Maria Sharapova Releases Statement To Correct The Media And Explain “The Facts”
by Staff | March 11th, 2016, 6:53 pm
  • 44 Comments

After a week of endless stories from the press over her doping announcing, Maria Sharapova has released a statement wanting to set the record straight specifically on the number of times she had been warned about meldonium being added to the banned list.

Her statement which she posted on Facebook this afternoon is below:

I want to reach out to you to share some information, discuss the latest news, and let you know that there have been things that have been reported wrong in the media, and I am determined to fight back.

You have shown me a tremendous outpouring of support, and I’m so grateful for it. But I have also been aware that some – not all, but some – in the media distort, exaggerate and fail to accurately report the facts about what happened.

A report said that I had been warned five times about the upcoming ban on the medicine I was taking. That is not true and it never happened.

That’s a distortion of the actual “communications” which were provided or simply posted onto a webpage.

I make no excuses for not knowing about the ban. I already told you about the December 22, 2015 email I received. Its subject line was “Main Changes to the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme for 2016.” I should have paid more attention to it.

But the other “communications”? They were buried in newsletters, websites, or handouts.

On December 18, I received an email with the subject line “Player News” on it. It contained a newsletter on a website that contained tons of information about travel, upcoming tournaments, rankings, statistics, bulletin board notices, happy birthday wishes, and yes, anti-doping information. On that email, if a player wanted to find the specific facts about medicine added to the anti-doping list, it was necessary to open the “Player News” email, read through about a dozen unrelated links, find the “Player Zone” link, enter a password, enter a username, read a home screen with more than three dozen different links covering multiple topics, find the “2016 Changes to Tennis Anti-Doping Program and Information” link, click on it and then read a page with approximately three dozen more links covering multiple anti-doping matters. Then you had to click the correct link, open it up, scroll down to page two and that’s where you would find a different name for the medication I was taking.

In other words, in order to be aware of this “warning”, you had to open an email with a subject line having nothing to do with anti-doping, click on a webpage, enter a password, enter a username, hunt, click, hunt, click, hunt, click, scroll and read. I guess some in the media can call that a warning. I think most people would call it too hard to find.

There was also a “wallet card” distributed at various tournaments at the beginning of 2016, after the ban went into effect. This document had thousands of words on it, many of them technical, in small print. Should I have studied it? Yes. But if you saw this document (attached), you would know what I mean.

Again, no excuses, but it’s wrong to say I was warned five times.

There was also a headline that said, “4-6 Weeks Normal Treatment for Drug in Maria Sharapova Case.” That headline has been repeated by many reporters who fail to tell their viewers and readers what the rest of the story says. The story quotes the manufacturer of my medicine as saying: “Treatment course can be repeated twice or thrice a year. Only physicians can follow and evaluate patient’s health condition and state whether the patient should use meldonium for a longer period of time.”

That’s exactly what I did. I didn’t take the medicine every day. I took it the way my doctor recommended I take it and I took it in the low doses recommended.

I’m proud of how I have played the game. I have been honest and upfront. I won’t pretend to be injured so I can hide the truth about my testing.

I look forward to the ITF hearing at which time they will receive my detailed medical records.

I hope I will be allowed to play again. But no matter what, I want you, my fans, to know the truth and have the facts.

- Maria

From the statement, it’s unclear if Sharapova’s “fight back” over these erroneous reports is just this statement or if she will pursue legal avenues against these news organizations.

What is clear is that Sharapova will remain out of action as she battles this case in private against the anti-doping officials.

Sharapova curiously added this line, “I won’t pretend to be injured so I can hide the truth about my testing”, which might raise and eyebrow or two in the tennis community and in locker rooms.


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44 Comments for Maria Sharapova Releases Statement To Correct The Media And Explain “The Facts”

Lodhi Says:

Maria strikes back ! Time for skeezer to strike back again !


Markus Says:

There is no reason for skeezer to strike back. Maria is simply singing her siren song. So far, she has been successful because many are falling under her spell.

