Sponsor Trouble for Maria Sharapova

Russian Tennis star Maria Sharapova is in a tough spot. She admitted that she failed a drug test and has taken "full responsibility" for it. 

Sharapova said she was taking Meldonium, a medication for heart disease, which was added to the list of banned substances this year. She also said that the medication goes by another name, which she didn't know: "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." She also said, "I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down and I let the sport down."

But did she have to call the hotel's carpet "ugly"? 

Although her admission and apology are clear, her sponsors don't want to wait for more news. Nike issued this statement: "We are saddened and surprised by the news about Maria Sharapova. We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues. We will continue to monitor the situation." Tag Heuer and Porsche also cancelled contracts, with the former explaining, "We had been in talks to extend our collaboration. In view of the current situation, the brand has decided not to renew the contract with Sharapova."

As of today, Nike's website page, "Maria Sharapova News" shows positive stories about the star and no mention of the decision. 

Nike Sharapova

Discussion Starters: 

  • How well is Sharapova handling the situation? Assess the news conference. 
  • Did Nike, Tag Heuer, and Porsche do the right thing? What pressures are on the sponsoring companies?