Maria Sharapova Takes The Blame For Failed Drug Test, Will She Also Take The Fall?

by Sean Randall | March 8th, 2016, 5:11 pm

Many of you wanted heads on a stick. Well, now you got one. Yesterday, the much-maligned anti-doping program snared its biggest catch yet, global superstar Maria Sharapova.

In a surprise press conference at an LA hotel, Sharapova confessed that she messed up. The 5-time Grand Slam champion who seems to be always in control of the things she can control like press conferences, like her words, like her sponsors, like those around her, failed to click an email link that would have told her a drug she had been taking for the last 10 years including during the Australia Open – meldonium – was prohibited.

One single missed click. And now look at the damage. Sharapova’s life and legacy may never be the same. Maybe even tennis as a sport.

I won’t get into the specifics of the drug or why she was using it – used for those with heart conditions I’ve read – the key here is that failed to read that email. And, as she admits, that’s 100% on her.

Sharapova’s troupe of lawyers will argue medical reasons and whatnot for the usage of the drug, but the fact remains other players read that email, why didn’t she?

So she’s going to get hit and not just in the wallet which is already happening. And word is it could be up to a four-year ban. I don’t think it will go that long but Sharapova’s going to miss significant time – at least a year minimum I think.

Rules are rules and the argument that you didn’t read them just doesn’t fly in cases like this. If you are worth millions, if you are among the top female athletes in the world, you have to know what you are putting in your body. So that’s on you for being negligent.

And with Sharapova’s 29th birthday coming up in April, she’s not going to have much time left in tennis – let’s be honest, most thought this was a retirement press conference, anyway!

That said, I give her credit for coming out ahead of the ITF and for being forthright, but again, as she said she made a “mistake” there will be consequences.

Sharapova will now meet with the doping officials who will weigh her arguments and based on that issue a ruling hopefully by the French. Sharapova then has the option to appeal, but I just don’t see any chance this gets dismissed or with a short, slap-on-the-wrist type of suspension. Tennis has to deal with this just like any other case. She can’t be held to a different standard.

So Maria’s going down. It’s just a question of how far down she goes and if she can get back up. And how of much of tennis, women’s especially, gets dragged down with her.

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82 Comments for Maria Sharapova Takes The Blame For Failed Drug Test, Will She Also Take The Fall?

Roger Nadal Says:

Sharapova and 2 other Russian athletes have now tested for this banned drug, so no I do not think it was taken for reasons other than to enhance performance. I will not miss her disgraceful unapologetic lack of sportsmanship of screaming down all opponents and turning her back on the serving player. (Plus, she has not hit a volley in 10 years either)

MMT Says:

What exactly is the purpose of anti-doping? Is it to catch people who don’t read emails, or people who are trying to cheat? I think it’s obviously the latter, and I think it’s just as obvious that she does not fall in that category.

After all, if she knew it was banned and was trying to cheat, would she admit to taking it for 10 years? That would mean she was admitting to cheating for 10 years – hardly a defense for someone who’s implied that she wasn’t cheating.

I think there is a temptation to ignore rational analysis and jump on this as an opportunity to insist that anti-doping in tennis is “working”. This proves the exact opposite: far from catching cheaters who are intentionally taking substances they know are illegal to gain a competitive advantage.

That’s not an excuse to escape a sanction or citation, but to me anyone insisting that she should be banned for a lengthy period is falling for an illusion about anti-doping in tennis hook, line and sinker.

jane Says:

mmt, i am inclined to agree with you that the system isn’t working or is questionable. i am not saying maria is “innocent” just that this is not an indication of “oh look, our system is working and we’ll take down the biggest stars”. what i can’t figure out is that if this drug was known to “enhance performance” for years, why are wada only cracking down on it now? they’re a 25 million dollar body; surely they could’ve investigated this sooner.

sean says humourly but aptly “Yesterday, the much-maligned anti-doping program snared its biggest catch yet, global superstar Maria Sharapova.”

they have indeed been “much maligned”, taking the heat for supposedly not catching cheaters, not cracking down, etc… lots of negative press and innuendos.

but bow they have a big “catch” as sean says.

does this mean the floodgates are open?
is she a scapegoat, and now wada can be smug?
or was this just an effort to target this one drug in particular and back up their funding/research, which has been well documented?

i don’t know how it’ll play out, but it’s certainly piqued my curiosity about all involved – not just the players but the governing bodies as well.

RZ Says:

I feel like there’s a lot we don’t know here, and a lot we probably won’t ever know, like whether Sharapova and/or her team knew that this drug had performance-enhancing properties (even if it was not on the banned list for the last 10 years).

