Landon Donovan: American Hero, British Tabloids Target

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REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

U.S. soccer player Landon Donovan had been having a great few weeks. Until, of course, the tabloids attacked.

The midfielder has been called “U.S. Soccer’s Golden Boy” after scoring against Algeria, advancing the U.S. team to the second round of the World Cup, and then scoring the team’s lone goal against Ghana. The Huffington Post declared that he could be soccer’s Michael Jordan. But alas, nothing gold can stay, especially in the court of public opinion. On Sunday, Sports Illustrated reported that a U.K. tabloid is set to print a story in which a British woman says she is pregnant with Donovan’s child.

Donovan addressed the rumors to SI.com, saying, “I was informed of the possibility during the World Cup, and if I need to take responsibility, then I will provide the appropriate support.” US Weekly reported that Donovan’s estranged wife, Bianca Kajich, “wasn’t blindsided” by the allegations and is not angry. The two are separated, and were reportedly working on their relationship prior to the rumors.

Salacious tabloid reports about soccer players are common in other countries, where the sport has a much higher profile. In a way, personal strife aside, these tabloid rumors will just bring more attention to an often-ignored American sport. The aforementioned Huffington Post column announced that Donovan is “the brand that will define U.S. soccer.” And if this scandal means anything, it means that soccer players are getting as much personal scrutiny as football players, basketball players and, well, golfers. So keep the scandal coming, U.S. soccer players. It’s good business.

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