Ashe had a right to privacy

Arthur Ashe might have AIDS, but when he wanted the world to know should’ve been left up to him.

As the first African-American to win a Grand Slam tennis event, Ashe, 48, said he believes he contracted the deadly AIDS virus during a quadruple heart bypass operation in 1979 or a double bypass in 1983. Ashe has known he has AIDS for four years, but it wasn’t until USA Today announced they were going to publish the story that Ashe was forced into making his announcement.

Clearly, the editors of USA Today have the right to publish such information, but their reputation has sunk after their see-how-many-copies-we-can-sell-stunt. It’s irresponsible of a newspaper to decide when to tell the world a well-known public figure has AIDS.

Ashe has a five-year-old daughter who now has to see the world look at him in a different way, because he contracted a virus by accident. Defenders of USA Today might argue that Ashe’s disease will shine more light on the problem, but is that really true considering all the previous celebrities who’ve announced they have AIDS? USA Today’s editors could’ve thought about the man’s privacy before deciding on ruining his family’s life.

Their managers claim “It’s news” when a public figure becomes ill. But if one of their editors contracts the deadly disease through no fault of his own someday, it might end up on the evening news and they’ll know how Ashe felt.