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Michael Phelps apologizes for photo, poor judgment

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Thumbnail image for phelpsbong.jpgNow that Michael Phelps has all but admitted he is the bong-sucking subject of this damning photograph first published by News of the World, we're left to wonder exactly what kind of impact this scandal is going to have on his career.

The shining star of the Beijing Olympics didn't challenge the authenticity of the photo and apologized for his behavior.

""I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment," Phelps said. "I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."
This is not Phelps' first PR hit. In 2004, at the age of 19, he was arrested on drunken driving charges. And while right now it looks like there won't be any suspension by the powers-that-be, Phelps stands to lose boatloads of endorsement dollars.

But, should he? Do you really care that Phelps allegedly engaged in an activity that so many world leaders and titans of industry dabbled in? Is his recreational marijuana use really that upsetting to you?
Last night we were inundated with commercials for beer during the Super Bowl. You may have even attended a soiree where people drank too much and got a little loose. Hell, it's part of our culture as Americans.

But the disconnect of embracing drinking and drunkenness as a part of life while castigating marijuana use has always baffled me. It seems so arbitrary to categorize one mind-altering substance as fun and acceptable while frowning upon the other.

Now, I'm not saying that Phelps wasn't stupid for being so brazen with his questionable actions. He's got to know that the spotlight is always going to be on him. When you're on top, everyone is just holding their breath waiting for you to fall. And I'm not advocating drug use as life-enriching activity. There are myriad risks and downsides -- just like there are when abusing alcohol.

Considering Phelps' previous brush with the law and his well-documented carousing habits, he's never been the perfect role model. So what has really changed? Are you really looking at him differently since seeing this picture?

He apologized for his behavior, will probably take the bulk of the punishment in the form of reduced endorsements and will still be the greatest swimmer of all-time.

Warts and all.

***
Your turn:
  • What were your initial reactions when you saw the photo?
  • Does this affect Phelps' legacy?
  • How has your view changed, if it has at all?
  • If the picture in question would have been a severely intoxicated Phelps, would there be the same type of uproar? Is this double standard fair?



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11 Comments

Let teh guy live his life - his work is done - he won 8 gold medals!

Does everyone really think that Mark Spitz did not party in his day - the SWINGING 70's?

Is it really that bad that a guy in his young 20's smokes a little weed and partys? Maybe with Obama in office we can take the legal smear off of pot use. Millions upon millions of stooges are walking and driving around absolutely HAMMERED on alcohol, but nobody bats an eye about criminalizing that practice. Why? Because the government makes money off of that vice.

The establishment's biggest fear about decriminalizing marijuana is that people would - GASP! - be able to grow their own vice, and the government would be left out of the all important tax or whatever money they can get, as no regulation needs to be done on a natural plant. You can bet a dollar against a dime that alcohol use would go WAY DOWN.

WHO CARES!!!!!

this guy is evil, a liar, a doper, a junkie and call it what it is, he lied throughout the whole olympics, he let his mother lie(unless of course she condones the use of dope and illegal substances)and he deceived all of us....i will not buy from any place he endorses, and he needs to be the role model for evil criminals and crooks just like him, not a kid wanting to do something with his life

this guy is evil, a liar, a doper, a junkie and call it what it is, he lied throughout the whole olympics, he let his mother lie(unless of course she condones the use of dope and illegal substances)and he deceived all of us....i will not buy from any place he endorses, and he needs to be the role model for evil criminals and crooks just like him, not a kid wanting to do something with his life

I am not an advocate of illegal drug use. Was this behavior illegal? Yes. Could this possibly influence impressionable youths to use drugs? Yes. The problem with taking these two propositions as justification for "punishing" Phelps (reduced endorsements, whatever) is that first of all, Mr. Phelps did not receive multiple gold medals due to the public's good graces or permission. He won them by being better than anyone else. Whatever victimless crimes he does in his personal life is nobody's business but his own and law enforcement's, should they so choose to get involved. As far as influencing impressionable youths, the blame for that is 100%, yes, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT on the media outlets who chose to publish this photo far and wide in order to sell their product. Michael Phelps didn't put this picture out, nor did he do this "in public," this photo was taken without his knowledge, without his consent, and published against his wishes. If he committed a crime, then he will be punished by the law. Put the "blame" where it belongs and don't confuse the issues. You had nothing to do with Michael Phelp's accomplishments, so you do not have the right to judge what personal issues of his should detract from them.

Wow, I can't beleive how crazy ray is, the guy who posted:

"this guy is evil, a liar, a doper, a junkie and call it what it is, he lied throughout the whole olympics, he let his mother lie(unless of course she condones the use of dope and illegal substances)and he deceived all of us....i will not buy from any place he endorses, and he needs to be the role model for evil criminals and crooks just like him, not a kid wanting to do something with his life"

You better change around your life because pot has been smoked by many Presidents, artists, and scientists in the past. Do you like electricity? Ben Franklin did, almost as much as he liked smoking pot.

Do you like music? I bet most of the music you listen too was written by a pothead.

Just because our government says it is bad doesn't mean it is. We have outlawed alchole and let people own slaves in the past. Everyone makes mistakes.

sometimes it's good to know that people in the spotlight are goofballs just like everyone else.....so the guy smoked a couple of bowls....who hasn't?....for those that can say "I have never smoked marijuana"....I'm sure way back in that dark closet of yours there are some skeletons to be found, thing of it is, no one cares about you enough to bring them out. Stop hating on the poor guy, he deserves his fame, let him be human.

This does not minimize his accomplishments. He is young and doesn't he have an issue with being bi-polar or something? Let's give this kid a break and help him. Look at what he did for America in the Olympics. He deserves our help, not our scorn!

I don't think him smoking weed is the worst he could've done. Although I do understand the concern of many who viewed his video or photo online. It was a studpid thing to broadcast, it wasn't cool at all. Especially when we are living in times were kids are influenced by what they see on tv. I do feel he should loose some endorsements only because he is promoting the use of drugs, although it is only weed - none to be the door opener for other drugs. He should've used more common sense, don't think that because you have broken records in the olympic games that you are now untouchable. Ray, to call him all of those harsh names is unnecessary he did something that was foolish, hopefully he regrets. Lets not look to athletes to be our children's role models, children should admire the parents as their heros, not some athlete they may never meet. JoeDeerTay, what do you mean Obama might take the smear off of pot use? I don't think Obama encourages drug use of any kind, no one should.

when will the world ... especially the US wake up .... start treating marijuana like alcohol and control it ... if Phelps had a beer in his hand instead of a bong, this would not even be noticed .... this ignorance is fueling the criminal world and deceiving the public ... legalize it .. tax it ... enjoy it ....

spend the time; effort and funding on cocaine, meth, heroine, tobacco etc abuse ... if someone wants to toke here and there .. big deal ... bar fights, overdoses and drunk driving deaths all have never been a derivative of havin a hoot ...

on the flipside .... mike ... don't be token on camera ... oh yeah .. you already figured that out ...

yours in moderation

b.

Come to the real world, If Phelps were a woman or a black person the media would not hit him with kid gloves and Phelps apologist would not be saying "big deal, so what, let him live his life." He is not sorry for smoking it he sorry for being caught. Trust me, this is not the first time he smoked an "illegal substance." Barry Bonds has never tested positive steroids, yet he was thrown under the bus!

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