When someone says they wanted to tell their sob story of how they almost wrecked their lives, or actually did wreck their lives – what they really mean is that they thought their story would make the headlines and make them a few quid in book sales. The latest celeb with a sensational story autobiography is Andre Agassi, with the sensational story being basically that he took drugs whilst playing tennis and got away with it – not exactly an origional exclusive in the world of sport and I wonder how many retired sports stars are banging on publishers doors with their drug taking stories.
I guess the biggest thing that will make Andre’s story different from the rest is that he actually failed a drug test and still got away with it through lying about how it got into his system, and subsequently the sports govening body (who carried out the test) swept it under the carpet. This highlights a few things for me – firstly, sports need their superstars to survive and prosper, Agassi was possibly the biggest star in tennis at the time and him getting a drug ban would been a huge blow for the sport. Everyone who gets caught taking drugs has all the excuses in the world and I’m sure the ATP weren’t completely taken in by Agassi’s story, but I bet his popularity and status were bigger factors, sometimes stars do become bigger than the sport – think Woods, Bolt, Beckham, Ronaldo, Federer – What damage could be done to their sports if they were discredited? That’s why sports have to protect their biggest assets.
What I don’t understand is the trend of celebs and sportspeople trying to cash in on their controversial stories and claiming that people can ‘learn’ from them. When in truth, somethings are best left unsaid and cause more damage than do good, Agassi was and is a hero to millions, including me, a role model – but what kind of role model is he now? How many young people will look at the fact that Agassi took drugs and still had a great career? In every sense it is the completely wrong message to be sending out, the only good thing that might come out of this is that the World Anti Doping Agency will tackle the governing bodies on doping and find out how many other cover ups there have been.
I was also really shocked at Agassi’s claim that he hates tennis and only did it to earn a living, I find that hard to believe as I don’t think any professional sportsperson could dedicate their life to something they didn’t enjoy doing.
It makes me laugh when people who’ve done bad in the past come out and start trying to preach like some wise budda type thing, when the only reason they’re telling the story is for personal gain. It’s like saying do as I say but not as I do, and it doesn’t wash with me. I don’t think Agassi has done himself any favours.
For my next book I might tell how I once slept with a goat whilst injecting heroine up my bum. I’m also going to write about buying the naming rights of St. James’ Park and calling it Stephen Miller’s Love Parlour.co.uk.