Phelps and Dope (as in marijuana)
Thursday, February 12, 20091 Comment
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?