But first, let me answer the question in your head: No, that is not Ben Affleck in the background to the right. That dude’s chichis aren’t nearly as plump and calzone-esque enough for him to be Batffleck.
A few months ago, 29-year-old professional tennis player and gummy candy mogul Maria Sharapova announced that she was told by the International Tennis Federation that she had to temporarily put down her racket after she tested positive for a banned drug. Maria admitted to taking some shit called “meldonium,” which was put on the ITF’s banned list last year. The ITF banned it because they said there’s some evidence that athletes use it as a performance-enhancing drug. Maria said that her doctor prescribed her the drug for a magnesium deficiency and she’s been taking it since 2006. In January, the ITF sent out an e-mail of all the banned drugs for 2016. Maria admits to getting the email, but said she didn’t read it. I bet Maria has hired a full-time e-mail reader to read every line of every e-mail she gets, because that temporary suspension has become a 2-year ban.
ESPN says that an independent three-person panel that was put together by the ITF ruled that they don’t think Maria was trying to cheat, but she’s still 100% at fault. Maria stopped seeing the doctor who first prescribed the drug to her in 2013, and she never told her new doctor she was on it. Maria, who is currently the #26 female player in the world and was one of the highest-earning last year, said in a statement that she plans to fight the ruling. Because well, 2 years may as well be 200 years since it’ll probably put an end to her career.
“Today with their decision of a two year suspension, the ITF tribunal unanimously concluded that what I did was not intentional. The tribunal found that I did not seek treatment from my doctor for the purpose of obtaining a performance enhancing substance. The ITF spent tremendous amounts of time and resources trying to prove I intentionally violated the anti-doping rules and the tribunal concluded I did not. You need to know that the ITF asked the tribunal to suspend me for four years – the required suspension for an intentional violation — and the tribunal rejected the ITF’s position.
While the tribunal concluded correctly that I did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules, I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension. The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years. I will immediately appeal the suspension portion of this ruling to CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
I have missed playing tennis and I have missed my amazing fans, who are the best and most loyal fans in the world. I have read your letters. I have read your social media posts and your love and support has gotten me through these tough days. I intend to stand for what I believe is right and that’s why I will fight to be back on the tennis court as soon as possible.”
Since Maria admitted to taking a banned drug, the ITF decided to do her a little favor by putting the start date of the 2-year suspension as January 26, 2016, the day her sample was collected.
When Maria was temporary suspended two months ago, Nike, Porsche and Tag Heuer all backed away from their endorsement deals with her and said that they’d make a decision once the official ruling came in. So now that she can’t compete until 2018, she’s probably the JLo to their Mimi. They don’t know her.
Maria’s response really doesn’t make sense. Yes, the tribunal decided that she didn’t “dope” on purpose, but she still broke the rules. They still found that crap swimming in her veins. What she should’ve argued from the beginning is that she didn’t even know she was taking it. Whenever she goes back to her homeland of Russia, she drinks from the tap and they practically put PEDs in the water there. She didn’t know! Or, she should’ve gotten the makers of “meldonium” to say that one of the drug’s side effects is that it causes the user to not really pay attention to emails. Again, not her fault!