I would not be surprised if Maria gets only a slap wrist verdict. She’s famous, she’s pretty, she’s blonde and blue-eyed backed up by big wealthy corporations with very smart PR people and spin doctors.

I have said enough on this subject. It will actually be nice to see her play again…and be slapped silly by Serena over and over again. I hope that by then she has found a new medicine for her heart disease and her “family predisposition” to diabetes.


chrisford1 Says:

Sharapova curiously added this line, “I won’t pretend to be injured so I can hide the truth about my testing”, which might raise and eyebrow or two in the tennis community and in locker rooms.
=======
Yes it will. Yes it will!


jane Says:

cf1, i assumed she was referring to the cilic incident with that statement. do you think she’s referring to someone else?


Wog Boy Says:

jane,

I think she is referring to someone that “supported” her yesterday, someone that often raises one of his eyebrow, I just love her atitude, she doesn’t hold back, she speaks her mind, she returns the fire and she is a fighter. Respect Maria and good luck, I am not one of your fans that you are referring to, but I am on your side in this battle, win or lose you kept your head high, took it on the chin and fight.


jane Says:

wog boy, i guess you mean rafa?

you’ll appreciate venus response. i’ve always liked venus; she’ll be sorely missed when she retires

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CdUdE7OUIAA5ZDA.jpg:large


Wog Boy Says:

Nice words from Venus, really nice.


skeezer Says:

Again…Lodhi only posts to give me attention. I am loved. Thank you. You’re bait always tastes like Caviar.
—-
Kudos to Maria for fighting back. Had posted on another thread that we have yet to hear all of the story from both sides, and she struck first..well after I mean. The battle has begun. Just know that she has admitted to taking it after Jan 1 and she did in fact receive notice just like everyone else did. And she wasn’t the only one who got multiple warnings, even though she claims it was hard to find, I don’t see anyone else complaining ( yet ). Am sure we’ll hear a lot more on all this ….
As far as a potential ban…agree with Markus….and I would be shocked because of her stature if the ban lasts past USO.


George Says:

I am pleased that HEAD and Sharapova have a go at WADA. I particularly liked HEAD statement requesting WADA to present scientific evidence that provided bases for inclusion of this compound on the list.


madmax Says:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/11/opinions/maria-sharapova-banned-drug-vox/

Really great report. I mean, REALLY great. Addresses many of the issues, doubts and discussions we have all been having.

Good luck Maria!


madmax Says:

I would like to ask the tennis community here, who governs WADA ?


madmax Says:

George Says:
I am pleased that HEAD and Sharapova have a go at WADA. I particularly liked HEAD statement requesting WADA to present scientific evidence that provided bases for inclusion of this compound on the list.

March 12th, 2016 at 2:26 am

Completely agree George. It is really important I feel.

It is obvious that Maria is talking about Rafa. Why would it be Cilic, he has not been in the news about this recently. Rafa has, and has made it very clear.

It is such a plot, that gets thicker and thicker.


George Says:

@madmax: Article you provided is spot on. WADA is out control and they don’t know what they are doing. A scientific journal that you can’t access in this day and age is not a recognised scientific journal, i.e. a journal on established scientific journals lists. Every paper in any recognised scientific journal is published after peer-review and editorial assessment (purpose is to check methodology, originality, robustness of data, data interpretation etc.). The quality of peer-review process determines the value of the journal and it usually goes along with the journal impact (measured by the impact factor). Uncovering an increase in physical endurance by any compound is quite a big deal in medicine as it could be used in people where such increase is desirable like in cancer patients, older people (sarcopenia)etc. Thus,if such paper provides proper evidence, it is always published in well-respected, high impact, journal. As every scientist aims to publish in as high impact as possible journal, publication in low-impact or no-impact (there are some journals usually from less developed countries that are not on international journals lists) journals usually indicate that the published study is not that reliable.


