Brendan Taylor's admission confirms even elite sportspersons are not immune to temptation of drug abuse

Here's a look at some of the incidents of drug abuse by sportspersons

FirstCricket Staff January 25, 2022 16:33:55 IST
Brendan Taylor's admission confirms even elite sportspersons are not immune to temptation of drug abuse

File image of Diego Maradona. AP

Former Zimbabwe cricket captain Brendan Taylor revealed Monday in a tweet he took cocaine, a $15,000 bribe from an Indian businessman to fix matches and that he faces a multiple-year ban from international cricket.

"The ICC (International Cricket Council) are taking the decision to impose a multi-year ban on my international cricketing career," tweeted the national great, adding he did not fix any match.

The 35-year-old batsman said in October 2019 he was invited by an Indian businessman to discuss "sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe and was advised that I would be paid USD$15 000 for the journey".

Brendan Taylors admission confirms even elite sportspersons are not immune to temptation of drug abuse

Former Zimbabwe cricket captain Brendan Taylor admitted Monday he took cocaine. AP

The invitation came when the team had not received salaries for six months and there were concerns the country would not be able to continue playing internationally.

He said he was a "little wary" but undertook the trip all the same.

During drinks on the last night, he was offered cocaine which the businessman and his colleagues were taking and said he "foolishly took the bait".

"The following morning, the same men entered my hotel room and showed me a video taken of me the night before doing cocaine and told me that if I did not spot fix at international matches for them, the video would be released to the public," he said.

He said he was "cornered" and handed a $15,000 deposit to fix matches. He took the cash so that he could fly out.

It took him four months to report the offence to the ICC

"I acknowledge this was too long of a time but I thought I could protect everyone and in particular, my family," he said.

He said he was ready and will "humbly" accept the ICC decision with the "hope that my story will be used as a means of encouragement for cricketers to report any illicit approaches as early as possible".

But he stressed he never fixed any matches.

Taylor — who resigned as the Zimbabwe captain late last year — said he will check into a rehab centre "to get clean and to get my life back on track."

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) then said they have become aware of Taylor's statement in which "he allegedly owns up to receiving a bribe to spot-fix international matches as well as abusing a banned drug". And that the ICC have been investigating the former captain in relation to anti-corruption breaches. They however said that they won't comment any further until the ICC has completed its process and findings.

It takes a lot of courage to own up to your mistakes in front of the world. Not just that Taylor's taken an important step towards exposing the ugly side of the sport, educating cricketers and showing youngsters the right path. However, Taylor's admission also throws light on the fact that even elite sportspersons are not immune to the temptation of drug abuse.

Here's a look at some of the incidents of drug abuse by sportspersons

1) Diego Maradona:

Argentina football star Diego Maradona had long battled alcohol and cocaine addictions. He had a wild ride on and off the field. The legendary footballer was at his peak through the 80s and led his team to the 1986 World Cup win and then to the runners-up position in the 1990 World Cup. But it started going downhill from 1991 when he was suspended for using cocaine before a match in the Italian League playing for Napoli. He tested positive for cocaine after the match against Bari on 17 March. The Disciplinary Commission of the Italian League suspended him for 15 months.

Three weeks later he was arrested at his home town Buenos Aires for cocaine possession. Though he returned to the Argentina side for the 1994 World Cup, trouble continued to follow him as he was sent back home after just two games after failing another drug test. He tested positive for the banned drug, ephedrine. He was subsequently banned from all competitions for 15 months by FIFA, effectively ending his international career.

Maradona died on 25 November, 2020 in Buenos Aires following a heart attack.

Mike Tyson

Another star athlete who had his share of on and off-field problems and controversies. Boxer Mike Tyson took drugs before entering some of his major fights. He himself made these shocking revelations in his autobiography Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography. The boxer once known as the 'Baddest Man on the Planet' revealed in his autobiography that he first took cocaine as an 11-year-old.

“I was a full-blown cokehead,” Tyson wrote in his autobiography according to Talksport. “The history of war is the history of drugs. Every great general and warrior from the beginning of time was high.”

He admitted that he took cocaine before the match against Danny Williams in Louisville in 2004 which he lost. He also revealed that he used a fake penis, which he called a "whizzer", filled with someone else's urine to avoid getting caught during drug tests.

In 2000, he had tested positive for marijuana after a fight and was fined $200000.

Maninder Singh

Former India left-arm spinner was arrested in Delhi in 2007 for allegedly possessing 1.5 grams of cocaine. At that time, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Narcotics), AS Cheema had told IANS: "Maninder has confessed that he was a drug addict and consumed drugs to deal with family problems. He first took drugs 10 years ago in Holland."

However, a Delhi court granted him bail later. And a few years later he was acquitted.

Later in an interview to The Cricket Monthly, Singh said that it was "Somebody who was trying to malign my name".

He said in the same interview that he had tried drugs but not regularly and he wasn't an addict. Addiction to him, drinking was his main problem.

"I was never into it. I had tried things. It was just one of those things where friends are sitting and they say, try this, you will feel relaxed. And that was after I retired and I was still troubled. They were friends not in Delhi - somebody was in Bangalore, somebody in Bombay. It was only when I went there and met them, I tried it. But that was never a problem. Drink was a problem," he told the Cricket Monthly.

Dermot Reeve

Former England all-rounder and Warwickshire captain had to resign from his commentary job with Channel 4 in 2005 after admitting that he was addicted to cocaine. Reeve had confessed that he was under the influence of drugs while commentating during first England vs New Zealand Test at Lord's in 2004. In an interview with The Mail, he said, "I have no recollection of seeing the ball on Saturday and Sunday. I had to watch the match video to hear what I said.

"No one seemed to notice much difference, they just said I was my usual self but more chirpy and kept doing Imran Khan impressions off-screen.

"They said it was the funniest commentary they had ever heard."

He then revealed to BBC Stumped podcast in an in-depth chat how "his world spiralled through quite a dark place where I lost my job and marriage" due to the cocaine addiction.

https://twitter.com/BBCStumped/status/892758522567503873

Dan Evans

In 2017, then world number 43, British tennis player Dan Evans tested positive for cocaine during the Barcelona Open in April. He was handed a 12-month suspension by the International Tennis Federation. Evans accepted his mistake and the charge.

As he returned to the court, the lessons were learnt as he described the dangers of cocaine and how it was a "life ruiner"

“I’m not going to go into where it was and what happened,” he said. “It happened. It’s been and gone, in my eyes. It’s a shocking drug – and not just in sport; it’s terrible in life, it’s a life-ruiner," Evans told The Guardian.

“Everyone knows you shouldn’t drink-drive but, if you drink-drive, you knew beforehand that you shouldn’t do it. I took it. I knew beforehand I shouldn’t have. It’s illegal for one, never mind being a sportsman. If you’re taking drugs you’re not in the clearest mindset.”

With inputs from AFP

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