Nike, Porsche and TAG Heuer Cut Ties with Maria Sharapova Following Failed Drug Test
Following Maria Sharapova’s devastating press conference yesterday (March 7) in which she revealed she failed a drug test at the Australian Open, her lucrative sponsors are now quickly distancing themselves from the tennis player.
The former No. 1 seed has been the highest-paid woman in sports for 11 years running.
Nike has suspended their relationship with the five-time Grand Slam champion, pending the International Tennis Federation’s investigation. They commented, “We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova,” with whom they had an eight-year $70 million deal that had begun in 2010 (according to BBC News).
Meanwhile, Tag Heuer has cut its ties with her. Their contract with Sharapova ended on December 31, 2015, and though they had begun talks of extending their deal with her, in light of her admission they have “decided not to renew the contract.”
Porsche is also “postponing planned activities” with Sharapova until “further details” become known. Sharapova was named as Porsche’s first female ambassador in 2014, when she signed a three-year contract that will conclude at the end of this year.
She is also the face of Avon perfume, Luck, and Evian, all who have yet to comment.
Sharapova admitted yesterday that she had been taking meldonium since 2006 on the advice of her family doctor due to a magnesium deficiency and because her family has a history of diabetes. However, meldonium had not on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list of substances until January 1, 2016, after it was discovered that it could also be used as a performance enhancing drug.
She explained, “it is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA’s banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine. But on January the first, the rules have changed.”
According to the 28-year-old, she never looked at the email with the updated list of banned drugs that was sent in December 2015 and thus continued to take the banned substance during the Australian Open where she lost to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.
“I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down and I let the sport down,” Sharapova said during the press conference in Los Angeles. “I take full responsibility for it.”
Sharapova’s provisional suspension begins March 12.