Wog Boy Says:

You know what is funny in all of this, that people are talking about Maria having unfair advantage over others for using this thing over last 10 years. Why is it unfair advantage when it was legal, meaning everybody could’ve used it and they might as well used them, we don’t know since nobody was tested for it since it was legal. She was careless enough not to check her email properly and she will pay the price for that, fair enough, but unfair advantage with something that is legal and everybody is allowed to use it, come on, be serious.

chrisford1 Says:

MMT – It turns out Sharapova DECLARED she was taking it by doctors prescription on her ENTRY MEDICAL PAPERWORK for the 2016 Australian Open.
And has paperwork from all her past tournaments saying it was something she was taking.
Hard to call something cheating when all the cards are face up.
So far we have:
*A year off for Troiki being clean but along with test doctor stupidity, thinking he could get a waiver on blood testing because he was having a needlephobia attacked…a delay because he was blood tested the next morning.
*Serena getting a pass by locking herself in a panic room when drug testers unexpectedly showed up. No test, no direct refusal face to face, so no foul.
*Marin Cilic for trusting his mom and having a quantity his lawyers found and ITF then admitted, was actually lower than the number set to define a failed test.
*Hingis and Gasquet for cocaine levels at the barely detectable level. But at a zero tolerance for any level criteria, later modified to a threshold. (It was so low that for Gasquet, he could have shown levels from kissing just one of the several ‘coke’ models he kissed at a party.)

*A few nabbed struggling players far from the top players WADA wants the head of at least one such superstar.

*And Maria’s declared use isn’t close to making the level of the “smoking gun dirty tennis superstar” WADA wants.

Okiegal Says:

Regarding Gasquet….I am inclined to believe he did some serious French kissing at the that party……. :)

Okiegal Says:

@Wog Boy 8:34…..Exactly, it was a legal substance…..

Wog Boy Says:

“MMT – It turns out Sharapova DECLARED she was taking it by doctors prescription on her ENTRY MEDICAL PAPERWORK for the 2016 Australian Open.
And has paperwork from all her past tournaments saying it was something she was taking.”

CF1, where did you get that one from? In that case she has a huge argument that it was an honest mistake, very careless one though.

jane Says:

wog boy, that’s true. this drug was legal until january 1st so until it was declared illegal she “technically” wasn’t doing anything “wrong.” if what cf1 says is true, that she declared this on her AO papers, it’s crazy how oblivious that sounds.

are wada doing an adequate job of informing players?

there are so many things that could be considered or labeled “unfair advantages” too: from time-wasting; to big teams, super coaches & expert trainers; through good schedules & byes; to break-through medical techniques (some of which may’ve been declared illegal retroactively: blood spinning? stem cells?); to hyperbarric chambers (used by many players at one time or another, including the whole spanish DC team) and the egg (which, b.t.w., murray has tried & the bryan bros use, amongst others, not just novak ;)).

so it gets cloudy.

Wog Boy Says:

Okie, I don’t know what “French kissing” means in the States, but I know what it means in Serbia, I don’t think he was doing French kissing, but some serious heavy kissing, yes;)

skeezer Says:

Love to read all the excuses lol. There is no excuse for taking this enhancer for 10 years. Yes others could have taken it, but I don’t see a big list of other players who did, quite the contrary.

Wog Boy Says:

Who is suppose to make that list?

Were they tested for that substance prior January the 1st this year, so they can make the list?

Are the others going to come out and say “I used it too”?

It was legal substance to use it until January 2016, end of story!

MMT Says:

jane (and by implication Sean): I think the anti-doping program should continue to be maligned. They don’t catch cheaters – they catch people who fall-foul of the regulations…those two are not mutually inclusive.

This Sharapova farce, and others like it, leaves the convenient false impression that tennis is tough on doping AND there is no actual doping going on in tennis…because the only ones getting caught are hardly trying to cheat.

The list of players who’ve been snared snared in this absurdity for something other than cheating, is as long as it is comical. I don’t think anyone has intentionally set a trap for Sharapova…that’s just sloppy on the part of her and her “team”, but the result is a convenient, but phony, contradiction of the obvious – tennis is not serious about catching doping cheaters.

I am not going to be a part of that – and I’m no fan of Sharapova’s by the way – for me it’s the principle.

jane Says:

but the point is that the drug wasn’t illegal until january 1st 2016. that’s not really an excuse; it’s a fact. so was taking the drug wrong prior to this year? she was declaring this drug on her paperwork?

in terms of wada’s funded research, which they did in 2015 [even though they supposedly knew/suspected this was a performance enhancing drug long before the research last year]:

“Analysis of 8,300 random, anonymous urine samples collected at doping control sessions revealed that 182 (2.2%) contained the energy-shifting drug mildronate, a substance first discovered and used in the 1980s as a cardioprotective agent. “

Lodhi Says:

Always a pleasure reading skeezer’s comments. Keep em coming !

jane Says:

^ that 9:41 post was more or less in response to your comment skeezer. just saying that i am not making excuses, i am merely noticing all the contradictions and issues with the whole case.

