I’ve already had it with breathless speculation from various media outlets about how Michael Phelps’ career may be "in ruins” because he was photographed taking a bong hit at a party. Enough with the self righteous condemnation about a failure to live up to his responsibilities as a role model! Or how he’ll undoubtedly be punished with the loss of corporate endorsements!
The guy made a mistake and apologized. End of story! Yeah, he’s a role model who didn’t live up to the ridiculous standards of perfection society places on, well, athletes and perhaps clergy, and that’s about it! Everyone else, particularly media critics and overzealous photographers, get to f**k up without consequence. If Phelps ends up in rehab, or begins swimming like he’s constantly bloated on Cheetos or Taco Bell “sixth meals,” he’ll have to deal with the consequences. Otherwise, the kid is a swimmer, who is competent enough and disciplined enough to have won eight frickin' gold medals!
It’s not like he spent the last eight years in the most visible and influential position in the World as an alcoholic, former cocaine abusing, man-child who completely failed at everything he touched, and whose mistakes actually killed people! Phelps didn’t enable the destruction of the World’s economy, while authorizing war crimes and ignoring his responsibility to protect Americans from natural disasters and runaway corporate greed!
Unlike George W. Bush, who will still have plenty of eager corporate donors willing to help build a Presidential Library and “Think Tank” as a monument to his complete and utter failures, Michael Phelps is an unqualified success in his real responsibilities - the ones he carries out in the pool!
Phelps’ mistake hurt no one and will likely have no impact on his swimming ability (either positive or negative). In fact, if he wasn’t motivated to prove he can out-swim anyone on the planet again in the 2012 Olympics, I think the odds on another eight gold medals in London just went up exponentially with the growing chorus of finger pointers trying to boost their own self worth by calling him a failure!
As for me, a lifelong swimmer who actually spends hard earned money on swimming related products, if I hear of any corporate sponsor dropping Phelps specifically because of this momentary lapse of judgment (and some slimeball with a camera and an opportunistic desire to tarnish a hero), I will never spend another dime on anything from that company again!