Andre Agassi’s Drug Scandal – Heartfelt Confession Or Money-Making Ploy?
Andre Agassi is no hero of mine. I fell for tennis when watching Roger Federer win the 2007 Australian Open. Andre Agassi had retired. Of course, I had heard of him. But without actually watching a player during his career it is hard to become a fan. From what I can tell, he is an amazing ambassador for the sport, and his retirement speech was incredible. Other than that, I do not really know much about Agassi. Which is why I am looking forward to the release of his book.
Publishers have been releasing sneak-peak type excerpts for a couple of weeks, and none has been more talked about than his drug confession. Agassi’s confession that he took crystal meth has overshadowed Doha, Serena Williams’s return to #1, Serena’s book, and the Ernests Gulbis prostitute scandal. I imagine Gulbis is grateful, Serena not so much. What Agassi’s confession has done has turned most bloggers to their keyboards to either sympathise with him over what must have been a tough thing to write, or to condemn him and accuse him of money making motives.
Current players have also had their say on the matter. Andy Roddick and Andy Murray have come strongly to Agassi’s support. Roddick tweeted a note saying he still idolised Agassi, and Murray released a statement saying, amongst other things, that “I judge him as a tennis player; he was great, one of the best of all time. No one wants drugs in sport but everyone makes mistakes.”
Others have been less kind. Roger Federer expressed disappointment and reiterated that his sport must stay drug-free, but still had kind words for Agassi, stating he “has done a lot for tennis, both as a player and as a human being. Today, he raises millions of dollars for his foundation for disadvantaged children.” Roger’s rival, Rafael Nadal, may be Agassi’s biggest critic, coming down harshly on the career slam champion. Nadal questioned why Agassi chose to confess now, and suggested it would tarnish tennis. “Now that he is retired, he comes out and says this. It’s a way of senselessly damaging the sport.”
Personally, I highly doubt Andre Agassi had money or destroying tennis’s reputation in mind when he decided the confession belonged in the book. The ATP body that let Agassi get away with a positive drug test is no longer in control of drug testing, which is now governed by the ITF, a body completely seperate from tennis. I don’t see how a drug that is the opposite of performance enhancing, taken when Andre was at his lowest point, can possibly destroy tennis’s clean reputation. I really do not think this will hurt tennis at all, but it may hurt Agassi.
Being accused of being greedy isn’t a nice thing for anyone to go through. People are also calling on him to be investigated for perjury, as he lied about his drug use. All of this seems ridiculous to me. I doubt Agassi was in it for the money. I think he is an honest bloke who felt this was an important time in his life that he needed to confess to. Isn’t that simple? Do we really have to think so cynically about this? The simple fact is, Andre Agassi doesn’t need more money. As for the excerpt release, I imagine this was the publisher’s choice. Obviously, they are in it for the money.
I do not feel any differently about Andre Agassi after all the stories that have come out this week. If it were Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, or Juan Martin del Potro, I would be very upset and disappointed. I hate drugs, and would hate to think of any of my heroes involved in them. I do not know if any Agassi fans are swearing off him because of this, but I doubt it. After all, isn’t he the loveable rogue turned generous nice guy? They loved that rogue for a reason. Good on Agassi for confessing and if it helps him sleep better at night, that’s great. As for all the people wanting him to be punished for something that happened a mighty long time ago?
Let it go, people. Let it go.
When his book comes out I will be buying it. At the very least, we already know that it lives up to it’s title, Open.