Sean Randall Says:

MMT, the purpose of the anti-doping program is to keep the sport clean. Keep drugs out. Keep the field level so fans can be sure what they are watching is real, and not pro wrestling.

Sharapova will state her case she made a mistake, but in the end she is going to have to own it. And that’s why the officials and bow to her status. Because if players can get a “pass” for not clicking or failing to read the rules, then you don’t have a program.

That simple.

And I would add, here in the U.S. sports like baseball, football, etc are a joke in doping penalties.

I know what you are saying. But do we really know Sharapova wasn’t truly using this drug to cheat??? We don’t. We have her word, but guess what, athletes don’t always tell the truth.

Sean Randall Says:

Jane, very true. If this drug was added to performance, why’d it take so long for it to be banned?

RZ, correct. There’s a lot we don’t know and won’t know until the ruling is made public probably in May.

Wog Boy, right. There was nothing wrong with her taking it before Jan 1. Prior to New Years the point is mute. It was legal!

Bob Lewis Says:

CF1, where did you get your information? If possible, provide a link or some form of backup.

Bob Lewis Says:

Sean, why throw pro wrestling into the conversation? It’s simply a form of entertainment, and the performers suffer as many injuries as the ones in “legit” sports. Go tell Daniel Bryan that his profession is fake.

skeezer Says:

And they were suspicious of this drug by your quotes along time ago.
Ben had said in another thread, that this is a situation where the athletes/docs are ahead of the PED curve, continually coming up with illegal ways to get a performance edge, and the policing is always catching up, I agree.
Furthermore, unless it was medically neccessary for her to take this drug for 10 years(i doubt it) then … Really?

Let me out it another way;
Why aren’t others (who MUST have used it lol ) coming out and giving support to Maria for all the times they took it LEGALLY like her also when it was legal?
Cause they didn’t.

skeezer Says:

Again, as usual, a big thank you for your always intelligent contribution to tennis topics.

jane Says:

it could be skeezer, indeed, but it wasn’t illegal is all. it’s like those PRP injections. they weren’t illegal when players were using them, and for all we know their doctor’s told them it was a cutting edge treatment and only later were more serious ramifications discovered. that new york times link covers some of the ins-and-outs of the legalities of this case. one point that’s interesting is that this recently banned drug is available over-the-counter in some countries. so players have to read the fine print regarding anything they put into their bodies, or someone has to do it for them. sharapova is admitting that at the very least she screwed up in this regard, so there’s going to be a ban. how serious they’ll decide the offense is will determine how long.

skeezer Says:

@Bob Lewis,
You bring up a great point. I have debated with a group before about this. We complain about Baseball and Football (in America) about PED’s, but when your in a stadium and see a guy like Barry Bonds hit a towering blast out of the park everyone is cheering and jumping with excitement. Fans pay to see athletes entertain us. We are the ones;
“Are you not entertained? Is this not why your here?”
What does a fan want and do they really care if they take PED’s or so they want to see the most bang for their buck?
Bring on “The Mountain” some say….

jalep Says:

That’s exactly right, skeezer.

The way it is in cycling. Everyone moralizes and condemns but it’s only a matter of time until they all complaining and missing the good ol’ days when the climbers were on rocket fuel speeding up Angrilu and Alpe d’Huez.

chrisford1 Says:

You kind of wish that eyes had scanned Sharapova’s paperwork that maybe would have caught the prohibited drug and warned her to get out of Dodge ASAP. Pretend a bad ankle sprain happened, Maria, disconsolate, gets on a flight back to the USA in 5-8 hours of getting warned. Nike, Head, Avon, must be doing a faceplant that no one on her large team were watching for any problem with diet, illness, injury, medications….keeping Russian gamblers away, dealing with her pet dogs.
Anything that could distract their big blonde paycheck from playing tennis.
And a righthand person watching the team members were all doing their job.
There are limits to what a celeb working near nonstop except for a down day or two, vacation can do in the way of mastering other tasks. These star tennis people are mostly in their 20s, most missing university to play in the pros. Are they all experts on their taxes, business investments, networking and looking for new contracts? Do they know all the S CAlifornia fire regs, what cannot be thrown out in the garbage, when water use restrictions are in effect? Maintain their website, Facebook, Twitter accounts on their own? Knowing what is the best produce to buy? Setting up a 3-day appearance in Tokyo to push candy, makeup, fragrances, fashion, Nike gear???
You need people for that, and,you need to hire them.
This could be more a team member failure than Sharapova’s. She is of course accountable, but keeping up on all the drug and gambling and house/taxes/business management/travel/health/conditioning??? Most of it has to be delegated.
And of course lower paid tennis stars with no team somehow manage not to mess up. But they live far less busy lives…no packed schedule when off the courts, and they usually are off the courts before the 4th round.

