“Hasta la vista, Speedo,” said Andrea Peyser in the New York Post. Millions of dollars in endorsements burst into flames over the weekend for swimmer Michael Phelps, after a British tabloid newspaper, News of the World, published a photograph of the Olympic champion smoking marijuana at a college party. Advertisers will pay big money for a heroes, but “wealthy, self-important jerks” aren’t quite so marketable.
This is definitely a “sad day for Phelps,” said Christine Brennan in USA Today. But it’s “a sadder day for the millions of parents and young athletes” who found inspiration as he collected a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. “How disappointed must they be that a glorious hero, a person in whom they placed their trust,” has let them down.
The News of the World is the one that really let us all down, said Tunku Varadarajan in Forbes. Its “salivating” report told us nothing, really, except that “a 23-year-old got high on a college campus. OK, so he was no ordinary 23-year-old. But does that justify a tawdry tabloid ‘gotcha’” that scars a young man’s life just to sell a few papers?