The Baltimore Sun

Will Phelps squander his public esteem?

Of course Michael Phelps deserves a break. But the mere fact that we are having this discussion diminishes him, and that is a problem of his own making ("Not a big deal?" Feb. 3).

His acknowledgment of his mistake and acts of contrition (and community service) were perfect after his DUI incident four years ago.

They stood apart from the usual athletic "apologies" of the day (which typically took the form of "I'm sorry you were offended by what I did" instead of "I'm sorry for what I did").

This time, his apology sounds a little canned, and he is starting to look like a kid on a binge who might have a problem.

My hope is that Mr. Phelps realizes that with his success in the pool, he has also created a valuable asset of esteem and goodwill that can be built upon in the future, and I'm talking about a lot more than Speedo endorsements.

I hope he doesn't fritter it away.

Kate Chambers, Baltimore

When will Michael Phelps learn that with great talent comes great responsibility?

Substitute "juvenile" for "youthful" and "really dumb" for "inappropriate" in the apology he issued for his actions, and you would have a better assessment of his recent actions.

Mary Lou Wickham, Glen Arm

Phelps has earned some breathing space

Can we just agree that, contrary to popular opinion, Michael Phelps is human ("Not a big deal?" Feb. 3)? Maybe we just caught a glimpse of Michael being Michael.

Here's a plea to give the man some space just to live his life. He's earned it.

Patrick R. Lynch, Baltimore

John Updike's place in pantheon is secure

Kudos for publishing Mary Carole McCauley's heartfelt eulogy for John Updike. She neatly summarized why his place in the pantheon of American literature is secure ("Master of details made reader feel what he felt," Jan. 29).

When future generations of fiction readers seek to understand how a large segment of middle-class Americans lived in the second half of the 20th century, they will turn to Mr. Updike.

Rest in peace, Mr. Updike. We'll miss you.

Joseph Arcieri, Baltimore

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