One last observation, and this really sucks for Maria, She was aloof from the rest of the women on TOur and not well liked by many of her opponents for her screaming and other gamesmanship. Even the Russian gals steered clear. So ask yourself, wouldn’t one thing have been communicated like wildfire to the Russian/EastEuropean gal pros that knew one another and the Russian guys and so on – that were likely in some numbers to be taking Meldonium letting their pals know in case they missed it?
“Hey Vika, Svetlana said her doctor in MOscow said they are banning Meldonium but hes trying to find something legal with its benefits? ‘Oh, shit when does it become illegal do I have time to get it out of my system?”
“My doctor says 2 days, plenty of time. But I heard it from my physio who tracks all the WADA stuff before that and he woke me up at 4 AM to tell me.
“What about Petra and Lucie and all the Czech juniors”
“I tweeted Petra..

You know there had to be dozens, and dozens of phone calls every week down through the juniors about a medication used by many suddenly going illegal.
NO one told Sharapova. Splendid in her isolation from the WTA Commonfolk. Not caring at all to be friendly or make friends. And paying a big price for it now. I bet 95% of the other using players found out by word of mouth from team members, coaches, other players. Only a few probably clicked on the email and went “Holy shit!!”< finding out that way.

It did not come down to a mouse click making all the difference. It was hubris, yes hubris that laid the bitch low. She was no ones friend or confidente. She didn’t even rate a neutral party thinking even if SHarapova refuses to talk to them they were obligated…to what…keep her around bashing others off the court, continuing to get away with all her antics?? Nope, no calls to Maria from them, either.

madmax Says:

Sharapova’s lawyer, John J Haggerty, refused to reveal the source of Sharapova’s meldonium, which he described as “an over-the-counter drug” which could be purchased in many countries. “I do want to disabuse the fact that Maria took mildronate every day for 10 years because that’s simply not the case,” he said. “The dosage Maria was taking was substantially less than any dosage that has been linked with the performance-enhancing attributes of mildronate.” Haggerty said Sharapova’s medical records would be shared with the International Tennis Federation and would “make it clear that the medical treatment was necessary and recommended by her doctor”.
He was confident there was “no evidence whatsoever” she had intended to cheat, which would rule out a four-year ban, and said “substantial mitigating factors” justified a ban of “significantly below” the next entry point of two years.
Haggerty refused to reveal whether Sharapova had sought an exemption for her use of it after she learnt of her failed drugs test. Athletes can apply for a backdated therapeutic use exemption after testing positive for banned substances, something which when granted would lead to them avoiding a sanction.

It is just so interesting. The detail really needs to be fine on this one. You cannot compare Sharapova to Ben Johnson, or Justin Gatlin.

She has a case.

MMT Says:

Sean: I think your conclusion is simplistic – nobody is saying that Sharapova hasn’t broken the rules: the positive test makes that obvious. But I don’t think the sport is any cleaner by bringing down the hammer on Sharapova. That’s giving tennis authorities and WADA a pass on profligate testing that clearly does not catch anyone doping.

If she WAS trying to cheat, technically she only did so for 25 days, because the substance was LEGAL for the 10 years she has been taking it. And would she offer as an explanation or context that she’s been taking it for 10 years to bolster her insistence that she WASN’T cheating? That doesn’t make any sense.

This was an error – not cheating. Baying for her blood seems principled, but only if the principle is that the letter of the rules are more important than the intent. That’s a principle, but not one that makes the sport cleaner or makes a lot of sense.

The doping controls are not in place to catch people failing to comply with the controls, they are in place to catch dopers. If she’s not Ben Johnson, or Marion Jones, then why should she treated as if she were? She should be treated like someone who neglected to read an email and continued doing something that was legal for 10 years and had no intention to cheat the game.

I hope that tennis doesn’t take the easy way out, but I am now beginning to fear that they will because the temptation, because of people’s categorical view of this, is overwhelming.

Ben Pronin Says:

Steroids saved baseball.

Is it possible PEDs saved tennis, too?

skeezer Says:

By the way, it wasn’t just her email and “single click missed” as some have mentioned ….according to reports…;

Ahfi Says:

As always, we have to bring in other people’s names to create confusion or justify the unjustifiable.

Let’s wait till we know the whole story. I am sure both Maria and the authorities know what they are doing.

madmax Says:


Fantastic post.


