Phelps and Dope (as in marijuana)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

1 Comment

Written by Andrew Garvie

Michael Phelps is the golden boy of the swimming world. He holds a ton of records including most career gold medals, the most gold medals at a single Olympics and seven world records. Phelps is now in danger of holding another record of the criminal variety due to the surfacing of a photograph of him hitting the bong in November of last year. He has since apologized profusely, which in a court of law can be taken as an admission of guilt.

Phelps is an amateur athlete which means he relies largely on endorsement deals to support his superstar lifestyle to accompany his superstar status. Kellogg's has already dropped him since the "scandal" hit the newspapers. Fortunately his "seven-figure" deal with Mazda in China has been saved by apologizing for his "regrettable behaviour" to the Chinese people via videocast.

Is this blemish on Michael Phelps amazing career really that big a deal? This week the Wrigley gum company canceled pop-star Chris Brown's endorsement after it was revealed that he brutally assaulted singer Rihanna. The Phelps and Brown scandals are hardly comparable in terms of the relative seriousness of the alleged crimes. It is clear that the only victim in the Phelps case is Phelps himself.

The United States now has a President that has admitted to using pot (and inhaling... and even getting stoned). In Obama's book, Dreams of My Father, he even sees his experience with dope as having a positive impact, in that it helped him in his search for racial identity as a young man. In a study from last year published in PLoS Medicine and summarized in Time Magazine, it was discovered that 54% of Americans have experimented with marijuana by the time they hit the age of 21. Michael Phelps is 23 years old. He is being condemned for an action that the majority of Americans of his age group, as well as his President, have engaged in. Does this story raise questions about Phelps' integrity or the integrity of a legal system that would criminalize so many of its own citizens?

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  1. Posted by: Libertarian_1 on Feb 14, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    good article, andrew. you seem to have done a lot of research and know many facts about smoking marijuana.

    phelps is the victim here. he said he was sorry and wouldn't do it again. and, if anything, this is just more publicity for him and his sponsors.

    i call for a mass boycott of kellogg products. if phelps says he made a mistake and that it won't happen again then kellogg's should resume endorsing him.

    marijuana prohibition is just an example of how some laws infringe upon our personal freedom and should ultimately be reformed.

    however, if it wasn't for that infamous photo being taken can we really be sure that phelps would so apologetic?

    then again, it is his personal life and, perhaps, we should all just stay out of it.

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