Can you forgive Andre Agassi?

andreAs the Daily Telegraph puts it, ‘champion, icon, liar and crystal meth user’. Are you shocked? If you are, is it the drug taking, or the many lies he told to get out of trouble? Or does disappointment at his fallibility simply show that we expect too much from sports stars?

“There is a moment of regret, followed by vast sadness,” said Agassi of his first time taking the drug. “Then comes a tidal wave of euphoria that sweeps away every negative thought in my head. I’ve never felt so alive, so hopeful – and I’ve never felt such energy.”

At the time, Agassi was in the worst slump in his career, having fallen
as low as 141st in the world.

When he failed a drugs test, Agassi then lied about it
saying a soda he was drinking from was spiked with the drug. Authorities believed him and Agassi was never punished.

So, he turns out not to be quite the man we thought he was.
He cheated the system and he got away with it. Can you forgive him?

56 Responses to “Can you forgive Andre Agassi?”

  1. October 28, 2009 at 14:17

    I read too much about doped athletes to even care anymore. Maybe it’s an unwritten rule, every big time athlete has to take drugs.


  2. 2 Al Mathes
    October 28, 2009 at 14:18

    Addiction has no preferences. It controls the homeless as well as executives all who dare including athletes. Those who are honest and try to battle this horrid disease deserve our support as long as they remain true to their desire to stay clean.

    • October 28, 2009 at 18:20

      Taking Chrystal Meth would not have given Agassi any advantage over another athlete.It only could have weakened his performance so no unsportly behaviour occurred.
      That Agassi feels the need to confess and reveal his untruthfulness can only help other young people to see that Agassi has real courage off the court as well as he did have when he fought back and regained his strength and selfrespect.
      He of course was wrong to lie to the authorities but the anti-doping laws should protect Sport and not invade an athlete’s privacyand destroy someone who already was down.I do not have to forgive him.I say thankyou for writing truthfully.

  3. 4 Chintan in Houston
    October 28, 2009 at 14:24

    We are so fascinated by celebrity dirt, its sad. He is just trying to sell a book that he probably did not even write a single page, it was almost all written by someone else.
    Whats with every celebrity writing a book, even the pilot that landed the plane in the Hudson river wrote a book. He is a hero for sure, but really, this is too much!!
    Lets ignore such people at WHYS and concentrate on real issues such economy, jobs, trade, war, famine, floods, disease, education, human rights!

  4. 5 Tom in NYC
    October 28, 2009 at 14:24

    With everything that’s going on in the world this very day, who the hell cares about a tennis player?

  5. 6 James Turner
    October 28, 2009 at 14:55

    He was never my hero. He was and probally still is a good tennis player. My hero has always been my mother. God Bless her soul…. The world would be a much better place if all parents tried hard to be the hero for their children!

  6. 7 Roberto
    October 28, 2009 at 14:57

    RE “” So, he turns out not to be quite the man we thought he was. “”

    ————– Turns out that in the modern world, even a sports star is a nobody unless he has a substance abuse problem needing some good ol’ fashioned celebrity rehab.

    Obviously if he was a true cheat, he would’ve been using HGH, human growth hormone, which is undetectable and the new miracle drug of the blackmarket medical and sports establishment.

  7. 8 steve
    October 28, 2009 at 14:58

    Gee I feel so horrible for a wealthy man that dates supermodels. Boo hoo. poor him. we should all pity him. drug addiction is a disease!

  8. 9 Linda from Italy
    October 28, 2009 at 15:00

    Oh for heaven’s sake! He wasn’t popping performance enhancing steroids, this was a “recreational” drug, that by some arbitrary rulebook is illegal, unlike those other recreational drugs booze and cigarettes. Mind you, it doesn’t sound too much fun if all it does is makes you clean the house (according to the Telegraph article) – whatever happened to all the “man the colours” stuff I remember, very hazily, from the 60s?
    I don’t see why sports authorities include these sort of drugs on their banned lists, after all they are not designed to help athletes cheat – I’m sure certain footballers play much better without that sort of dope.
    Of course he lied to get off the hook, as the real cheats all inevitably do, and what business is it of sports bodies to prognosticate on something that doesn’t lead to artificial improvements in performance.

  9. 10 Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    October 28, 2009 at 15:06

    Andre Agassi, shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!

  10. 11 Dan in Massachusetts
    October 28, 2009 at 15:09

    I am not in any position to either condemn or forgive Mr. Agassi. He lives his life as he sees fit and has to live with the consequences of his own choices and actions.

