The Spanish Tennis Federation is suing a French television station for running a sketch insinuating that Rafael Nadal uses performance-enhancing drugs.
A 60-second sketch on "Les Guignols" ("The Puppets") showed a man wearing a Nadal mask pulling into a gas station and filling up his vehicle with his own urine. A message at the end of the scene read, "Spanish athletes. They do not win by chance." The text was surrounded by logos of various Spanish sports federations.
Another sketch showed Nadal signing a book with a syringe.
The program aired on the same day that Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador was stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title for using PEDs. Videos are quickly being pulled from YouTube quickly
Since my knowledge of British law is limited to the inheritance discussions on "Downton Abbey," I can't speak to whether the Spanish Tennis Federation has a case. In the United States, this would clearly be considered a parody. Those Brits have some strange defamation laws, so whether the Rafa mask, insinuation of steroid use or placement of official Spanish logos is forbidden, I couldn't say.
"On this occasion intolerable limits have been exceeded and we at the RFET cannot ignore such discredit and slander towards our athletes," federation president Jose Luis Escanuela told The Telegraph.
Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol responded to the accusation on Twitter. "We, the Spanish sportsmen, don´t win by chance ... it's true. Write down the keys of our succes: talent, effort, perseverance and humility."
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