WNBA: Former WNBA MVP Diana Taurasi Tests Positive for a Banned Substance

Taurasi Could Be Banned From Play in the 2012 Summer Olympics
Taurasi Could Be Banned From Play in the 2012 Summer OlympicsChristian Petersen/Getty Images
Lance MorrisonCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2011

Not so long ago perennial champion Diana Taurasi had a such a wholesome, girl-next-door image that she was slated to do "Got Milk" adds directed at kids. Taurasi was the 2009 WNBA MVP and has won a NCAA Division I-A championship, an Olympic championship, a WNBA championship and a FIBA World Championship with team USA.

She was an important face for the WNBA, a role model and one of the few women in the WNBA that landed a major national ad campaign. In 2010, Taurasi was cited and subsequently charged with DUI, and her image suffered a major blow, costing the WNBA their wholesome face and costing herself a pile of cash.

Everyone makes mistakes and Taurasi is a professional athlete. That basically means that if you can play, all is forgiven. Taurasi can play.

She was probably one good WNBA season away from mass memory loss when a routine urine test for the Turkish basketball federation came up positive for a "banned substance" called Modafinil, a stimulant commonly used to counteract the effects of sleep disorders.

Taurasi is one of many WNBA players that plays ball in Europe during the WNBA offseason to supplement her income. Taurasi was leading the Turkish basketball federation in scoring with 24.6 points a game before being provisionally suspended by the league, pending the test results of further samples. 

There have been no reports revealing what circumstance would put her Olympic status in jeopardy, but there is a possibility that Taurasi will be disqualified from Olympic competition pending an investigation by the International Olympic Committee.

So far, there has been no response from WNBA officials.

Modafinil has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency's and has been the subject of several major doping cases, including that of U.S. sprinter Kelli White. Should subsequent tests be confirmed, Taurasi could be banned from play in the Turkish basketball federation for up to two years.

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