    However, I think it is a mistake to think of an athlete as a hero or role model simply because of their athletic prowess. They are human, just like the rest of us, and basically entertainers. Only occasionally, such as in the case of the late U.S. football player Pat Tillman, do they rise to the level of hero (and his heroism had little to do with his chosen profession).

  11. 12 patti in cape coral
    October 28, 2009 at 15:18

    Gee, I don’t know, my soul is rent from corner to corner over this… but I guess I will plumb the depths of my heart to find some kind of forgiveness :0)

  12. 13 Jessica in NYC
    October 28, 2009 at 15:35

    What he has done with the celebrity his talent awarded him makes him a hero, Andre Agassi has given his support, money and time to many charities and is devoted to bring better education to intercity and unprivileged kids in the community he lives it.

    The fact that he used drugs is hardy unusual for any famous person. I don’t think less of him as an athlete, because it was not an performance enhancing drug. His mistakes and failures do not take anything away from the great athlete that is was, it makes him human and as such everyone makes mistakes. No one is immune from a lapse in judgment. He does not owe “us” an apology and as such we have nothing to forgive.

  13. October 28, 2009 at 15:47

    Whether you want to admit it or not, celebrities make up a large part of the fabric of society. People use them to escape their lives. This a ‘real’ issue, and like many other issues WHYS will cover, people tend to mimic their lives after every movie star, singer, model or sports professional. Politicians, scientists and computer geeks are also becoming household names. And now that reality TV is among us, everybody is a celebrity.

    Oh yea, Andre Agassi. I know him. He plays tennis. I don’t play tennis– and I currently don’t spend a lot of time watching tennis. However, I did watch him and found his high level of performance, and the fact that he broke the mold, rather intriguing.

    He has faults, bad habits and made mistakes. I forgive him. Humans make mistakes. He chose to reveal those skeletons in his closet by unlocking the door–as opposed to one of the commonly used methods of ‘home invasion’ used by the media.

  14. October 28, 2009 at 15:50

    Seriously… well, sportsmen are just like we all are. There is nothing intrinsically worth learning from sportsmen as a rule whether they end up doping or not. They may run, play tennis, football or swim very well, so what, some of us do accounting, farming, writing etc very well too!
    The lesson people usually look up to sportsmen for is their supposed perseverance, sportsmanship and hard work, which I honestly think we could get from others, too. Usually, folks don’t consider the low moral values of these sportsmen which is why we once in a while get knocked when we realized that they are human after all.
    We have created a new type of sportsmen with super human abilities: we expect them to cover 100 meters in 2 seconds, score 90 goals in 90 minutes, etc (we also expect them to garnish these superhuman abilities with superhuman resistance to temptation too!) … so we get what we ask for, except for the resistence! Personally, my ideal sportsman should run 100 meters in 1 minute (makes me want to run along too!) and in some football seasons, it is okay even if they don’t score any goals – and off the field/track, they should subscribe to similar moral codes as we all do

  15. 17 T
    October 28, 2009 at 15:56

    Did anyone force him to do meth? He lies and gets rich. Meanwhile, noncelebs addicts who need help are denied it. Why? Because their health coverage says addiction is a “pre-exisitng” condition. And now he’ll get even richer from this. Go figure.

  16. 18 T
    October 28, 2009 at 16:09

    A prediction. He’ll go on an apology tour. He won’t lose any endorsements. And if he does go for further treatment, he’ll get the best money can buy. If he submits a health insurance claim, his company would never deny him (because they don’t want the bad pr).

  17. 19 Dennis Junior
    October 28, 2009 at 16:10


    …Can you forgive Andre Agassi?….Maybe!

    =Dennis Junior=

  18. 20 lee green
    October 28, 2009 at 16:13

    I have been a big tennis fan for many years and seen all the last 3 male players to win the four majors (in the last 40 years), Rod laver, Roger Federer (this year) and Andre Agassi. Such is the achievement of these 3 that such greats as Sampras, Nastase, Borg & Conners, to name a few, have not equaled them. Agassi alone managed to come back from virtual obscurity (141st in the world) to achieve this. The fact that he is a “great” is undeniable.

    Is he a role model? Well because he is fallible certainly should not put off youngsters from around the world regarding him as such. Never my favourite player but certainly one I very much admired. With his now partner and wife Steffi Graph, also not immune from controversy, they are indeed, in these days of dodgy politicians, bankers and regulators, what youngsters should aspire to. I say game set and match to Mr. Agassi.

  19. 21 Tom K in Mpls
    October 28, 2009 at 16:18

    Another imperfect human, so, where’s the story?

