February 08, 2009
A Raw Deal for Michael Phelps? - UPDATED
thinks so: A box of Kellogg's cereal sits in my Dumpster, part of a vow not to patronize the cereal maker's products after it dumped Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps as a product endorser.
Phelps has gotten a raw deal for doing what more than 90 million Americans, including President Barack Obama, have done. He apparently took a puff of marijuana at a party, as reported in Star Magazine.
The dumping by Kellogg, and the three-month suspension of Phelps by USA Swimming, is -- to borrow the title of a 1930s movie -- a case of Reefer Madness.
Olympic athletes are young. They follow, over a period of years, an incredibly disciplined workout regimen.
True, and when given a chance to take a breather from the regimen they tend to do so with gusto...in ways that would make the naive shudder and blush.
Did Phelps get just treatment?
A three-month suspension from USA Swimming is probably appropriate. They, more than any other entity involved here, has a "role model" issue to worry about. Furthermore, they have an obvious need to demonstrate no tolerance for drug policy violations - performance enhancing or not - given the prevalence of such issues in the modern era of world-class athletics.
Meanwhile, irony abounds in this matter. Howard Kurtz
twittered earlier this week: What if every reporter who ever tried dope had to recuse from the Michael Phelps story? How many would be left to report it?
Interesting question. And our friend Lee Rosenberg, aka "thehim"
asks: - And finally, how stupid is
Kellogg's? The company that makes Cheez-It's, Pop Tarts, and dozens of other snack products drops Michael Phelps as its spokesman because he took a bong hit? What? Does Kellogg's have any idea how much of their revenue comes from pot smokers?
I'll not soon join Lee in agreeing with many of his ideas on drug policy, but damn it, the man has a point there.
UPDATE: SNL played with the Phelps story a bit, with some commentary similar to Lee's. I can't disagree with the last line of the skit.
Eric Earling at February 08, 2009
09:40 PM | Email This
1. I think it was more than the pot thing. The drunken weekends in Vegas and strip bars, and the pure arrogance and egotism of Phelps helped in his downfall. The pot thing was just the last straw. He certainly wasn't a role model when he was flashing wads of cash in the strip club. You would think a public spokesman would be more careful with his public image. But apparently, he thought that since he is now a millionaire, he could do anything he wanted without repercussions and he was above the law (only politicians are allow to do that).
I'm sure that if I actually knew the guy I could make a decision as to whether he got a raw deal or not.
As it is he's just another celeb. Who cares!
3. Give the poor guy a break, he's been in rigid training for years, and had a tremendous win in Bejing. Let him have some fun! Betcha Mark Spitz did similar stuff but it just never made it to the media.
4. Thanks for the mention, Eric. Kathleen Parker had a very good editorial on this as well.
Barack Obama has eaten dogs. Has Michael Phelps eaten dogs?
And why is Connelly wrting about this? The Seattle PI has just 30 days to go.
6. Give the "poor guy" a break?! First, he isn't poor. Second, he knew when he signed up that there were standards to adhere to both from his sponsors and swim team. Finally, he's not the only one in the world that works hard. He's got teammates that helped him win those metals, and they get up every morning, without the multi-million dollar deals and work hard. Should that be the excuse for everyone? Heck, Michael Vick got a raw deal, we should forgive him and let him play football again. Phelps is just a spoiled brat that is mentally immature.
7. Your reasoning that Kellogg shouldn't drop Michael Phelps as its spokesman because, he took a bong hit that is based on the assumption that pot smokers also, buy Kellogg's products is insane. I suppose a Criminal shouldn't be jailed because, there are other Criminals out there that haven't been caught yet. Phelps has conducted himself in a less than admirable manner of late and certainly doesn't deserve to represent any reputable firm.
"A box of Kellogg's cereal sits in my Dumpster, part of a vow not to patronize the cereal maker's products after it dumped Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps as a product endorser."
Thus dumping even more cement on Conelly's reputation as a blitheringly idiotic moron. Shades of factless or wrong, but dumping food like that is a total waste that Kellogg's will neither care about or notice.
