the blame away from the sports doctors to the local General Practitioner who was only prescribing the drug for her health problems.

        The press conference was a masterclass in PR. The clothes. The makeup. The grasping of her wrists and furtive bows and upwards glances. She was playing the role of the innocent ingenue who has walked down to the local doctors for the last ten years to get her diabetes medication and had no idea.

  25. Bros says:

    Tag Heuer and porsch also dropped their negotiations with her.

  26. RJ says:

    As an aside, she’s only 28 yrs old? Yikes.

    If the whole disgusting Lance Armstrong debacle has taught pro athletes anything about getting busted, it should be to just be truthful once caught. The only way to stop doping/cheating in sports is for everyone to be completely honest about what really goes on behind the scenes. A level playing field can only be achieved when the entire training and competing process is 100% transparent, but corporate sponsors $$$$ won’t allow that because fans want their superheroes to be superhuman.

  27. anne says:

    After watching the Lance Armstrong debacle, all I have to say is GOOD ON HER FOR ADMITTING it and taking responsibility for her choices. That’s all I ask for. //

    I had seen the headlines elsewhere, but this is my first time reading her explanation – it sounds innocuous enough to me.

    Also –
    “But if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would not be in this downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.”

    I love this.

    • anne says:

      [EDIT] ok, I’ve read more on the story now and I suspect she’s knowingly been using the drug for its performance enhancing properties. I’m very surprised she continued using it after January 2016 – I don’t buy that she was unaware of it’s new classification – not a pro athlete with a team behind her.

      Still, I’m glad she got ahead of the story.

  28. Pumpkin Pie says:

    I doubt she didn’t know about the performance enhancing properties of that drug. At the level she plays, and she’s been playing for a very long time, she has to know. She. Has. To.
    Having read more coverage on this, I find her “health excuses” totally dishonest and so is the “justification” that the drug was not on the banned list. About the doctor, I am quite confident that not family doctors prescribe medication to athletes – again, at her level – sport plus commercial image. The cheek. I can’t believe this.

  29. sooo this is a note for sponsors and the like….. when you try to force a so so shady ball rude athlete down the people’s throat due to race and her “mass appeal” something will always come out in the LIGHT

    ::: I’m enjoying THIS TEA with Serena::::: #tasty

  30. Smoothie says:

    It’s a constant battle for the authorities. All these new drugs that you’ve never even heard of and weird combinations that can enhance. How are they to test, really? It’s a catch-up game. She and people like her have a whole team of enablers who want to make cash off her success too. Personally I find sports and the Olympics very shady in most cases. I mean, with something like golf it’s less so.

  31. Emily C. says:

    All I can do is sit here boggling that Williams has fewer sponsorships than Sharapova.

    • Smoothie says:

      What about Anna Kournikova? She never won a single grand slam in her life and pocketed tens of millions from endorsements. Being traditionally photogenic and fitting the white, blonde mould helps sell tennis shoes.

  32. Patty says:

    Not surprised, but only because nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to doping in sports. I’d be surprised and shocked if this happened to Roger Federer, and that’s about it. On a side and shallow note, I’ve never thought she was pretty. But to each their own.

  33. NeNe says:

    What exactly is the drug she took? What does it do?