In a statement made after his mellow was harshed, Phelps acknowledged his "bad judgment" and "regrettable behavior." Regrettable indeed. Phelps has millions of dollars in endorsement deals and stands to lose some or all of that money. Why? Because apparently being unmasked as a "mary jane" addict makes him less credible as a spokesman for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. Really? I would argue the opposite – who knows more about sugary cereal than a stoner?
Now some will say Phelps is setting a poor example for children. Why's that? Because he's demonstrated that a person can partake of the ganja and also be an Olympic multiple gold medalist? In fact, there is a long, proud tradition in sports of athletic excellence coupled with substance use. Do the words "Mickey Mantle" mean anything to anyone? And it's not just sports: Kate Moss has shown that supermodeling is compatible with cocaine. And Jimi Hendrix … Well, let's get back to Michael Phelps.
Is Michael Phelps an example of how even a superstar athlete at the top of his game, with so much to lose, can make a tragic mistake? Or does he in fact represent evidence that possibly, for some people, maybe a lot of people, marijuana is not so different from alcohol, which last I checked continues to be on the list of legally abusable substances. You probably shouldn't smoke dope for breakfast, and you definitely shouldn't drive or for that matter go shopping under its influence, but for an adult it has now been shown that marijuana in moderation doesn't prevent you from being an Olympic gold-medal athlete, in fact, the best in the world, in fact, possibly the greatest ever in your sport. For all we know, marijuana is the single most important element of Phelps' training regimen, delivering the relaxation he needs to help him cope with the fact that for the last 15 years he's spent 10 hours a day wearing a Speedo and silly goggles and compulsively swimming laps like that polar bear in the Central Park Zoo. Maybe that redness is his eyes isn't just the chlorine.
If there's one thing I'd like to see our society quit cold turkey, it's forcing our so-called role models to disingenuously disavow doing things we know they as well as the rest of us are doing. Can we all enroll in a 12-step program to try to kick our addiction to hypocrisy, would that be possible, America? Or am I just high?
UPDATE: PHELPS HAS NOW BEEN BANNED FROM THE U.S. SWIM TEAM FOR 3 MONTHS AND HIS CONTRACT WITH KELLOGGS WILL NOT BE RENEWED. WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALL IT DOPE?