  20. 22 Camlus
    October 28, 2009 at 16:42

    Yeah.I forgive him. It’s quite commendable that he’s decided to come clean. Other athletes who might be using banned substances to win races- God forbid- ought to borrow a leaf from Agassi and come clean. It only needs to be sooner than he did. As for being a role model, he’s definately absent in my short-list of personalities worth emulating.

    October 28, 2009 at 16:53

    I am not having a dig at WHYS staff for bringing this story, its important to have balance.

    It’s amazing how much this story does not interest me, Its his private life!


  22. 24 Jens
    October 28, 2009 at 17:06

    for anyone who has not read it properly, he USED to take meth years ago an fell to 141 in the rankings. he then got his act together and became one of the best players and dedicate a large part of his life to disprivaleged children in las vagas.

    may he/she who is infallable cast the first stone. i know i will certainly not be in th front lines to do so.

  23. October 28, 2009 at 17:10

    Disheartening, both for him and his health, and for the come-down of a hero. A friend of mine has covered tennis as a commentator for decades and knows Agassi. He raved about all of the good Agassi does in his foundations, etc. He talked about the exceptional qualities of a man who was misunderstood by a lot of reporters who saw only the flamboyant side of Agassi. There are fewer and fewer folks who you would like your kids to emulate… and today there is one less.

  24. October 28, 2009 at 17:12

    frankly, I don’t give a damn. Drug consumers perhaps end up getting their just rewards Elvis, Mikeal Jackson, Johnny Cash, John Bulushi on and on!!!!!!


  25. 27 Dennis Junior
    October 28, 2009 at 17:16

    Yes, I think that in reality can forgive Andre Agassi for his misdeeds…..

    =Dennis Junior=

  26. October 28, 2009 at 17:25

    Andre Agassi’s revelations will shock many. To err is human. By coming clean now he is coming to terms with what he did. That required a lot of courage. Of course his disclosures are a let down but that does not take away his brilliant performances on the tennis court and his lovable antics as well. His adoring fans will undoubtedly continue to have their faith in him and will support him despite the disclosures.

  27. 29 Lloyd Hand
    October 28, 2009 at 17:30

    Who stands to gain by this admission? Certainly not those who aspire to emulate his marvellous achievments. He has shattered the dreams of many would-be atheletes who may have believed that perfection is attained through hard work and dedication. Forgive him? For taking drugs, lying and cheating – yes, he deserves forgiveness because we are all human and we all make mistakes. But if this admission is about selling a book and making money, then that is unforgiveable.

  28. 30 Venkat Gopal, North carolina
    October 28, 2009 at 17:51

    Dear Ros,
    It’s hard to belive that this is currently the most discussed topic around the world and WHYS has felt the urgent need to address the issue. I am sure this must be pretty flattering to a has been, multi millionaire tennis player, who for all we know may have made up these stories for sensationalism to help further his book sales. I digress!

  29. 31 Barrie muntaga
    October 28, 2009 at 17:54

    He is another cheter so no aplogy accepted , strip all his titule and compenciate those he cheted.

    Barrie liberia

  30. 32 Bert
    October 28, 2009 at 17:58

    Well, this was not a performance enhancing drug, so aside from the word “drug,” it bears no resemblance to any of the other famous cases of drug use by athletes.

    The real problem is not with Andre, it is instead with those of us who feel the need to worship personalities. Quit the silly, unbecoming adulation, please!

    He seems to give to charitable causes. Sounds like most other human beings, some good and some bad in each of us.

  31. 33 Mike in Seattle
    October 28, 2009 at 18:07

    Tom in MN said it all: can anyone find me a perfect human being?

  32. 34 Barbara Green
    October 28, 2009 at 18:17

    The best thing Andre Agassi ever did was create his school in Las Vegas and his charitable organization. If he hadn’t had his hard times and his lows, he might never have accomplished these exceptional achievements. The sins of his youth are eclipsed by the good works he’s done since.

  33. October 28, 2009 at 18:25

    I can forgive Andre almost anything. He was hurting no one but himself & his family. I just admire him more for being able to pull it back together, admit his problems, go on to get back in the game, achieve what he did, and most importantly, do the great charity work he has done with his school tennis program. Get a spotlight on that, OK?

  34. 36 Gloria in Oregon
    October 28, 2009 at 18:31

    Hear, hear, Jessica. You speak so well. I, as Linda, also agree with you. Andre Agassie is a humanitarian, a gentleman, a loving father and husband. He is no more or less a human than the rest of us, except for…he is a great tennis player.