Hopefully, when the PI goes under, Joel will have to spend some quality time in a food bank. Maybe then, he'll get a clue.
Because how or in what way Kellogg's handles the Phelps issue is entirely up to them.
And while Phelps is a great athlete, he's got the common sense of a board fence.
And given the high unemployment rate among dopers (still looking for a job, Eric?) they probably can't afford Kellogg's absurdly expensive products anyway.
9. Forest Gump famously declared, "Stupid is as stupid does." And, you pay the price for being stupid. No amount of success can ever define a person. Only unwavering character regardless of where you are in life defines who you are.
10. I think Obama didn't do just pot, but he smoked cocaine as well. And now he's the president. Hmmmmm. I can overlook Phelps' misstep (but seriously, I'm glad my kids don't think smoking pot is a great way to have fun. It isn't, really...)but when they have such a strong anti-drug policy in his sport, why is he doing this kind of thing? Kellogg was probably right to dump him. Kids' breakfast cereal and pot smoking don't exactly go together.
11. This is the age of double standards. When I took my son over to get his driving permit, we were shown once again that everybody has to show their birth certificate except The President. Why should the dope thing be any different?
12. Joel Connelly should keep his bloviating pie hole shut. This was a decision by Kellogg's which entered into a contract with Michael Phelps. What Joel Connelly fails to mention is that Phelps is okay with Kellogg's decision not to have him continue endorsing their product.
I applaud Kellogg's for sticking by their morality clause ,not Joel Connelly's, and kicking Phelps to the curb for a really dunderhead move. I also applaud Michael Phelps for taking Kellogg's decision like a man. Joel Connelly could learn a thing or two about that.
MICHAEL PHELPS IS IN HOT WATER…
Stop the presses -- an athlete has been caught smoking pot!! This is news?!? I say, he’s just a kid!! We’ve all made mistakes. Leave Michael Phelps alone!!! (After you listen to this parody and send it to everyone you know!!) See “Because I Got High: The Ballad of Michael Phelps,” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK09SS0zYHg
See more parodies at http://parodyandson.blogspot.com
If Michael Phelps is 'just a kid' as Connelly whines, then kids shouldnt be signing contracts they dont understand.
Phelps signed a contract and was paid way beyond what a mere swimmer would ever make in their lifetime. Kellogg's abided by their contract. Phelps didnt. He ought to be happy enough they didnt ask for their millions back.
15. Lets take a reality check. If Kellogg's cereal sales were booming because of Michael Phelps picture on the box he would still be there. Sense his 15 minutes of fame were about over anyway this gave them an excuse to dump him early and save money. Glad to clear that up for everyone.
Michele with one L has a good point. Obama admitted to being quite a druggies as he was growing up- more so than Phelps.
However, since he put it in a book it became off-limits during the last presidential campaign. Phelps should learn from the Master.
Kelloggs is a business who can pick and choose who they sponsor. If they don't like Michael Phelps' behavior they are totally within their rights to drop him if that behavior is in violation of the contract he signed.
I am all for anybody or any organization who holds people accountable for their actions. There are far too few of them around these days.
Michael Phelps is a big boy with athletic prowess but he's obviously not the brightest bulb in the marquee. Just as he was rewarded for his physical talents with Olympic medals he is now being 'rewarded' for this other actions. Hopefully he will stop and think...but, I dunno, he had an issue drunk driving before, too, didn't he? Either way, I don't care. If he can't figure out how to behave with some decorum he should use some of his money to hire some handlers to herd him around and slap bongs out of his hands.
18. Just like sports, there is competition for the endorsement dollar. Phelps is competing against people like Tiger Woods. Phelps should know what it takes to be competitive.
