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Rodriguez (l) Currently Trails Only
Jeter In Endorsements Among MLBers
NOT THAT BIG A HIT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Matthew Futterman writes "immediate, tangible implications" for Rodriguez, who has a 10-year, $275M contract with the Yankees, "appear unlikely." The alleged positive test "is too old to warrant a suspension, and he earns little from corporate endorsements." Entertainment marketing consultant Ryan Schinman: "This hurts him more long term if he doesn't make the Hall of Fame, but in the short term he wasn't a guy a lot of marketers were going for" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/9).
Many Feel A-Rod Should Hold News
Conference To Discuss Steroid Issue
HONESTY IS SUCH A LONELY WORD: ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote one route for Rodriguez to take is to be "Honest and Open." Rodriguez "could talk about everything: what he did, when he did it, why he did, his regrets, his concerns, side effects, the benefits, the costs." Olney: "This would be something very rarely seen in the steroid era -- a time filled with thousands of mistakes by users, by union leaders, by the baseball commissioner and by baseball owners. And yet it's a time of embarrassingly few specific, sincere admissions. Doing so would be the right thing" (ESPN.com, 2/8). In DC, Thomas Boswell: "Confession may or may not be good for the soul. But it is definitely good career strategy" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/9). A Yankees official said, "If he did it, he's got to flat-out admit it, like [A's 1B Jason] Giambi. Just come out and say, 'I did it. I'm sorry. I lied.'" The official added Rodriguez' legacy is now "gone." The official: "He'll just play it out. Now he's a worker. Do your job, collect your paycheck and when you're finished playing, go away. That's what it is." Several other front-office officials declined to comment (N.Y. TIMES, 2/8).
Writer Feels Fans Will Forgive
A-Rod If He Tells Truth
REPUTATION IN TATTERS: In London, Tom Dart writes the image of "another clean-cut American sporting icon has been badly damaged," and the news is "another deep wound to the reputation of a sport that is paying the price for years of inaction and leniency" (LONDON TIMES, 2/9). ESPN.com's Olney wrote under the header, "A-Rod Now Tarnished Forever" (ESPN.com, 2/8). ESPN.com's Howard Bryant wrote under the header, "Steroid Past Brings Down Future King" (ESPN.com, 2/7). Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: "Image is everything to Alex Rodriguez, and now that image is shattered” ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 2/8). FOXSPORTS.com's Mark Kriegel writes, "No one really cares if football players do steroids. They tend to die young, anyway. ... But baseball is different. Baseball is a game of numbers. ... When you mess with those numbers, you mess with The Game. And that's exactly what Rodriguez has done" (FOXSPORTS.com, 2/9).
Though Disappointed In Behavior,
Subway Maintains Phelps' Sponsorship
MIX UP IN REPORTS: ESPN's "SportsCenter" led off its 6:00pm ET Friday episode by citing a BuzzNewsroom.com report that Subway "is preparing to drop Phelps and his sponsorship deal." ESPN's Brian Kenny reported Subway "said it is not commenting or releasing a statement regarding Phelps, but the web report says executives want to be rid of the embarrassment.” Approximately 75 minutes into the broadcast, Kenny updated the Subway report, saying, "Subway has not dropped Michael Phelps and his endorsement deal, as a Web site reported earlier” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 2/6).
DON'T BE LIKE MIKE: USA Swimming Exec Dir Chuck Wielgus said that the NGB did not believe Phelps' three-month suspension "set a precedent for other athletes who could, in theory, be suspended without testing positive for drugs." Wielgus: "We viewed this as an extraordinary circumstance, and we do not see this as a precedent for other swimming athletes who might exhibit bad judgment. ... We simply felt that it was important to send a message that we thought to be in the best interest of Michael, USA Swimming, the Olympic Movement and the sport" (Baltimore SUN, 2/7). But ESPN.com's J.A. Adande said, "It’s really more symbolic than anything because this thing did create a media firestorm, (and) USA Swimming feels like they have to react somehow" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/6). ESPN's Pat Forde said USA Swimming "felt like they had to do something to register their disapproval" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 2/6). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser: “It’s totally symbolic and I think it’s the right way to go because of the way he’d been Godded up” ("PTI," ESPN, 2/6). CNBC’s Darren Rovell called the suspension "crazy" and said, "Do you think anyone in the NFL or (MLB), with the unions, would be able to get suspended for behavior based on a photo? That’s crazy, that sets a horrible precedent” (ESPN.com, 2/9).