skeezer Says:

WADA this WADA that. Has anyone read the plethora of comments from the players? Most are very diligent about getting info from WADA and obeying. I am not reading from players how bad WADA is. Most players know its their responsibilty to abide by the rules and have no issue with it other than the some of the inconvenient times they get tested. Want to play professional sports where you get paid to play? Be prepared to get tested.
—-
“..requesting WADA to present scientific evidence”
Am sure that is coming…


Van Persie Says:

If Maria and her team are sure, thag they have a sttong case, it is their right to have a trial and to ask for a minor penalty.
I am not so sure, that there is much transparency with those letters, which the players receive from ITF, with the test results. Nothing is made public…
Do not think that this WADA is so perfect…

Maria, good luck!


Van Persie Says:

Correction: strong case


George Says:

@skeezer: Do you think that HEAD would request WADA to produce scientific evidence if they thought that such evidence exists? See http://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/11/opinions/maria-sharapova-banned-drug-vox/).


skeezer Says:

George,
And who says HEAD is not corrupt, I mean what do they know about the PED’s? That is WADA’s forte, HEAD’s interest is in selling HEAD products, and protecting their interests from therein.
ok..ok..j/k.
Let’s put it this way, if WADA eventually does not have significant evidence that this drug is a PED, then your theory will be correct. that is WADA has no idea how to run the ship then as you say. Either way, Maria, the sport, and WADA are on full exposure here and what results out of this imho will be good for tennis. I tend to lean toward the reaction of the players, after all, it’s their sport, and they have defended the process mostly so far.


Van Persie Says:

@George

Even if HEAD would request, and even if WADA would produce scientific evidence, would you trust it ? considering that WADA needs to justify itself… see the link below to have a sense of how Pharmaceutical companies market their product thru Fraud… Why wouldn’t WADA use the same strategy in order to knock them down? (by this i mean financing some academic papers….)

http://www.ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_what_doctors_don_t_know_about_the_drugs_they_prescribe


jalep Says:

An interesting documentary (made in Germany). It aired on March 6 – a day before Sharapova’s announcement? The part about Meldonium starts at 6 minutes in…

http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/Sport-inside/Doping-top-secret-Russia-s-red-herrin/WDR-Fernsehen/Video?bcastId=1493328&documentId=33992110

I couldn’t be further from anti-Russian, btw, and certainly geographically the drug would be more accessible in that region, but that doesn’t mean it not accessible world-wide in the 21st century. A quick online search had me finding a website to buy it. You need a doctor to prescribe it but I’m sure that can be arranged. Might be expensive.

Imo, it’s a PED. It’s not a PED when given for patient’s needing it for its original indications. It’s a PED given to athletes and soldiers.

I imagine the crack-down on Meldonium does coincide or the ban was timed neatly with this being an Olympic year.

Where Sharapova’s case is concerned, I can’t believe her story for a number of reasons but I’m keeping an open an interested mind. Certainly can’t single her out to vilify or wish her ill will.


Okiegal Says:

I can certainly understand getting to the “real” e-mail she should have read. Heck, you get the same nonsense on a telephone call to insurance companies, medi-care, social security etc. It can get very frustrating and wear down a person’s patience. But no excuses for Maria from Jan 1st forward……Even if she did use them as a PED, she was legal for the ten years…..Anyone who is accusing her of cheating before Jan. 1 is out of line. I personally can not stand to hear her screeching on court but she doesn’t deserve the backlash for what she did for the past 10 yrs…..it was legal…..


madmax Says:

skeezer Says:
WADA this WADA that. Has anyone read the plethora of comments from the players? Most are very diligent about getting info from WADA and obeying. I am not reading from players how bad WADA is. Most players know its their responsibilty to abide by the rules and have no issue with it other than the some of the inconvenient times they get tested. Want to play professional sports where you get paid to play? Be prepared to get tested.
—-
“..requesting WADA to present scientific evidence”
Am sure that is coming…

March 12th, 2016 at 9:32 am

Skeezer, yes. She has admitted she made a huge mistake. She should have checked her email and followed the labryinth of links to get to the what ITF or WADA were saying.

