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March 13, 2016 — Solving a problem like Maria

Last week, Maria Sharapova, one of the world’s top tennis players, stepped to a lectern in Los Angeles and admitted to not only a positive drug test at the Australian Open, but for taking a substance called meldonium for the past decade.

Meldonium is a drug used to treat angina and some other ailments but is not approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. The World Anti-Doping Agency noticed its performance-enhancing effects and banned the drug as of the beginning of this year.

Sharapova provided an explanation as to how she and her medical and management team did not get word of the change in her statement.

Of course, it’s not an excuse. But I do admire the fact that she, unlike many athletes who have either failed drug tests, or been caught up in scandal, unequivocally admitted that she was wrong.

“I have let my fans down and let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four, that I love so deeply,” she said. “I know that with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way. I really hope to be given another chance to play this game.”

Sharapova has been dropped by some of her sponsors. That is understandable, given how some high-dollar companies have defended or even enabled athlete behavior in the past.

But I can’t help how refreshingly honest Sharapova was. I don’t think it was an act.

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