Phelps' Participation In The '12 London
Games Has Millions At Stake For NBC
SETTING THE BAR TOO HIGH: In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck wrote if you are "going to create an image that a celebrity is going to have to inhabit for the rest of his career and maybe the rest of his life, you've got to be sure that the celebrity in question is both willing and capable of pulling that off." Phelps "obviously is neither, though that doesn't make him a bad fellow," but rather "badly mismanaged." Phelps is the "rare athlete able to elicit this level of shock and disenchantment from one photograph of him doing what countless college students in countless frat houses do every weekend night all over America." Phelps was "presented to the public and corporate America as a squeaky-clean paragon of virtue who would never, ever do such a tawdry thing as act like an actual 23-year-old." Schmuck wrote if Phelps' representation at Octagon "had it to do over again, I'm pretty sure it would still have sold Phelps to Speedo and Omega, but not to a company that makes sugary cereal for kids" (Baltimore SUN, 2/7). In Chicago, Rick Morrissey wrote one can "understand why Phelps might crave some modicum of normalcy." Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor emeritus Jay Coakley: "I would say there was a desperate desire on his part to get out of this tunnel in which he has been living" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/8).
Phelps' Maintained Support From
Sponsors Surprises Some
HE'S NOT PERFECT, SO WHAT? In Houston, Richard Justice wrote, "I don't understand why we have to make these people objects, how we have to forget that, at the end of the day, he's still like the rest of us in most ways." Who did the sponsors "think they were signing in the first place?" Did they "understand he's young, that he's not perfect, that he's as flawed as the rest of us?" (CHRON.com, 2/6). In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs wrote, "We're all screw-ups in some way. I'd hire Phelps any day of the week before I hired the opportunistic scumbag who used a camera phone to snap his picture and then sold it to a British tabloid" (HARTFORD COURANT, 2/8). In Oakland, Monte Poole wrote part of Phelps' "appeal, we reasoned, stemmed from him being a regular kid, an everyman who happens to swim like a shark" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 2/8).
Andy Samberg Appears As Spitz On "SNL"
NASCAR Sponsors Hope Their
Investments Generate More Business
Landing Zone Receives Large
Amount Of TV Exposure
VANOC Inks Videogame
Deal With Sega
SHOE-IN: In Oklahoma City, Tatyana Johnson reported Nike Saturday released its first shoe for Thunder F Kevin Durant, the KD1, for a group of children at a Nike Skills Clinic in Oklahoma City. The shoes will retail for $88, and Durant said, "I wanted everyone to be able to get a pair of my shoes because when I was growing up, there were all types of shoes that my parents couldn't afford to buy." The shoe features a "stamp on the tongue" to honor Durant's mother, a former postal worker, while the word "Graffiti" on the left side of the shoe "represents meaningful places in his life" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 2/8). Meanwhile, adidas recently released a new TV spot called "Man Child," launching its "Inside PHX with [Magic C] Dwight Howard" all-access promotion (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 2/7).
SUBSTITUTION: Mexican newspaper the Record has teamed with Blockbuster for its voodoo-doll promotion ahead of Wednesday's Mexico-U.S. men's World Cup qualifying match, replacing RadioShack, who dropped out of the promotion last month "after learning details of the campaign." Customers can trade in coupons at any Blockbuster store in Mexico City in exchange for the voodoo-doll likenesses of U.S. soccer players (AP, 2/6).
ROUNDUP: Vitaminwater yesterday launched its new promotional campaign, "Revive to Survive," in which it challenges fans to "re-create" famous moments from the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Fans can upload videos at ncaa.com/revive, and the winning entrant will receive a VIP trip to the Final Four in Detroit (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/7)....Stop & Shop grocery stores once again are selling Flutie Flakes cereal in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism (BOSTON HERALD, 2/8)....Italian Serie A club AC Milan said that MF David Beckham's No. 32 jersey is "selling at a rate similar to those" of AC Milan MF Ronaldinho (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 2/5).