So What If Michael Phelps Does A Bong Hit?

Posted by | February 1, 2009 23:48 | Filed under: Top Stories

The first thing we have to do is stop thinking that just because someone is fantastic at sports that he or she is some kind of role model for children. Physical prowess and scoring ability does not a role model make.  It doesn’t mean you’re a good person, either, any more than doing a bong hit makes you a bad person.

Phelps apologized, of course, the minute this picture became public.  But is he truly repentant about enjoying a moment of pleasure, or is he concerned that endorsements will dry up now that his extra-curricular activity has been discovered?

“I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment,” Phelps said. “I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.”


Phelps issued a prior apology in 2004 after pleading guilty to a charge of drunken driving.  In the most recent incident, he was enjoying himself at a house party on November 8 during a visit to the University of South Carolina.

In a statement, the United States Olympic Committee said it was “disappointed in the behavior recently exhibited by Michael Phelps,” describing him as a role model who was “well aware of the responsibilities and accountability that come with setting a positive example for others, particularly young people.”


Why can’t we just appreciate athletes for what they are and expect nothing more of them that great performances on the field of play?  I was a huge Mickey Mantle fan when I was a kid and was devastated when I read Jim Bouton‘s book and found out he was a big drinker and an unapologetic womanizer.  But I never stopped appreciating him for the great player he was, who persevered through incredible physical pain during his career. Like Mantle, like most young athletes, Phelps’ physical abilities far exceed the emotional capacity and the maturity level he has to deal with them.  In time those qualities may well even up.  In the meantime, let’s cut him a break.  

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Copyright 2009 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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