WADA ya know? she didn’t.

She does not strike me as a drug cheat skeezer. She strikes me as someone who has been in a routine, LEGALLY for 10 years and then, literally, all of a sudden, it became ILLEGAL.

It is going to be one that divides the tennis community.


madmax Says:

Whhoops…something went wrong with copying Oki’s post!


Van Persie Says:

This is the list of prohibited stimulants:
http://list.wada-ama.org/list/s6-stimulants/

And this is an article from Rice University Texas:
http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/caffeine.html
Take a look at Caffeine and Athletic Performance paragraph…. I guess it should be banned as well…. Not to say about all the natural stimulants found in various fruit and seeds…..


Van Persie Says:

I also have the opinion, that Maria was “illegal” since 01.01.2016,do not consider her a cheat for her entire career (even if I do not like her).


jane Says:

well maria will have to serve a ban because she had a banned substance in her test. how long will depend on a number of factors.

meldonium may well go from MED to PED but at what point does it cross over?

it depends on how often it’s taken and dosage i’d imagine?

so WADA will have to supply that information – from their research – and maria will have to supply her medical records.

two things could work in her favour lessening the penalty:
first, if her dosage was way lower than what’s needed for this drug to actually be considered performance enhancing. second, if she included the drug on his list at the australian open.

the first thing would suggest it couldnt actually do anything of note in terms of performance (the one NYTs article actually said it can hinder performance in some cases), and the second thing would suggest she truly was oblivious.

—————————————

skeezer, actually many of the players have said they are utterly paranoid to ingest anything beyond aspirin. so i am not sure that suggests the system is working.

for example, players now known a drug could have 2 different names (as is the case with meldonium) and an athlete could thus accidentally ingest something from over-the-counter without intent or knowledge.

many of them don’t even feel they can take vitamins.

it’s all a bit totalitarian. seriously? you can’t take a vitamin b because it might be “contaminated”? that’s what i have read.

and many of the players have said they don’t read the WADA emails; they count on their teams to do that for them and to let them know what’s up. what if a player doesn’t have team who can read all the emails and fine print? what if someone in the team misses something? careers can rest on this stuff…

it seems clear that there needs to be better communication. novak suggested that the ATP could possibly be an intermediate between WADA & the players, in order to ensure they have understood all the information they need. perhaps there needs to be more transparency and openness?


Okiegal Says:

@madmax…..We agree…..no harm in that!! LOL

@Van Persie……We do too!!


jane Says:

^ sorry for typos


Okiegal Says:

I think this whole drug “deal” is very odd. I mean, it has taken all these many years to figure out that it is a PED???? Is there a slacker out there not doing their job??? LOL Would Maria not have won her slams had it not been for meldonium?? I seriously doubt it…..


jalep Says:

Hajo Seppelt’s latest documentary, which aired on Sunday, focused on Russian Athletes doping with meldonium.

Hajo Seppelt ‏@hajoseppelt Mar 8
English version of @WDR @ARD_Presse @sportschau 3rd doping documentary “RUSSIA’S RED HERRINGS” also on YouTube: http://youtu.be/2XGVKE3yrXs

Hajo Seppelt is a journalist, author and expert on doping in German sport.

The part about Meldonium starts at the 6 minute mark of the video. This is timely .


jane Says:

those evil russians…
that speed walking is so weird.
i could never watch it!


jalep Says:

Those evil Russians isn’t the point, imo. It’s the timing of all of this — an Olympic year. The ban of Meldonium, January 1st. The investigation into Meldonium as a PED widely used was started a couple of years ago, at least.

