It would seem odd that tennis champ Maria Sharapova would take issue with any kind of publicity shoot. We could expect that much from someone who has posed for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s swimsuit issue and done extensive endorsements for Nike and Canon, yes?
So why would the WTA be threatening to fine her $700,000?
Turns out that the Women’s Tennis Association is asking Sharapova, among others, to take part in a four-hour commercial shoot - right before one of the biggest tournaments of the year. Sharapova has announced publicly that she wants no part of it, citing her need to prepare to play. CNBC’s sports biz guru Darren Rovell breaks it down:
The WTA has a rule that requires players that don’t wear its sponsor patch (which includes Maria) to promote the tour once a year for whatever they want for five hours time.
If they don’t do this, those players can be fined and the fines are quite high (in this case, we’re told Sharapova’s fine would be $700,000).
Sharapova’s side of it is that this came out of nowhere and it’s not fair. If I were to take her side, I’d say that, in this age of video editing, why does Maria have do anything in any location?
Three words for the WTA: Google Image Search. And why doesn’t Maria just wear the patch, you know, like every other team sport athlete in America. That’s not to endorse the heavy-handed threats from the league brass, who’d be better served (ba-dum-bum) to not tick off arguably its brightest star.
Oh, and one more pic of the Wimbledon champ.