Agassi – Victim of “Virus Journalism”?

Andre Agassi’s forthcoming biography “Open” and the multiple news stories created about what he’s revealed along with the various comments from former players will continue to dominate not only tennis news but sports news for some time. Agassi is still one of the few tennis pros, active or retired, that transcend his sport into mainstream awareness.

What’s interesting to me, in terms of book publicity, is if the book itself will benefit from all the buzz or fail. Publicists may have leaked the juicy details of Agassi’s meth use ahead of the imposed press embargo, but even if they had kept to the schedule, the new “virus journalism” that exists today would still have outstripped any excerpts published in newspapers last week or the People magazine cover story this week.

Unlike the recent admission by actress Mackenzie Phillips about having sex with her father that was first announced on People.com and then backed up with her interview on Oprah before her book dropped, the Agassi “virus” took on a life of its own as it demanded an immediate reaction from current players, the ATP, WADA and the sports media. The “reaction” is now a story itself as it forces attention on the powers that be to see if they are just as guilty as Agassi of any wrongdoing.

Even with his upcoming 60 Minutes interview this weekend where Agassi will have a chance to discuss the book and the reaction, the impact of the “virus” is so strong that those who may have bought the book probably won’t as they may have had enough of the story.

In other words, the “virus” may end up killing its host i.e. the book.

Why Agassi chose to write the book now and why he chose to reveal all is open to debate, but I think he did it, as he has said, as a way to deal with and close one part of his life so to make way for the next. If he’s allowed to do that considering all that happens remains to be seen.

Let me know what you think?

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