...et tu, Andre?
- Branko Brkic
- 29 Oct 2009 10:56 (South Africa)
Andre Agassi takes flak for admitting he did “tik”.
Michael Phelps might be a pothead, but Andre Agassi did crystal meth, dudes. You can just hear the conversation in high schools across the nation. No, across the world. And in every crack-house, bar and sports convention. Like, everywhere. Yup, four-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi has admitted in his new autobiography that he lied to the Association of Tennis Professionals about his use of crystal methamphetamine to escape a ban after failing a drugs test. Now the World Anti-Doping Agency wants the tennis people to tell more, while the International Tennis Federation said it was "surprised and disappointed" by Agassi. Not only did the US superstar lie, he also blamed his former assistant, Slim, who was somebody who liked to spike his sodas with the drug, saying he drank one by mistake. The ATP took him on his word, and nothing was ever done about it.
But let’s get to the point, here. Crystal meth is “tik”, man. The drug that has ravaged the Cape Flats back in good old SA. It is a brutally addictive form of speed that is smoked, eaten, snorted or injected. And if you ever saw the Oprah show where an American teenage girl was offered the choice of staying on the drug or going to rehab, you would lock your kids away. On primetime TV, she said something along the lines of “I feel like I am dead”, while looking very much like a normal teen. Maybe she did stop, but the odds are seriously against it.
Agassi seems to have used the “single” experience to fire himself up and escape from a dramatic career slump, from which he made an extraordinary comeback, marrying a queen of tennis along the way – Steffi Graf. It will be interesting to hear what Steffi thinks about all this. And whether the ATP, the ITF and Wada will strip him of his titles. Wada president John Fahey said Agassi was seen as a role model who should alert youth to the dangers of doping. Well, if he hasn’t now gone and done that, what, indeed, has he done by admitting to a shameful incident? In a video promoting his book, he says: "I felt my story was one from which many people could learn".
By Mark Allix