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  • Gareth Ellis

Justice served?

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. But what happens when you’ve done the time?

Recently, Maria Sharapova made a return to tennis after being banned for 15 months for taking an illegal substance – meldonium.

However, despite serving her time she was called a cheat by fellow professional tennis player Eugenie Bouchard. Now whereas that may have been true, who is she to then still call her a cheat?

I’m not saying Ms Bouchard isn’t welcome to her opinion, and yes if I was a fellow tennis player then I may feel the same way. Unfortunately I’m only ace at writing (he says) so I’m a long way off that.

I digress.

My point is that anyone who is convicted of doing something illegal, within reason, should be allowed a second chance, but only when they have served their time – no pun intended with this case.

If somebody goes to prison for a crime and then serves their time should they not be given another chance? I don’t mean the very worst criminals. The rapists, murderers and those who harm children don’t deserve a second chance.

However, Sharapova hasn’t done any of those. She took a banned substance and spent 15 months away from a sport she loves.

Now she’s back as an unranked player where she will have to fight her way up the rankings again. Of course a second offence should result in a total ban but in my opinion not before a second chance.

I’ve made hundreds of mistakes in my time, admittedly usually just from something horrible I’ve said. But if I wasn’t given a second chance every now and again then I would have no friends, no fiancée and no life.

Yes people make mistakes, some more serious than others, but surely there is always a way back? The road to redemption can be long and lonely but at the end of every road there is always that – redemption.

The best way for every other player on the tour to ‘punish’ Sharapova is to train harder and play better and push her down the rankings. The answer should surely not be to sit and moan about it. Actions always speak louder than words.

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