Last updated on: 8/19/2009 | Author:

L. Jon Wertheim, JD Biography

Senior writer for Sports Illustrated
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Performance-Enhancing Drugs Be Accepted in Sports?"

“After all baseball has been through, [LA Dodger] Manny Ramirez tests positive for a banned substance and receives… a 50-game suspension. Sounds severe, given the laughably light penalties from the previous era, but it’s still barely a quarter of the season. Yet tennis represents the other end of the spectrum: an anti-doping protocol that is so draconian and intrusive and inflexible that it, too, undermines the sport. Two days after Ramirez’s embarrassment, [tennis player Richard] Gasquet tests positive for cocaine. Leaving aside his guilt or innocence — he claims the latter — it’s a first offense and it’s for a recreational drug, not one considered to enhance performance or distort competition. Gasquet’s punishment? Two years, which in tennis terms is damn near close to a death penalty…

In the absence of a real union, tennis players are getting hammered on the issue of anti-doping. The ‘penal code’ is way out of whack with reality or fairness. The appeals process is convoluted and prohibitively expensive. The thresholds are brutally harsh. The banned substance list is exhaustive — until recently, it included anti-hair-loss drugs. (And while no one condones cocaine, haven’t the last three U.S. presidents admitted to illicit drug use?)”

“Tennis Mailbag,”, May 13, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated, Sep. 1997-present
  • Contributor and weekly “Tennis Mailbag” columnist,
  • Included in The Best American Sports Writing anthology, 2005-2007
  • Former Assistant Editor, Rip City
  • JD, University of Pennsylvania, 1997
  • BA, Yale University, 1993
  • Twitter handle: @jon_wertheim