All of us have a few. Some do a good job of letting them remain there, while some do not. Andre Agassi belongs to the second category. Is it a good thing or a bad thing is left to one’s discretion but I reckon Agassi must be feeling the heat given all the admissions he made over the past few weeks. Whatever may be the circumstances, nothing justifies the use of drugs. Sidestepping a bit, what the eff does one mean by recreational drugs. How can the use of any drug be a recreation. Stepping back, sports has had a long and troubled relation with drugs. Somehow most sportsmen attribute its use to depression or performance enhancement. No sportsman in my memory has publicly come out and confessed to having used drugs just for the heck of it. Any one who has accepted the use, has always followed it up with a story of crisis – personal or professional. I do not possess subject matter expertise on drugs but still, don’t people get addicted to it by making a habit of a hobby – a hobby that starts off as a ‘i have got to try it once’ and ends up as a ‘ i can’t live with or without it’ (okay, channeling the U2 song here :P).
What has stirred so much controversy in Andre’s case is that, not only did he use the drugs, he succeeded in fooling the authorities and paved a path to one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of sports. That he is a legend of tennis and a man who is doing great work for the society is unquestionable, but, all that pales in comparison to the fact that his entire post drugs era was based on a lie. Maybe he lied because the truth would have cost him his career. I blame the authorities more than Andre because it their duty to get the facts right and do the appropriate checks. They failed big time and Agassi became the Buddha of tennis who won slams and fans alike.
Although the timing of his coming out is notorious, I do not think it tarnishes his image for me much. He is still one of my most favorite players and people. Marat Safin says that Agassi should return all his slams. Why? Didn’t he work his ass off to beat top draw players. He failed one dope test and got out of it but that does not mean he did not have the talent or ability to win the slams. Yes, he should have been banned/punished but he was not. Not his fault. The dumb authorities screwed it up. He was just desperate to get back and luckily he got a break. Then why does he mention it now? Because he is plain dumb or maybe super-smart. No one likes skeletons in their closet after all. They are way too scary!!