Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tennis Dad's Son Wins Prize Ham; Opponent Perishes

I’ve prodded along our debate about the Bonds situation, although I think we’re well into agree-to-disagree territory. Not that I’m really willing to ATD, because Andy and I are both too stubborn to admit when we’re wrong.

Where we do agree is our reaction to A-Rod’s stunning one-liner, which deserves a public rebuke from Bud Selig. There are some things you just don't joke about; and it had better have been a joke.

For me, NHL trade-deadline day is overshadowed by a story that's 'better' than even the worst of our hockey-dad performances. Here are the essential, cobbled together from BBC, WaPo and CBC reports:
A French court has sentenced Christophe Fauviau, a retired army officer who admitted drugging a number of his children’s tennis rivals, to eight years in prison for unintentionally causing death by administering toxic substances.

In July 2003, Fauviau’s son Maxime defeated 25-year-old school teacher Alexandre Lagardere in a village match in which the prize was a leg of ham. Lagardere complained of fatigue after the match, and while driving home crashed his car and died.

The trial heard that on up to 26 occasions from 2000 to 2003, Fauviau had given his children a helping hand by spiking their opponents’ water bottles with the anti-anxiety drug Temesta. He admitted to spiking Lagardere's water with at least six tablets.

The opponents, some as young as 11, complained to investigators of weak knees, dizziness, nausea or fainting. Several were hospitalized.

"Nothing stopped you," Prosecutor Serge Mackowiack said at the trial. "Players collapsing on the court, the sight of gurneys, of an 11-year-old girl, a young woman who collapses against a fence. Nothing stopped you."

Mr Fauviau did not deny tampering with the drinks but said that watching his children play tennis was so stressful that he had to do something. His daughter Valentine, now 13, is ranked in France's top 10 for her age group.

3 Comments:

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

My initial thoughts:

1. It was permitted: It wasn't outlawed by the sport of tennis. Therefore, it was permitted. Sure, doping and murder may be illegal in society, but it wasn't forbidden by the game of tennis.

2. It's nothing new: A vast number of parents have been doing this to kids for a long time. Drugging you children's opponents is now prohibited. Case closed. Unfinished business: for the sake of consistency, tennis should consider where they stand on the oldest fad: parents berating their children so much they are unable to compete.

3. He's going to jail: Conclusion: the parents got the message.

4. Equal time needs to be given to harassing other more media-friendly parents who've been tagged with the "hockey dad" accusation. Critics - and the media especially - are acting as though Fauviau is the only one. Why is he the whipping boy, and not Richard Williams?

5. Maxime Fauviau's achievements are beyond reproach, even if you limit your analysis to an assumed pre-insane father period.

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

Delightful! I surrender!

Wait, no I don't! I'm sure buried somewhere in their 50 pages of Rules, their separate Code, or their myriad of Regulations there's some general conduct provision.

Rule 26 might do it, although it would rest on whether the father of a player (and a minor at that) falls under the definition of opponent. The rules states: "If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent(s), the player shall win the point."

I think drugging your opponent counts as a hindrance.

Okay, there's got to be something. Look at this USTA comment on the hindrance rule: "USTA Comment 26.3: What happens if a player’s cell phone rings while the ball is in play? Because the player created the disturbance by bringing the phone to the court and not turning it off, the player is not entitled to a let. If the referee did not notify the players that cell phones should be turned off and if this is the first time that the phone has rung, then the opponent is entitled to a let. If the referee notified the players or if the player receives more than one call that rings, the opponent wins the point based on a hindrance."

I'm impressed. And they follow that up with a rule on the "Placement of Towels."

 
At 6:37 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Is there no such Player Code in MLB? I can't find anything, although there appears to be a Fan Code of Conduct. Typical MLB. No rules for the players, but rules for the paying public.

Damn! I thought I had you.

 

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