Tennis player’s successful drug defense: He kissed a girl!

True confession: I haven’t cared about tennis since Bjorn Borg stopped winning Wimbledon. If Roger Federer walked through my living room, I might not recognize him. (I would, however, recognize Maria Sharapova. Not that she has ever stopped by. Although I once attended the same R.E.M. post-tour party as Monica Seles. But I digress.)

I noticed this item only because of one of those AOL home page headlines that are impossible not to click. The headline: “Athlete cleared on cocaine charge; said he ingested it by kissing a girl.”

OK, I clicked. And here’s the deal: Richard Gasquet, a French tennis player, “escaped a lengthy doping ban Wednesday when the International Tennis Federation ruled that he inadvertently took cocaine by kissing a woman in a nightclub.” He had, the Associated Press story goes on to note, “just met [the woman] at the club.”

Gasquet, of whom I’d never heard until this bussing incident, served a 2 1/2-month ban for testing positive but was denied a longer suspension because — AP again — “a tribunal panel of three lawyers said Gasquet consumed no more than ‘a grain of salt’ of the drug, and a long ban would be an injustice in a case which was ‘unusual to the point of being probably unique.’ ”

The tribunal also maintained it had “found the player to be a person who is shy and reserved, honest and truthful, and a man of integrity and good character.” And of course the way you recognize someone who’s shy and reserved is if that person makes a habit of kissing strange women in Miami nightclubs. (Being shy and reserved myself, I kiss every woman I see. Though I didn’t even shake hands with Monica Seles.)

(Then again, Gasquet is French.)

About the woman: Gasquet identified her only as “Pamela.” (I have a cousin named Pamela, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her. She lives in Pikeville, Ky.) But here’s my question: How did Gasquet know “Pamela” had used cocaine? Did she say to him, after that first meaningful moment, “You know, I just took drugs and, you being a pro athlete and all, kissing me might get you banned. Wanna do it again?”

Again from the AP story: “The tribunal said it was likely she had consumed cocaine during the night, though it had no direct evidence. She spent an ‘excessive’ amount of time in the toilet at one club before emerging to kiss Gasquet on the mouth, the player told the hearing.”

I have no idea what to make of any of this. Except you better be darn careful whom you kiss. Especially if she just came from the water closet. And her name is Pamela. And you’ve never met her before in your life.

40 comments Add your comment

Jamal Anderson

July 16th, 2009
3:29 pm

They aint nothing wrong with spending a little extra time in the bathroom

Reid Adair

July 16th, 2009
3:42 pm

Wait a minute. We need to hear more about this post-concert party that you and Monica Seles both attended. You can’t just mention that and not elaborate.

Mister T

July 16th, 2009
3:46 pm

Um….MB, I don’t think the video is talking about the same thing.

jarvis

July 16th, 2009
3:54 pm

Adversely…my wife once caught me kissing another woman. I defended myself by explaining that I was just orally taking cocaine out of her mouth.

jarvis

July 16th, 2009
3:57 pm

Since this topic is vague and moderatly interesting….I feel OK in asking this very unrelated question, who votes on the ESPYs?

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 16th, 2009
4:01 pm

Obviously, tennis is really cracking down on drugs with the same veracity as Bud Selig

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
4:07 pm

You might be right, Mister T. I’m pretty naive about pretty much everything.

And Reid, there’s not much to it. I used to be on pretty good terms with Mike Mills from R.E.M. and the group’s manager Bertis Downs, and Mrs. Bradley and I were invited to the post-show party at the Roxy after the Monster tour concluded. (November 1994, I think it was.) Monica Seles was there. The lovely ladies from Lucious Jackson (opening act) were there. Some record company types were there. I felt totally out of place — I feel totally out of place in my own house — but it was fun.

I remember talking to the famous rock critic Karin Berg — she was then working for Warner Bros. — about her writing about the Velvet Underground in the ’60s. I remember talking to Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows — he was supporting R.E.M. — about the YFF’s famous Breakup Album, which was neither a sign of their breakup or an album. (It was released on vinyl singles, of which I had three.) I remember speaking with one of the lovely Lucious Jackson ladies in the buffet line and noticing that she was not only lovely but smashed.

And Monica, as I recall, was kind of standing by herself. Being that this was post-stabbing, I was reluctant to approach her.

Too much info, I know. But you did ask.

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
4:09 pm

You got me, Jarvis. I assume the members of the Academy. Or, failing that, the folks at whom Chris Berman yells when he gets mad. (Ever seen that YouTube clip?)

Paul H

July 16th, 2009
4:31 pm

Well was she hot?

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 16th, 2009
4:32 pm

You got to admire this Gasquet guy at least for his imagination. That pic though looks like the most uncoordinated tennis player I’ve seen, including me.

Rosie Allen

July 16th, 2009
4:33 pm

Yes, I read the original story. And no one snorts a tiny amount of anything. I once picked up a drink at our table that I was certain was mine in a dark night club. My lips had touched the glass but my friend ran over and knocked the drink out of my hand- it belonged to a man who was clearly high. I was told that he went around sipping from other people’s drinks, and later, I watched him do it. I was horrified. Yes, Gasquet’s excuse did seem a bit lame, but he has always seemed to be nice, reserved and quite naive.

