By:- Craig Silverman
Let’s travel back to July of 2008. I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry was on the radio, the Summer Olympic Games were soon to get underway in Beijing, and The Dark Knight was about to open at the box office. In the sports world, soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo travelled to Los Angeles to attend an awards ceremony — a trip that continues to reverberate to this day.
On July 18 of that year, London’s The Telegraph reported that Ronaldo, who was injured at the time, had a smashing good time in L.A. It said he hit a nightclub where he “put his crutches down to take to the dance floor with four models” and bought £10,000 worth of champagne. Ronaldo was “living it up,” according to the paper.
Now, more than two years after the inflammatory article first appeared, The Telegraph has apologized in court, print and online. It turns out Ronaldo was actually very well behaved, and quite injured.
As for the allegations of crutches-tossing and champers-swilling? “We now accept that this is not true,” the apology read. “Cristiano was in Los Angeles and did attend the nightclub but he did not drink any alcohol at all while there, or at any time in Los Angeles, and did not put his crutches down and try to dance despite the risk to his injured ankle.”
Then the apology got very specific.
“Instead, he sat in a private corner as arranged in advance, along with friends who had travelled to Los Angeles with him, resting his foot and drinking non-alcoholic energy drinks at all times under the care of the respected Portuguese national team physio Antonio Gaspar,” reported the paper.
Alas, The Telegraph did not provide more specifics about the amount of Ronaldo’s energy drink tab.
“We would like to apologise to Cristiano for the embarrassment and offence our report caused to him as a professional who takes his health, fitness and recovery from injury seriously and are happy to set the record straight,” the apology concluded.
The Telegraph’s admission isn’t the first regarding Ronaldo’s L.A. trip. A year ago, the Daily Mirror issued a similar apology for injurious reporting.
“We now accept that Cristiano did not ‘go on a bender’, did not drink any alcohol that evening, did not spend pounds 10,000 on alcohol, nor throw his crutches to the floor or try to dance,” read its apology.
At least they were consistent in their fabrications.
Craig Silverman is editor of regrettheerror.com