Maria Sharapova airs dismay on media reports on failed drug test as UN suspends her

Maria Sharapova expresses her dismay over media reports that she was earlier warned several times on the ban of the medicine that led her to fail the drug test at the Australian Open. The failed drug test has seen companies cutting ties with the 28-year old tennis star with the United Nations joining the latest list.

The United Nations as reported over CNN has suspended Sharapova of her duties as Ambassador of Goodwill for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The suspension will only be lifted after the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and the United Nations will determine their next course of action with the results of the investigation.

“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) remains grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support of our work, especially around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery. However, in light of Ms. Sharapova’s recent announcement, we last week suspended her role as a Goodwill Ambassador and any planned activities while the investigation continues. We wish Ms. Sharapova the best,” a UNDP spokesperson said.

Sharapova was named as UNDP Ambassador of Goodwill on Feb. 14, 2007 with a special focus then on helping with the recovery efforts after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It was “one of her proudest contracts ever.”

It was also at that time that she donated $100,000 to eight UNDP projects in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine that try to assist those areas still blighted by the Chernobyl accident. Those projects aim to restore hospitals and sports facilities, improve access to computers, and promote ecological awareness across the three countries.

Aside from the United Nations, other companies that have cut their ties with her included Tag Heuer, Nike and Porsche while tennis racket label Head will stick it out with her and even calls to renewing her contract with them.

Amidst all of the things that took place, Sharapova in her Facebook account thanks all her supporters and fans. She also expressed her dismay on how the media handled the whole thing and said that the media should have known the whole thing before reporting it.

“I want to reach out to you (the fans) 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,” Sharapova stated.

She stressed that she received the email that included information about anti-doping that includes the new list of banned medicines. But she argues that one has to go through lots of internet and topic links before she could even see the lists of banned medicines.

“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… 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,” She explained.

She ended her statement on social media that she is proud of how she played the game of tennis and that she had be honest and upfront of all the things that happened to her on and off the court, even publicly admitting she failed the recent drug test. She looks forward for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) hearing with the hope clearing everything and the hope of playing again the sport that she truly loves.

Photo Courtesy: Tatiana/Flickr

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