  35. 37 Elias
    October 28, 2009 at 18:55

    Perhaps Andre Agassi may in some way be bothered about his reputation, but for the most part he is laughing all the way to his bank.

  36. 38 Boadu Kwabena
    October 28, 2009 at 19:01

    Its people like Agassi who are making everyone lose faith in the principle os sports especially that of fair competition. As I type, I cant trust any sportsman including the likes of Usain Bolt, Bekele, Messi or Roger Federer. May be we should get to a stage where we would legalize all performance enhancers because whether we like it or not and no matter the checks people are still gaining unfair advantage in sports. I can never forgive him or anyone else including a personality like Marion Jones who I used to adore. Forgiving them would be giving a licence to anyone to follow in their bad footsteps and praying that they are never caught. Agassi has conffesed but do we know the thousands who are still quiet?

  37. October 28, 2009 at 19:41

    What’s there to forgive?
    Agassi, has been one of the more loved of sports icons across the globe, not just for his prowess on the turft but also as a geniune person. The difference between him and most others is his honesty. Since meth isnt a performance-enhancing drug, he should not be chastised for his use but be made to understand that his past activity – the use of the drug and then lying about the use to avoid sanction – is not condoned and was quite irresponsible, and unbecoming of a public figure.

    He has sinned. He has confessed. Let’s hope he has set the tone for other confessions in sports, and lets hope it doesnt take 12 yrs as did Agassi’s.

  38. 40 Philippa
    October 28, 2009 at 19:48

    If Agassi had taken a performance enhancing drug, he would have guilty of cheating, but he took a performance DAMAGING drug. What’s the issue? Do we test world leaders for performance damaging drugs? That would seem more appropriate.

  39. 41 vijay pillai
    October 28, 2009 at 19:48

    Madona got away with hand ball and if he was not caught then , he was entitled to tell his story to make his conscience clear as he grow up. Remember he was not married to a great tennis and a great beauty – stiffiny graff at that time and now more mellowed and not hungry for achievements.

  40. 42 Tom K in Mpls
    October 28, 2009 at 19:50

    If he didn’t bring up the drugs in his book, wouldn’t that invalidate the book?

  41. 43 Philippa
    October 28, 2009 at 20:13

    Bravo Tom K in Mpls
    Right on the button

  42. 44 Linda from Italy
    October 28, 2009 at 23:07

    To return to the nub of the question, why are sportspersons seen as such heroes?
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a footie and F1 fan, neither of which benefit from performance drugs, although I’m not saying cheating doesn’t go on – diving for instance – but I don’t idolise these people, sport is business and part of show business, so it’s the spectacle and the entertainment that counts.
    I really don’t see how anyone could hold these people up as role models to kids, being able to kick or hit a ball further and/or faster than some other guy, or run faster, or jump further or higher, doesn’t have any intrinsic worth. These horrible sports parents, like Agassi’s father I gather, destroy their kids’ lives by using them as cash cows, just like the hideous show-biz parents (MJ anyone?). Aspiration is one thing, but at what point does it turn into exploitation? Or even child abuse?
    Please fellow bloggers, why is sport held up as some sort of worthy pursuit? Apart from the physical exercise angle.
    The competiveness it engenders is anti-social to say the least and to my US friends: why should some numskull get a subsidised university place, just because s/he can do these tricks better, when some poor person with a real brain is denied that opportunity?

  43. 45 derek
    October 28, 2009 at 23:29

    Surely to make it fair for all ,and that beneficial,Steroids etc. should be legalised.
    It is pretty obvious the HUGE physiques of certain,of our commonwealth brethren,must have previously been enhanced with their aid.

  44. 46 derek
    October 28, 2009 at 23:40

    Sorry,I was that excited with the topic,I mixed up a few words,but I expect you got the drift !

  45. 47 Dennis Junior
    October 29, 2009 at 00:57

    >>Or does disappointment at his fallibility simply show that we expect too much from sports stars?

    I think that is the problem, currently is that we except way too much from our sports stars…..fallibility is a human trait….

    =Dennis Junior=

  46. 48 Cathy
    October 29, 2009 at 06:11

    Why come clean now after so many years retired from tennis, Andre?
    Has your conscience finally taken its toil on you….or a case of making your book more sensational (to sell more copies)?
    And what of the downside after the ‘highs’? I haven’t read your book but I hope you’ve also mentioned what happens after the effect of the drug has worn off. This to deter those wanting to experiment for recreational or other reasons…however mild a drug may be.

    God bless your soul for all the good work you have done for charity!


