With the news today that Kellogg is dropping Michael Phelps, or rather not extending his contract, the famous toke that Phelps took last weekend is now costing him more than just a little bad press. USA Swimming has suspended him for 3 months as well. The Kellogg spokesperson said "Michael's most recent behavior is not consistent with the image of Kellogg." That seems somewhat peculiar considering that dry Kellogg cereal is most likely a staple of satisfying the munchies. This could begin a chain reaction that causes Phelps to lose numerous endorsements which in itself is not horrifying since has already made millions off of them, but the entire fiasco seems predicated on the belief that this has never happened before and that it is a mortal sin. I in no way condone the smoking of weed but the media, the public, the authorites and Phelps himself need to put this incident in perspective and then move on.
This of course starts and ends with the perpetrator Phelps himself. Whatever he chooses to do when he is not in the middle of his training regiment in the seclusion of his own privacy is his prerogative. The mistake Phelps makes here is that he chooses to engage in the said activity in a place that is not local to him, in this case a University of South Carolina frat house. If you do not know all the people around you well enough to trust, do not place hands on the bong. In this day and age, you do not have to see a camera for you to be photographed and furthermore any picture taken of you can travel across in the world in seconds. It is possible that the dude that snapped the photo of Phelps made some coin off of Michael's mistake.
Of course, if Phelps is looked at in certain angles, it is possible to see why he would make these misteps. He has all the physical tools that make him the supreme swimmer along with the competitive drive and mental complex that fuels his desire to win. His social awkwardness is apparent in interviews and his SNL hosting skills, and his rough-edged sensitivity to anyone that speaks ill of his swimming performances were on display at the Water Cube. He is the perfect athlete but as a person, like us all he is fallible. When he received a DUI following his last Olympics it was excused as a kid being a kid even though he was 19 and an adult as far as the law was concerned. He is now 23 and there is no excuses left, to do something that a large segment of his demographic do and admit they do freely is not a proper explanation. He needs to recognize his trade-off that when you get the multi-millions in endorsements you do not get the same exemptions of a casual member of the public.
With all of that being said, this has been a snowball effect by the media from the beginning. This has been turned into the same effect if Phelps was mainlining black tar heroin while being surrounded by hookers. He is held to a higher standard yes, but if you cannot explain to a kid that Phelps did a dumb thing and made a poor choice and have that be that, you should have no influence on any child, anywhere. Just saying that will not rid the kid of curiosity but that is all you can do, they will face the reality of drugs and alcohol no matter how much you try to protect them so all you can do is try to nudge them on how to make wise choices.
Apart from the ridiculous claim that this somehow harms children has been the introduction of legal aspects. If you check out Catfish's walk-off on this week's Shackleford Files, he will share how I view the law enforcement down in Columbia discussing possibly charging Phelps with smoking weed.
The point is that Phelps deserves to be punished and in many ways already has for what he got caught doing. The severity of the punishment seems to be from everyone hopping on a self-righteous bandwagon of disdain for the actions of a young man attending a party. I suppose it is easy to forget that the Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes was arrested this year for being found with weed in his car and other athletes have committed far more greivous illegal acts than this one. This is the flavor of the moment; condemn something that is so easily condemnable because the proof is right there in front of your eyes. Hopefully the next time Phelps faces this situation he will pass the dutchie to the left-hand side.