[...] I really just can’t wait for the excuses to come rolling in.  I really, really hope he picks the one where he tells everyone he tested positive because of a kiss he shared with a woman (yeah, that happened). [...]

jay

July 16th, 2009
4:53 pm

obiusly gasquet is inocent…. hes handsome :D

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
5:01 pm

Monica Seles, you mean?

Otto

July 16th, 2009
5:04 pm

For some reason I see the pic and think of a screenname used on another forum of “spastic dwarf”

Chris

July 16th, 2009
5:05 pm

Youtube clip of Berman going off on lackeys? Never heard of it. It’s also hard to believe as tales of his humility are legend.

VeryOldDawg

July 16th, 2009
5:18 pm

Mr. Bradley, I read and enjoy all your work, but this column is especially good–very funny. The guffaws have quieted to a steady chuckle. Thanks.

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
5:19 pm

OK, since you asked: Here’s the Berman clip. Warning: It is NOT suitable for family viewing.

Paul H

July 16th, 2009
5:20 pm

Sorry, I meant the girl he kissed. After all, if he’s going to kiss a stranger in a night club who’s been in the bathroom snorting cocaine, she better be hot!

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
5:23 pm

Oh, sorry. I don’t know about the “Pamela” in question. Haven’t seen a photo.

Paul H

July 16th, 2009
5:23 pm

Holy Cow – Berman Clip. We should vote on who’s meltdowns are bigger – his or O’Reilly’s.

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
5:24 pm

Oh, and thanks, Very Old Dawg. I’m a pretty old dog myself. (Maysville Bulldog, Class of ‘73.)

VeryOldDawg

July 16th, 2009
5:31 pm

Not even close–UGA ‘59.

Bat Masterson

July 16th, 2009
6:15 pm

Paul, O reallys was bigger hands down

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
6:21 pm

Fun fact: I was once a guest on “The O’Reilly Factor.” December 1999. Talking about John Rocker. Mr. O’Reilly was nice enough to me, although all I did was sit in a concrete studio in Midtown and talk into a camera.

Reid Adair

July 16th, 2009
7:21 pm

Oh no, Mark. Not TMI at all. That’s a great story, although it would have been better if you had talked to Monica.

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
7:32 pm

Agreed, Reid. But, like Monsieur Gasquet, I am shy and reserved.

Chris

July 16th, 2009
9:10 pm

Oh my goodness,
Thank you for the Berman clip Mark. Berman to O’Reilly to Marino,,,,
incredible stuff.

Mark Bradley

July 16th, 2009
9:14 pm

They don’t call Chris Berman the Boomer for nothin’.

Ken Stallings

July 16th, 2009
10:06 pm

You think the French would be nearly as “understanding” if Lance Armstrong was busted for drugs and tried that one!

It’s laughable, insulting, and beyond reason that anyone would buy it much less anyone in an official capacity.

Ken Stallings

July 16th, 2009
10:21 pm

In fairness to O’Reilly and Berman, there’s a ton of production work that goes into a few seconds of live TV. So, when something goes wrong, the pressure rises rapidly. I really don’t think Berman’s comments were out of line, just honest frustration about people moving in the line of the camera, which is a major league faux pas in the television business.

It’s because Berman’s trying to read the teleprompter and people’s eyes instinctively follow movement in their field of vision. So, I can understand his reaction.

PMC

July 16th, 2009
11:44 pm

Ah ha so that’s what happened to Jeremy Mayfield!

Hope it’s still safe to eat the ice cream.

Mark Bradley

July 17th, 2009
9:53 am

Good one, PMC.

[...] Tennis player's successful drug defense: He kissed a girl! | Mark …Mark Bradley of the AJC notes that Richard Vasquet, a French tennis player, was spared a longer suspension because he apparently ingested cocaine via a kiss. [...]

[...] Tennis player's successful drug defense: He kissed a girl! | Mark …Mark Bradley of the AJC notes that Richard Vasquet, a French tennis player, was spared a longer suspension because he apparently ingested cocaine via a kiss. [...]

Rick

July 26th, 2009
9:41 pm

I don’t care what kind of article it is, you should not be allowed to comment on the sport of professional tennis if you have never even HEARD of Richard Gasquet.

[...] Tennis player's successful drug defense: He kissed a girl! | Mark …Mark Bradley of the AJC notes that Richard Vasquet, a French tennis player, was spared a longer suspension because he apparently ingested cocaine via a kiss. [...]

Robert

July 28th, 2009
6:39 pm

I stopped caring about Mark Bradley columns since…well, I NEVER cared for them. What an idiot: if you don’t care for tennis, you shouldn’t be a sportswriter. Unlike team sports, tennis makes sure the best usually wins…no being saved by running out the time clock.

Robert

July 28th, 2009
6:43 pm

Hey Stallings, if you actually read the details of the case…Gasquet tested positive for an amount so small (a single grain of salt) that it’s likely he probably got it from drinking from the wrong glass. Oh, and cocaine is NOT a PED.

werewolf » Talking Sport

August 4th, 2009
8:42 pm

[...] month for instance, in a well publicized incident, the French tennis player Richard Gasquet was absolved for returning a positive test for cocaine, [...]