  47. October 29, 2009 at 09:09

    The cover up is worse than the offence.
    John McEnroe admitted to taking steroids in his book.Agassi has to write something in his book,this fact is certainly eye catching and has illicted worldwide comment.
    Agassi used to be billed as someone of Greek background later on his Iranian roots came to light.

  48. 50 Roberto
    October 29, 2009 at 10:12

    RE “” Don’t get me wrong, I’m a footie and F1 fan, neither of which benefit from performance drugs “”

    ———— Oh, but you are wrong about PEDS(performance enhancing drugs) and sports in general.

    Footie is the poster-child of poorly regulated PED sports. It also follows that what many consider to be a nonsport, auto racing, PEDs would be rife since that was the misguided thinking about baseball and golf.

    Sports is a great deal more than just exercise. Competition is as natural as cooperation in the historical record of mankind. You want to save uni spots for “” some poor person with a real brain “” as if “real brainers” are everything noble, never antisocial or cheating, whereas athletes are a kind of inferior subspecies lacking higher thought processes.

    Whatever the transgressions of sports stars like Agassi, they pale in the face of modern global outrages brought about by “real brainer” politicians and mega-corporate moguls.

  49. 51 scmehta
    October 29, 2009 at 13:52

    Agassi could have hidden his this secret forever if he wanted; By admitting to the folly committed years before, he has truthfully responded to the call of his conscience, by which, he has not only acquitted/absolved himself of the lie, instead, in my opinion, he has proved that being honest to oneself is a greater quality than being infallible.
    Well done Agassi; I appreciate your guts. Cheer up, for you are now free from that guilty feeling.

  50. 52 Jennifer
    October 29, 2009 at 14:31

    I don’t think he needs my forgiveness. He does have my sympathy though; meth is nasty and it ruins lives.

  51. 53 Don in Detroit
    October 30, 2009 at 05:09

    What surprises me is how much effort is devoterd to ferreting out drug use among athletes and how much inordinate attention the subject is always given. I am very much concerned with drug abuse – and not by some guy who might have a fit of rage and smash a tennis racket but by people to go around psychotically energized by anabolic steroid abuse while carrying badges and guns and pretty much given carte blanche authority to do whatsoever they think they can justify by corrupt judges who profit whenever the badge-carrying dope addicts they subsidize engage in extortion racketeering which undermines the confidence peaceable people can feel in the integrity of their government agencies. Detroit has such corrupt cops that it has been under Federal Justice Department orders to clean up it’s act for almost a decade now and yet very little reform seems to be happening. People should learn to prioritize their outrage to where it rightfully belongs.

  52. 54 Fe
    October 30, 2009 at 08:03

    I don’t care that he took drugs, especially when he was playing professional tennis. Did it make him a better player? No.

    After hearing stories in the news about professional athletes not being allowed to take basic drugs for coughs/colds/flu because of regular doping testing; having to inform another group where you are for an hour, every 24 hours… That would probably drive me to take crystal meth!

    Everyone needs to rebel once in a while, especially to relieve the stress when under pressure, and if they don’t go off the rails or endanger anyone else, what right does anyone have to stop them? Okay, so must drugs are illegal. I’m not going to get offended at the actions of a person who has clearly demonstrated that if he hadn’t been honest and open about that period of his life, we would be none the wiser and still “love” him.

    People need to get off of his back and stop whipping up a storm about an inconsequential matter. There are far more important things in the world to worry about, like what colour to paint our nails…

  53. 55 Parvathi Akkaraju
    November 8, 2009 at 20:41

    Yes. At least he came out of the closet and relieved himself from his own prison. Think about how many players would have beaten him and come into next round if it was not the drug which made him go full speed and stunned the opponent. I remember how some players felt bad playing against him. How did ATP let him get away with it? It it his father to be blamed if he really responsible to give that pill. and ATP for letting him get away with it. Because it is AGASSI. Hero worship. When Agassi on court commentators did not see the opponent especially Mary Carillo and Pam Striver In the change over time the way he walked towards his chair itself told me there was some thing with this guy. Bagdatis almost won” that game.” A special kick made Agassi go full speed with speed inside him. I saw Becker almost cried in the tennis court asking the crowd “don’t you see what is happening here.” A narrow cheating also was happening to bring Agassi to next round. His speed adding little help in U.S. grounds brought him up where he does not deserve to be. Sorry Steffi to talk about your husband like this. I love you very much. Not that I don’t like Agassi. Probably he was under the influence of fame and drug. God bless him. I hope he will get over ” this ” soon enough and live peacefully and clean.

  54. 56 Parvathi Akkaraju
    November 8, 2009 at 20:48

    Badadis almost won “that game”

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