Say it ain’t so, Maria Sharapova

Before I begin a whiny rant about my favorite tennis star, allow me to follow up on yesterday’s topic regarding the Stanford rape case.

The embarrassing sentencing notwithstanding, the most important thing is that it’s at least reignited a national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses, which is a conversation that we need to have.

I said it yesterday, but it’s worth repeating: one in five female college students are victims of sexual assault. One in five! Think of five of your female friends. Odds say that one of them engaged in a sexual encounter during college of which they did not grant their consent.

That’s frightening.

Magnifying the conversation today was none other than our vice president, Joe Biden, who in 1994, drafted the Violence Against Women Act, which funded billions of dollars for the prosecution and investigation of violent crimes against women, among other things.

Joe Biden.jpgBiden issued an open letter to the unidentified rape victim at Stanford University, and the full transcript was posted on Buzzfeed. It’s powerful and absolutely worth reading. In all honesty, reading it this afternoon gave me chills.

And it reinforces my firm belief that we have taken our current administration for granted in extravagant fashion. But I digress.

Allow me to transition now to another women who was stripped — of her tennis career.

I will be submitting that last line to the 2016 Bloggie Awards as the most tasteless transitional sentence of the year. Just so you know. It might win. Too bad those awards don’t actually exist.

Actually … apparently it does exist. I just Googled it. Where the hell are my trophies?! This is an outrage!

Oh well. Anyway, I can’t possibly end this week without discussing the love of my life, Maria Sharapova. I have been in a 10-year, unrequited love affair with the tennis star. I have devotedly followed her career for nearly a decade, sometimes staying up very late to watching her compete in the Australian Open, and was her staunchest defender when, in March, she admitted to using a banned substance.

The drug, Meldonium, was only added to the banned substances list in January. It is not Maria Sharapova2.jpgsold in the United States, and Sharapova used it to manage health problems, including a family history of diabetes.

A tribunal of the International Tennis Federation ruled that Sharapova took the substance without the intention to cheat — meaning that she unintentionally committed a doping violation — and yet, still banned her from tennis for two years.

And just like that, I no longer have any interest in women’s tennis for two years. Sharapova is appealing the ruling, but those pretty much never work.

It’s fair to wonder if Sharapova, 29, may ever compete again. Tennis players usually begin their decline once they hit 30, given how young they begin playing professionally, and the subsequent wear and tear they put on their bodies.

But any one who has followed Sharapova’s career knows she keeps herself in tremendous shape, and I have no doubt that she will come back, if the suspension stands.

It’s a dark day, no doubt.

But what kind of unrequited lover would I be if I gave up on her now?

Maria, you have no idea about any of this, but I’m the perfect husband you’ll never have.

(I really wish I didn’t start this post by talking about rape.)

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