Sharapova is, in a way a victim, if anything, sure. I feel bad for her getting caught up in this, in a way. In a way, not.


jane Says:

yeah, true. maybe not… but many the articles and videos seem to imply that. not you jalep! and i too feel bad for her and also not. she’s taken responsibility and will take a ban.

here’s an interesting point

“Because the literature on meldonium looks promising for various disease states, I wondered why we haven’t seen efforts to bring it into the United States. Blame geopolitics; its creators lived in the USSR state of Latvia at a time when the Cold War divided Russian medicine from Western medicine.”

i suspect this “divide” still exists.

not sure if this article has been posted but it’s quite detailed:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/opinions/maria-sharapova-banned-drug-vox/

i actually think all of this – the case and its fallout – could be good in the long run, in improving transparency etc., not only by players but governing bodies also.

we’ll have to see!


Lodhi Says:

Skeezer: Please wait for Ben to post. Your posts look visually prettier if they are right below Ben. Keep up the good work !


skeezer Says:

“i actually think all of this – the case and its fallout – could be good in the long run, in improving transparency etc., not only by players but governing bodies also.”
Yep, agree.
But betcha Maria’s probably not happy that she is involved in it.


MMT Says:

What’s disturbing about this is that these stories, about being warned 5 times and the treatment is only 4-6 weeks – reporters don’t come up with this kind of thing on their own. Someone is planting the seed, and the question is why? Why is it necessary to build a case against Sharapova in the court of public opinion?

My guess is that there is a desire to ban her, it’s not a strong case to do so, and they want to make it seem stronger than it is, so as not to appear capricious, opportunistic and phony. I suspect that the reason for these plants and that doesn’t bode well for Sharapova. Perhaps a decision has already been made and they’re laying the groundwork.

What I can’t understand is why? Why are they killing a cash cow for women’s tennis? Is the temptation to have tennis appear clean and simultaneously tough on doping so strong that the will cut their noses of despite their faces?

That’s what I don’t get.


jane Says:

well, WADA got a lot of funding to do research into this drug, so busting a big name like sharapova makes it all worthwhile, not to mention the fact that it takes some of the heat off WADA & the ITF for the recent accusations of not doing enough to keep the sport clean. for them, it seems to be a win-win situation. besides which, there are plenty of other “cash cows” — both on the women’s and the men’s side of the court.


Wog Boy Says:

Just thinking, not that I am good at it, what is the procedure to declare one substance PED, scientific research with absolutely positive results that certain substance is PED?
If that’s the case and WADA comesout short with that or Sharapova and her team do independent research in proper registred place, they might sue WADA. All what I read so far is that they did something like 10.000 anonymous tests and found that 2% were using meldonium therefore they declared it PED. Unless they come out with properly sanctioned research Maria and her team including “corrupted” HEAD can sue their a$$ off.


Tennisfan Says:

I don’t doubt there are opportunistic people making up stories and selling them to the press. With any high-profile issue like this you have to take everything you read with a grain of salt. The media don’t care for top stars like Maria more than they do for anyone else- they just want stories that will sell; and nothing sells more than a good scandal.


MMT Says:

jane: by our analysis the leaks are coming from WADA in which case they have no interest in the best interest of the game – like all international organizations their interest is in their own existence, with the illusion of making some positive impact.

The weakness of the case makes it clear they are doing no such thing. Busting athletes that aren’t trying to cheat is the tail wagging the dog and a waste of everyone’s time. Real cheaters are out there getting away with it, meanwhile someone like Sharapova is just a big punching bag making some idiots that aren’t doing their job look like they deserve to exist.

The stupidity continues.


J-Kath Says:

There’s about 3 separate articles re. Maria if anyone interested.

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016

“Whatever Maria Sharapova’s defence, meldonium is banned with good reason”

so says “Sports Medic”


J-Kath Says:

@ Wogboy

7 minutes to go Scotland v France (6 nations) – score currently: Sc. 26 – Fr. 18.


Margot Says:

@kath
Well done Scotland! Yay! Really good match I thought. If only they’d played liked that against the “auld enemy!”

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