You are just being childish and churlish I feel.

Maria is no cheat. It absolutely makes zero sense. Why would she? She doesn’t need to. She should not be put into the same category as those that took and are taking steroids.

madmax Says:

I am interested to see what Murray, Nadal, Fed and Novak say.

Van Persie Says:


I did read today, that Novak told, he hopes, Maria will get out of this stronger…cannot search the link now, but you can google.

Markus Says:

Maria cheated, plain and simple. She used a drug for which she had no medical indication for. People who think that doctors whose clients are sports elite do not do research to look for drugs that can enhance performance are very naive. The drug that Maria took is known to have been given to the Soviet army in the 1980’s. Don’t you think his Russian doctor who probably lives in Russia and could easily procure the drug which as it happens is not yet on the banned would not take advantage of that?

Well, anyway, without her Meldonium, Maria will not go back to the same level of endurance and power that the medicine afforded her. She might aw well find a hotel with a nice carpet and announce her retirement. That’s punishment enough.

Markus Says:

Oh, and now that Maria is off Meldonium, I wonder what medicine she is on for her “medical” problems. I have a feeling she suddenly got cured.

George Says:

This case demonstrates incompetence of WADA. There is no any scientific evidence that the compound in question have any effect superior to placebo. The WADA justification of putting this on the list is laughable and amateurish (something along lines that “a lot of athletes use it so it must doing something”). The fact that the compound that is few decades on the market is suddenly illegal shows that they just try to justify their existence. Sharapova is guilty of employing people who are not good enough to do their job.

Sean Randall Says:

George, perhaps. Why did they wait this long to put it on the banned list?

MMT, I was being simplistic because it is simple. She admitted to taking a banned drug. End of story.

The fact that she owned it, what she gave as the story behind taking it (which we can only assume is true) will all go toward reducing this to less than 4 years.

But at the end of the day, regardless of what this drug does or doesn’t do or how many times you are or you are not supposed to take it, etc, (I have no idea), Sharapova and other players will stop taking this drug. And that’s the goal, right?

Sean Randall Says:

Ben, steroids did save baseball. That’s a fact.

Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, did you also think Lance Armstrong had no reason to cheat?

“Maria is no cheat. It absolutely makes zero sense. Why would she? She doesn’t need to.”

You’re naive. Plain and simple.

What makes no sense?

Why would she? Why wouldn’t she?

She doesn’t need to… well, wow, this is very debatable and I’ll just say that she does, in fact, need to.

George Says:

@Ben Pronin: Lance has used the real thing. Sharapova used a placebo as Dumbo used his feather to fly.

Ben Pronin Says:

You did the research? You studied the effects of meldonium? You studied them more than WADA did?

I’m not going to pretend like WADA is anything close to a great organization. But I still don’t understand why so many people insist on defending athletes when they’re caught. How many times are we going to be duped? How many times are we going to bury our heads in the sand? No one’s innocent here. If you want to say that a corrupt/incompetent organization shouldn’t have the jurisdiction to bust athletes, that’s one thing. But if you want to claim that the athletes are actually innocent and the victims of this organization, then you’re naive. There are no innocent parties here.

Even IF meldonium is nothing more than a placebo, that still gives the impression that Sharapova was taking it with malicious intent regardless of how she was or wasn’t benefiting.

Lapinroyal Says:

Slobodan Živojinović was very muscular, as is Thomas Muster. Tennis is very different from other sport, as you need more than muscle to get the ball in the tennis court! I would emphasized on technique and mental strength first… then muscle and stamina… What do i know…

you need to play tennis in order to get your meldonium from your GP…

skeezer Says:

“…steroids did save baseball. That’s a fact.”

Saved WWE first.

“Why did they wait this long to put it on the banned list?”
Why does it take so long to get a drug approved by the FDA ( example )

Wog Boy Says:


No luck for me, not because I don’t play tennis, but because yesterday my GP explained me the effects of meldonium regarding sexual performance and other things. I was just curios to know,not that I would use it for that reason, no way;)

Well, what he told me is that the quantity I would have to take in order to improve my, well you no what, would cause my heart failure (certain death) before I would be able to do anything that I intended to do. He told me also that it is know that it was given to bulls to improve their sexual performance, I am no bull, though I BS every now and then..

So sadly, I’ll give it meldonium:(

George Says:

@Ben Pronin: Of course that I did. I am a world renewed scientist in the field.

George Says:

@Ben Pronin: Sure that Sharapova took it with intend to improve performance. Same as everybody else without single exception. There is not a single elite athlete that do not use all legal ways to improve performance. Sharapova’s problem is that those that were responsible to follow up amendments of the list did not do their job.

