Letters: Endorsing Athletes Who Misbehave

Talk of the Nation listeners wrote in to comment on our segment with Timothy Egan, who wondered why Nike continues to support suspended NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Also, there is an update on the story of Gizmodo and the iPhone prototype.


It's Tuesday, time to read from your emails and Web comments. And many of you sprinted to your keyboards to weigh in on our conversation about Nike and Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who's faced accusations of sexual assault. Prosecutors chose not to file charges, but the NFL suspended him for up to six games. And Timothy Egan, a columnist for the newyorktimes.com, wondered why Nike would continue to support him.

Wheaties is the breakfast of champions, not the breakfast of very moral people. Whatever Tiger, et cetera, have done, they are still great athletes, and athletic equipment companies still want you to think their product is one of the reasons the athlete is so good at his or her job - that by email from C. Williams in Seattle.

Other listeners were outraged, including Warner Voight(ph) in Miami, who offered: Marauder is a splendid name for Roethlisberger's shoe. I can see new lines from Nike coming with names like aggressor, abuser, bully, et cetera. Long live profits.

Writers were also divided on our conversation about the obesity epidemic in the United States. Dr. Arthur Frank with the George Washington University Weight Management Program told us we have to treat obesity like a disease. Jason Hudgins(ph) emailed from California to complain: That's not enough. Where's the personal accountability in this discussion? The only reason why we, as in the USA, have an obesity problem is we have an overeating problem. Don't like your body? Stop whining and change it.

Another listener, Jen, offered her own personal perspective. I'm a 38-year-old woman who has struggled with obesity my entire life. I am now at just under 300 pounds. For the past four years, I've been a vegetarian who eats a very good diet. I exercise as much as I can. I am slowly losing weight. But this is going to take a long time. My point is this: The prejudice against obesity is just as problematic as obesity itself. Dealing with the emotional trauma of how I have been treated by society has been just as harmful, if not more, than the obesity itself. I wonder when it will end.

Finally, an update on the saga of the lost-and-no-longer-secret iPhone prototype. We talked last week with an editor from Gizmodo, the blog that bought the next-generation iPhone apparently after it was left in a bar by an Apple engineer. Last week, police in California seized computers from the home of Jason Chen, the Gizmodo editor who first got his hands on the gadget.

Authorities appear to be considering criminal charges. But a lawyer for Gizmodo's parent company complained to local police that Jason Chen is a journalist protected by the state's shield law, and that the seizure of his equipment was unwarranted. Clearly, there's more news to come. We'll keep you posted.

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