Leave Phelps Alone

February 5, 2009


This week Olympic swim Champion Michael Phelps made headlines by being caught on camera smoking Marijuana by taking a bong hit.

A woman I know who is very nice, kind and considerate spoke of it so upset in the regard that children like her own have fewer and fewer role models, especially in the area of sports. Phelps dashed his role model status by being outed as a pot smoker.

Back in the summer Phelps became a sensation, his 2008 Olympic performances were staggering and to date he has now won more Olympic Gold medals (coming in at 14) than anyone else in Olympic history.

This news event shows more about American hypocrisy and how often we as a nation miss the point than it has to do with the character of Michael Phelps. Phelps shouldn’t lose his name over such a triviality, but it’s almost a certainty that this incident will hurt his career, his endorsements and his public persona. It shouldn’t. He brought acclaim to this country by excelling in his field and winning through peaceful competition. He earned victory for a country without ever picking up a weapon and killing anyone. He trained and worked, swam 8 hours a day and practiced until no one else in the world could hold a candle to him in his given sport. Now, after months and years of vigorous training and competition, he is wealthy, well known and guess what else? He is an American kid in his early twenties and the whole world watches him–he got caught relaxing by taking a celebratory hit off of a bong. Had he been photographed emerging from a bar after 10 drinks he would not have been chastised. Yet marijuana in moderation is less dangerous for the average person than alcohol. The fact that Phelps has the lung capacity and the drive that he does indicates he’s nothing more than an occasional recreational pot smoker. But pot’s illegal and no huge corporation makes money off of it. He’s still a sports hero, he’s probably a swell guy as well. Anyone pointing a finger probably has close relatives who have experimented with pot too. Give any successful late teenage or early twenty-something intense media scrutiny and some dirt will probably show up. If you have teenage children there’s a significant chance they’ve smoked pot once or twice in their life and it doesn’t make them bad people, it doesn’t mean they have a problem, it doesn’t mean they (or you) have failed. Youth since the 1920s have smoked pot in some significant percentage.  Which doesn’t neccesarily mean you should condone it either, it just means it’s not that big of an issue. Leave Phelps alone, don’t point a finger.


3 Responses to “Leave Phelps Alone”

  1. mrsportman said

    I wrote a post about what a “Hero” means any more you should read it,
    Thanks so much,
    Mckenzie A Hornyak~

  2. Hanna said

    I couldn’t agree more with you. I was watching the whole games like most of us were and cheering for him. It breaks my heart that we could trade someone in so fast. I guess if you don’t understand pot smoking or being young then you just don’t get why its not a big deal. Apparently it doesn’t make you a monster because more people have done it and are fine and lead normal lives. I mean what about binge drinking or going to strip clubs? He could probably do all that with less trouble than this. I hate how the government has demonized something as innocent as smoking herb. Its disgusting the things we accept from people. We accept total apathy and materialism from athletes and celebrities but this OH NO! I mean its like he could club a baby seal and more people wouldn’t care.

  3. Jeff Edwards said

    Please leave Michael Phelps alone! POT never killed anyone…and for all you idealistic, sugar-coated, wanna be angels who think he deserves punishment- get a clue. In the last 100 years, Marijuana has been attributed to ZERO DEATHS, yes thats right, ZERO DEATHS. Drinking, on the other hand, see chart below:
    As in previous years, in 2006, males comprise a majority, about 81 percent, of all drivers involved in fatal crashes with a BAC=.08+.

    Alcohol related deaths in the US since 1982:

    Total fatalities Alcohol related fatalities

    Year Number Number Percent
    1982 43,945 26,173 60
    1983 42,589 24,635 58
    1984 44,257 24,762 56
    1985 43,825 23,167 53
    1986 46,087 25,017 54
    1987 46,390 24,094 52
    1988 47,087 23,833 51
    1989 45,582 22,424 49
    1990 44,599 22,587 51
    1991 41,508 20,159 49
    1992 39,250 18,290 47
    1993 40,150 17,908 45
    1994 40,716 17,308 43
    1995 41,817 17,732 42
    1996 42,065 17,749 42
    1997 42,013 16,711 40
    1998 41,501 16,673 40
    1999 41,717 16,572 40
    2000 41,945 17,380 41
    2001 42,196 17,400 41
    2002 43,005 17,524 41
    2003 42,643 17,013 40
    2004 42,518 16,919 39
    2005 43,443 16,885 39
    2006 42,532 15,829 37

    These statistics were taken from http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html

    BUT if you were to see Michael Phelps drinking Champagne with Barack Obama, he would still be a national hero who could do no wrong.

    Is Marijuana illegal? YES, I know that for all you idiots out there who are gonna cry, “but it’s illegal and he should know better.” BOLOGNE!!!

    The fact that it is illegal and Mr. Phelps became the superior athlete he is should say something about the legitimacy of the law itself. Pot has never hurt anyone, in fact it’s a healing drug used for Cancer patients as well. In California and other states, it’s legal with a Medical Card.

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