Wog Boy Says:

Nole did gave his support to Maria, nice words from world numero Uno about Maria, same from Serena, use google translate:

“”Želim joj sve najbolje. Dugo je poznajem, saosećam s njom zbog ove situacije. Nadam se da će izaći jača iz ovoga”, rekao je najbolji teniser sveta.”

I’ll try to translate for you:

“I wish her all the best. I know her for the long time (mat4 believes that you know her too well;), I feel for her, because od this situation. I hope she’ll get out of this stronger”.žio+podršku+Šarapovoj.html

Ben Pronin Says:

George, I agree. I think after this all settles, heads will roll on Team Sharapova.

Wog Boy Says:

It looks like my link stuffed the thread up, sorry:(

Sean, you can delete the link, it was just to back up my post that Nole threw his support behind Maria.

Wog Boy Says:

The very mature and for respect is that Maria didn’t try to blame anybody else (from her team) but took full responsibility. I can only think of what we would read here if she was blaming any of the staff for failure to do his job, for which he is probably more than nicely paid, and failed to deliver.

Lapinroyal Says:

Hehe… Protect your heart my friend! I think that many feel for Maria obvious omission, even Dick Pound.

skeezer Says:

^for George

jane Says:

what’s with this concerted attack on russia? why that country for a specific WADA investigation? why not the UK or USA? or why one specific country in particular? i don’t get it? and it’s even more curious in an olympic year.

Wog Boy Says:


You asked the question and gave the answer at the same time, it is Olympic year.

I never ever, for the split second, was talking or thinking about America when talking about Armstrong or Marion Jones, they are just individuals.

BTW, that drugs are not even produced in Russia, but in EU and NATO MEMBER country, so it is EU problem, not Russian.

jane Says:

it just seems weird right wog boy? why would wada “investigators” target one country? that strikes me as targeted.

maybe there are just too many conspiracy theories floating around in my head these days, lol.

but while i can see them doing a study on one drug, as they did with meladonin, why one country?

skeezer’s link is american, usa today, and cites dick pound [eesh, what an unfortunate name], canadian and former president of WADA, who headed up the russian investigation. it also notes the drug is latvian.

it’s decidedly west/east whether it is coincidental or not. but why is no one investigating the western countries? or is someone?

it should be approached fairly and in a balanced way if they’re so concerned about a level playing field.

jane Says:

oops, i meant to say “that strikes me as strange,” ha ha.

skeezer Says:

“why would wada “investigators” target one country?”
They are not. But It is what it is. You need to take in consideration the history of PEDs and the scope of athletic sports in countries. USA is not exempt by any means, but if you research and read, Russia, and Eastern Europe is front and center.

Margot Says:

There were 5 days between the results of the drug test and Maria’s press conference. Why didn’t her team apply for a TUE?
Apparently the drug is very widely used in the sporting world. A strange preponderance of Angina sufferers then.

skeezer Says:

Btw USA today is citng other sources for their report, so ultimately it did not originate from “American” sources per se..

jane Says:

yeah, i also noted canadian skeezer.

“but if you research and read, Russia, and Eastern Europe is front and center.”

research and read whose work, though? remember that the producers of knowledge colour that knowledge. [look at the research of climate change deniers; look at the research of big pharma]. all the articles we’re posting on here come from a very particular perspective.

and, wow, media is biased! it continually blows me away just how slanted it is. in sports, they love to pump up some players and teams and tear down others, on a regular basis.

this is, in part, about being aware of privileged positions, imo.


margot do we know that they didn’t apply for a therapeutic use exemption?


like i said before, i don’t think sharapova is totally innocent here. but i think there are all sorts of contingencies and exigencies that muddy the waters as to the nature of her guilt.

it’s easy to look at something as good vs evil, cops vs robbers. but things are often more complicated and nuanced.

let’s hypothesize for a moment: let’s say sharapova took this drug since 2006 as she claims. let’s even say she was having immunity issues as she claims. we can give her that, i should think. so how old was she then? 21 years old? her dad was coaching her then, right? let’s say the doctor told her father that this would help his daughter’s health and/or endurance. and that **it was perfectly legal** so there was nothing wrong with it. so he told his daughter to take it, or perhaps the doctor did. does that make her a “cheater”? this is something she’s taken – probably only intermittently based on all i’ve read – for 10 years. no doubt the records show this? surely it may’ve started innocently enough, as the scenario i imagined above suggests. in other words, not as some malicious, underhanded cold-war throwback of evil russian intent? not with crumbling citadels? ;)

rafa said today that he never reads wada emails.
his doctor does.

maybe someone overlooked this in sharapova’s camp but she’s taking the responsibility? or maybe she has no one doing that for her? we’ll never know precisely on that part.

we do know she was taking a legal-turned-banned substance for 25 days after the shift. that’s what we know for sure.

we can say she was a cheater for those 25 days, oblivious or not, because she was doing something illegal in the sport. as for the rest of the time, we can speculate.

