Maria Sharapova, I still love you.

Let’s talk sports today.

After all, I am a man of many hats. It’s not all politics and pop culture around these parts. I’m also an avid student of athletics, history, horticulture, quantum mechanics, seismology and, of course, bugs.

But I’ll save those latter categories for a rainy day. After I move somewhere where it never rains. California, I’m coming.

Anyway, most sports fans woke up this morning expecting the sports news narrative to center around one person: Peyton Manning.

Peyton ManningThe legendary, generation-defining quarterback who was known as much for his marketability off the field as his prowess on the field, called it quits. He walks off into the sunset having won his second Superbowl in his final NFL game.

For some people, like me, who’ve grown up watching sports, and watching the same people dominate those sports throughout their entire life, it’s a weird feeling to see these greats say goodbye. Derek Jeter. Kobe Bryant. Now Peyton Manning.

It’s a reminder that time is the ultimate equalizer. No one is immune; not even the world’s greatest athletes.

Although, Peyton does walk away from football following allegations of performance enhancing drug use, and a rehashed story regarding sexual assault during his college days, but, most people will probably just choose to remember him screaming “Omaha! Omaha!” at the line of scrimmage at the top of his lungs as their ultimate takeaway of the man.

Hey, you throw 539 touchdowns in your career, and you kind of get to dictate the narrative.

But it turns out this wasn’t all that happened on this Monday. Maria Sharapova, the most glamorous tennis player of the last decade, admitted she failed a drug test.

Long story short: she’s been taking a specific drug — legally — to ail several health issuesMaria Sharapova for the last 10 years. On Jan. 1, that drug was added to the banned substance list. She didn’t know that, and failed a test a few weeks later.

Disappointing, sure, but hardly scandalous.

This brings about mixed emotions for me. Actually, no it doesn’t. I love Maria Sharapova. And I’ve never been afraid to admit it.

She’s likely facing a suspension, possibly a lengthy one, but if anything, this makes me like her more. It gives her an edge. She’s mischievous. And not afraid to bend the rules.

In all seriousness, though, it was refreshing to see her be forthright and admit that she screwed up. So many athletes play the ignorance card and act like they did nothing wrong. They pretend they are the innocent victim even when the evidence is staring them right in the face.

Maria didn’t cower. She didn’t hide. She owned up to her mistake.

And Maria, if you want to continue down this road and make another lapse in judgment, then how about you let me take you to dinner on Friday night?

I mean, honestly, what’s one more bad decision? You can’t sink any lower then the place you’re at right now, and I promise it will not be the worst date you’ve ever been on in your life. Though I can’t guarantee it won’t be in the bottom five.

Most of all, the only drug that I’ll supply you with is my loving affection, which, last I checked, is not on the International Tennis Federation’s banned substance list.

Oh wait. It is? Crap.

Damn it, ITF, will you never let me find love?

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