Porsche Suspends Ambassador Maria Sharapova After She Failed a Drug Test
This is where sponsorships and partnerships with celebrities get sticky. Tennis star and Porsche Brand Ambassador Maria Sharapova sent a shockwave through the International Tennis Federation Monday when she announced that she’d failed a drug test at the Australian Open, which took place in January. She has been suspended by the ITF until a punishment is decided.
Per ESPN’s report, Sharapova was using the drug mildronate for as long as 10 years. The drug, also known as meldonium, reportedly boosts blood flow by helping “oxygen uptake,” which in turn improves endurance. Sharapova said she’s been using the drug to help with other health issues like low magnesium levels. She stated that she did not know mildronate and meldonium are the same drug, and she admits she did not read an email that updated a list of banned substances, including the one she tested positive for.
“I know with this that I face consequences,” Sharapova said. “I don’t want to end my career this way, and I really hope I’m given another chance to play this game.”
Sharapova was announced as the Porsche Brand Ambassador back in mid-2013 and has helped the company gain sales for the female demographic. If she is hit with a ban (typically four years for intentional use, two for unintentional, possibly less for the circumstances, according to Sharapova’s lawyer, John Haggerty), that puts Porsche in an awkward situation. Cheating is not exactly a redeeming quality in somebody representing your name.
So what do you think, should Porsche drop her or just continue to suspend her until her contract is up?
Here’s the video of her announcement:
Check out our Big Fat Maria Sharapova photo gallery here.