Margot Says:

No, we don’t know for sure, but wouldn’t she have said that in her press conference?
Of course, if it was then refused, that would look worse.

Margot Says:

Sorry jane, that was obviously for you. And of course I take your point. You think Maria’s being scapegoated to some extent?
It seems to me “performance enhancing” drug usage is a lot more commom in all sports than we’d like to think.
And, as I said previously to MMT, lines are being blurred and boundaries pushed all the time. And some drugs cleverly mask the existence of worse ones. It is a moral and practical minefield.As medication gets more and more sophisticated I’m not sure it’s a problem that’s easily solved.

Wog Boy Says:

It is obviously what are they applying in these “unbiased” articles, state sponsored doping culture in Russia and Eastern Europe. Well, somebody should tell them that Soviet Union collapsed almost 30 years ago, Warsaw pact doesn’t exist same amount of time, as the matter of fact former members just changed the sides, they are NATO and EU members now, Berlin wall is gone too if they didn’t notice by now, Iron Curtain has been lifted and Cold War is over..or is it?

I noticed with my interaction with namely Americans that their foriegn policy and mentality is still ruled and shaped by Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski doctrine, well, that is their choice.

State sponsored doping doesn’t exist as such in Russia and Eastern Europe for almost 30 years, it is individuals who are to blame regardless of which country they are from, btw, Eastern Europe as such doesn’t exist any more, apart of Russia and few minor countries they are all EU members (and NATO) so they should be called and treated accordingly, EU and western world countries, that includes Latvia that is producing this particular drugs.

Van Persie Says:

…not to forget, that USA has some “anti rocket shields” in some of these “Eastern Europe countries”….sorry to mention this here

Van Persie Says:

God bless America! I can sleep well and feel so well protected!

jane Says:

thanks for clarifying re: EU and eastern europe wog boy. good point. there just seems to be an older perspective that still exists.

agree margot: it’s blurry, complicated, and constantly changing. so like i was implying, maybe when maria first took this medication it was rather wide-eyed and not underhanded. she was just 21 after all. i would’ve listened to my doctor if he said “this is legal and will make you feel healthier and stronger” – esp. if my career hinged on my health.

but as you say, those lines are always shifting, with new research, new regulations, new drugs, different attitudes. and so on… it’s not just on the drug side either. it’s on the classification and taxonomy side. what percentage does a drug have to “enhance performance” to be considered “performance enhancing” anyhow?

and yeah, i do kind of feel she’s serving as a bit of a scapegoat. or i wonder about that at any rate.

i loathe the condescending nature of some of the articles i’ve read on her situation too. just smugness and righteousness pouring forth. sigh…

madmax Says:

Whilst some are turning against her, it is good to see that she has some support.

Rafa though, is right. Whatever the outcome, she has to pay for, the gross neglience of either her team not informing her, or herself for not being as vigilant as she could have been.

It’ just so sad, I feel when things like this happen.

Fellow WTA Tour member Agnieszka Radwanska called it a mistake, but said she could understand how it happened.

“I’m scared because I know every pill can have something [prohibited] in it,” Radwanska said Wednesday during a player roundtable at Indian Wells. “So when I’m sick I’m just taking aspirin because I’m always afraid there’s going to be something else in it [medication].”

Maria Sharapova posted a letter to her personal website thanking fans for their “support and loyalty” in the aftermath of her positive drug test announcement.

“It is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen, but mistakes are there and everyone can make mistakes,” Rafael Nadal said. “I want to believe for sure it was a mistake for Maria, that she didn’t want to do it, but it is a result of negligence.

But the rules are like this, and it’s fair, and now she must pay for it.”

jane Says:

i loathe the condescending nature of some of the articles i’ve read on her situation too. just smugness and righteousness pouring forth. sigh…

March 10th, 2016 at 3:33 am

What do you mean? Which smug articles and stating what? – it seems more are against believing her than believing her from what I have read.

madmax Says:

Jane says:

“we do know she was taking a legal-turned-banned substance for 25 days after the shift. that’s what we know for sure”.

Yeah, for sure Jane. But also, I think that the rules need to be looked at another way.

Usually there is some period of grace for players to know the rules in depth, or may be it should be obligatory, mandatory that ALL ATHLETES have to do some kind of CPD (continuing professional development), where they earn points, as evidence that they are up to date on ALL the laws, regulations, etc., there is the evidence – a marker against their name that they have attended.

