Diana Taurasi Handled Doping Allegation With Class, Integrity
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Indulge me, for a moment, and put yourself in Diana Taurasi’s shoes.
You’re arguably the best women’s basketball player on the planet. While playing overseas, a lab in Turkey tells you that you’ve tested positive for the drug Modafinil. The public has already made up their mind that you are guilty. Actually, before you’re second sample was even evaluated the consulting doctor in Turkey came out and declared that you were guilty.
Your contract gets terminated. One of the things you value most about being a professional basketball player (representing your country) is in jeopardy. You begin to wonder how long an appeal would take and if it would affect your status in the WNBA. All the while, you know you didn’t take anything and that you are innocent. Amazingly, a false accusation by a lab in a foreign country has affected everything you’ve worked so hard for over the course of your career. To top it all off, if history is any indication with similar cases, it certainly doesn’t look good for you.
What would you do? If you’re Diana Taurasi, you do what you’ve always done – stay classy.
Accused, falsely, of taking performance enhancing drugs in a foreign country, Taurasi faced the possibility of the end (or, at the very least, a lengthy ban) to playing internationally, representing her country in the Olympics, and her status in the WNBA. Overnight, her perception in the public unfairly changed. People immediately jumped on the accusatory bandwagon and began to ridicule and condemn her. Without knowing all of the facts, Taurasi was almost cast aside by the majority of our country. She was made fun of, taunted, and dismissed; there is no denying that.
People did, and still do, have a choice of who to believe. They could place their trust in Diana Taurasi or side with a lab in Turkey with a questionable history and prior violations. Taurasi knew she was innocent and never once wavered from her stance.
Now, just two months later, the lab retracted its report and the doping accusations against Taurasi have been dismissed. Through it all, Diana Taurasi couldn’t have handled the situation any better.
She easily could have raised hell or lashed out. I probably would have. But, she didn’t need to; she knew she was innocent. As difficult as it was going through such an adverse time, she relied on her integrity and honor to come out on top.
What better testament to Taurasi’s character?
The news that the lab retracted its original report is, quite frankly, unheard of. I don’t think people fully understand the magnitude of this decision. Concerns of the validity of the Turkish lab were brought up early on but dismissed by almost everyone. Although the lab didn’t come right out and say it, they are obviously admitting major mistakes in Taurasi’s testing process. Why else would the report be retracted? Not surprisingly, there are multiple reports out of Turkey that the lab is being shut down permanently.
From start to finish, the entire process was an unfortunate microcosm of today’s society. We’ve become absolutely obsessed with stars falling from grace. Inexplicably, it’s like we want them to fail and we enjoy seeing the painful fall. While I’m not sure why this is, I do know it is incredibly sad.
Taurasi was, unfortunately, the latest victim. Still, you’d never hear the word “victim” come from Taurasi’s mouth. She maintained a positive stance through the entire ordeal and was confident the truth would come out in the end.
When I first came out and defended Diana, people questioned my professional integrity and reputation (didn’t know I had either one). They wondered why I’d take such a defensive stance and why I was so vocal in support of one player. If I’m honest, none of it mattered because the situation was so much bigger than that. To see someone put on blast, on a worldly scale, was something I couldn’t ignore.
Hopefully, this situation will have a snowball affect in terms of the judgment of others. In today’s world, we can basically accuse anyone of anything and someone will believe it no matter how ridiculous it could be. We are so quick to judge and condemn others that it has become a rarity to withhold a verdict until we receive all the facts and information. How sad.
I also hope that the media coverage of Taurasi’s innocence will, at the very least, match the initial reports of her demise. In the world of professional women’s basketball, it seems like the only time we’ll see a national headline is due to a scandal or some type of negative publicity. Hence, I hope all the sites who made fun of Taurasi and pronounced her guilty will also have an updated report regarding her name being cleared. It takes a special person to get through a situation like this, and Diana Taurasi certainly is one.
People will read this and will undoubtedly call me biased or a “Taurasi Apologist.” That’s fine. (I’ve been called worse.) Plus, as I’ve stated before, that’s kind of the point. I, for one, couldn’t be happier for Diana and applaud her for handling everything with class.
Resilience means facing difficulties in life with patience and courage. If I’m honest, I can’t think of a better way to describe Diana Taurasi.