Even online courses, where there has to be some kind of evidence to show they have read the information online, or face to face during a training session.

Doctors, Dentists, Solicitors, Teachers, all have to, to keep abreast of the law in their area –

Why not professional athletes.

A period of grace, because let’s face it. 31st December, LEGAL. 1st January, ILLEGAL. 1 day.

There needs to be a period of time to accommodate, illucidate, and inform.

You can’t penalise someone for taking something that was legal, then all of a sudden becomes illegal within 24 hours – that is just insanity ruling.

WADA and the ITF also need to sort out their act in this way.

Force Athletes to do these courses, otherwise they are ‘struck off’ the tour, like other professionals in their own profession, if they fail to keep up to date with the new laws and regulations.

madmax Says:

The other thing I thought about was, how many of us *KNOW* the people who are administering drugs to us?

We assume, right? that they are Doctors? Do we ask to see their qualifications, whether they are qualified to give us that advice?

My point here is that we assume we are surrounded by the right people who are going to give us the right advice, but God there are so many stories out there of bogus doctors, drugs, medicines.

It is an absolute minefield and I do feel some amount of compassion for Maria Sharapova.

madmax Says:

Wogboy says:

State sponsored doping doesn’t exist as such in Russia and Eastern Europe for almost 30 years, it is individuals who are to blame regardless of which country they are from, btw, Eastern Europe as such doesn’t exist any more, apart of Russia and few minor countries they are all EU members (and NATO) so they should be called and treated accordingly, EU and western world countries, that includes Latvia that is producing this particular drugs.

March 10th, 2016 at 2:23 am

Wogboy, I haven’t read all of your posts, but are you saying that you have no sympathy for Sharapova, that she is totally to blame and not her doctors, or that she is a drug cheat, or not?

madmax Says:

I love the way this has been reported:

Maria Sharapova is either the world’s most beloved drug cheat or the world’s most clueless multimillion-dollar athlete.

It’s one or the other. It can’t be both.

Either she knew meldonium was a performance-enhancing drug, which is why she joined hundreds of her fellow Eastern European athletes in taking the little-known medicine — used in real life for cases of angina and heart failure — for an eye-popping 10 years in her teens and 20s while playing tennis at its highest level.

Or she did not know meldonium came with the wonderful side effect of increasing her endurance, and made the worst mistake an athlete can make: not knowing what is on the list of banned substances, details of which are constantly and readily available to all elite athletes.

Either way, Sharapova has to be suspended from professional tennis, at least through the 2016 Grand Slam events and August’s Rio Olympic Games. Six months at a minimum. And the maximum? Four years, which can be reduced for mitigating circumstances down to two years, or even less.

Didn’t she say it was called by another name?

Think of this. Do any of us know the alternative names of the pills we take for headaches and their side effects, unless we read the leaflet inside? or any other ailments. It is astonishing and very scary the side effects, all listed.

Hands up? I don’t. I recently had a bad case of tonsilitus. Took Penicilin – Look at the different types available, with the different names.

I took Amoxicilin – and guess what?

Amoxicillin is also used with other medications to treat stomach/intestinal ulcers caused by the bacteria H. pylori and to prevent the ulcers from returning.


Is Sharapova expected to know exactly what is contained in the pills she took? She should be informed, definitely, by her professional advisers.

Sorry everyone. I just don’t think she is a cheat.

Giles Says:

Just in – Maria’s racquet sponsor to extend her contract.

Wog Boy Says:


On the contrary I do have sympathy for Maria and believe it was honest mistake, I explained that in my other posts, that post of mine that you quoted was related to somethings else.

madmax Says:


Thanks for the response. I just did not have time to read all of the posts and yours was one of the last ones.

jane Says:

madmax, i meant the articles that are condemning maria with fire and brimstone or tones of smugness and condescension. there are too many to mention. just google…. bbc, espn, everywhere. some calling her “stupid,” an “actress”, and so on. ugh. the press…

Markus Says:

Here’s one about Sharapova’ face-saving, clever PR stunt. It did work to some gullible people who she can twist around her fingers.–ten.html

Okiegal Says:

If she truly has a medical problem, she will be forced to take another drug for it. I am curious about the health issue. If she doesn’t seek out another medicine, then we will know the real story. If it were me and I truly had a health problem to be taking the medicine……. to save face I would come forward and make it known to the world what new script I will be taking for it. But then again, she was not cheating the 10 yrs she took it, as it was not a banned substance. She has only been cheating since January 1st…..a big difference. I believe her when she says it was a slip up……because I don’t think she is that stupid to keep taking it and then play dumb about it??? Makes no sense. I am not a fan but I think she is innocent for the last 10 yrs……she and her team were just not taking care of business from January 1st forward.

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