19. He should appear on the box of Fruit Loops with a caption that says, "I do a huge bowl every morning!"
20. Everybodys aloud to have fun. Its there decision on how they want to do it and he didnt hurt anything but his self imagine only because people are assholes. I would be proud to toke with Michael Phelps. Somebody was comparing Micheal Vick to Phelps saying we should forgive Vick but Phelps is nothing more then a spoiled brat.I dont understand how you can honestly compare a man who slaughters dogs for money to someone who enjoys a plant that grows naturally all over the world
21. Lets see. Kids are mature, educated and smart enough to vote at 18 and influence other peoples lives. But when they are 23 and make stupid decissions they are young and imature and should not to be held accountable for the decissions they make and it should be all kissed off. Sounds like a true liberal position to me.
The act and the reaction are all just idiotic. Phelps should know he is a role model. That translates to sponsors and dollars. If a sponsor wants to maintain and artificially puritan image of their spokespersons, then so be it. That's life in the big contract world. But, Phelps was an idiot to not be more aware of his surroundings while doing drugs. He has to know that he will have a paparazzi effect on anyone with a cell phone cam.
That said, the reaction feigning indignity by people like Connelly is also pretty foolish. I agree, if this is the best that Connelly can do as the PI dies, well then that pretty much sums up the PI.
23. I agree that he had a contract. He didn't live up to it; Kellogg did. He could either have the pot or the millions. Obviously, he chose the pot. Harry, our poster at 20 should also make the choice between pot and the proper use of grammar and spelling. Wonder if one affects the other...
Oh, and thehim, you gotta be kidding me. Stoned people with the munchies making principled purchase decisions?
I don't think so. Anything that looks tasty and that they can still zero in on with bloodshot high eyes will be sufficient.
I'm sure Phelps could pick up a Yoo-Hoo sponsorship now.
Speaking of losing sponsors, just watch how fast sponsors will be jumping off the A-Roid bandwagon.
Having been the only guy on ANY of the teams I was on that went to the NCAA nationals in my sport that didn't smoke pot or take drugs, I stand by Kellogs.
Yeah- I know these guys party- been there. They choose to train their butts off like no one else. They also have a choice when it comes to illegal drugs, drunk driving and everything else in their lives.
If Phelps want's to get paid to be a role model- he has to act like one. If he wants to behave like a pro athlete- prima donna- he better find a sport that will tolerate that.
Great role models are rare, don't tarnish the few who do live by those high standards by lowering the bar. Heros are held in high regards for a reason: an uncompromising commitment to excellence.
Phelps chooses not to live to that standard- fine for him, but don't ask Kellogs to lower their standards.
Hey, Clinton smoked Pot and didn't inhale. Yeah right. Obama admits in his autobiography that he did Marijuana and Cocaine.
They both became leaders of the free world.
I think the real question is whether Phelps is a Democrat or Republican? If he's a Republican, the media will ruin him. But if he's a Democrat, he's right on track to become President of the United States.
Maybe Connelly simply knows the answer to that question.
28. Umm... you'd all expect me to say this: but I think swimming is the more dangerous thing here, not pot. About ten people die from drowning every day, no one has ever even overdosed from smoking cannabis.
Did I somehow miss Connelly's righteous indignation when Phelps got popped for a DUI?
No? You mean he didn't write anything about that, but found this to be 'newsworthy'?
Selective outrage, I guess.
Kellog's got the raw deal.
People who believe you can't be a person without drugs are getting what they deserve.
31. Phelps got the deal with the morals clause. If he cannot stand by the terms of the contract he SHOULD get his ass fired. I will buy TWO boxes of Kellogs products for their good action in canning Phelps.
The Bloviating Connelly posted:
A box of Kellogg's cereal sits in my Dumpster, part of a vow not to patronize the cereal maker's products after it dumped Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps as a product endorser.
You know, what a waste of food - how he's shown Kellogg's by not just vowing to not give them any more money, but to throw away money he's already spent on them. That's simply a waste of money (isn't he down 12% this year already?) and food that others would gratefully accept.
But then again, Connelly himself is simply a waste of space... Ever growing in volume at that!
33. The guy is an idiot. He has done at least as much damage to the young people of America and the world as Bill Clinton did by not thinking about anything but what was right in front of him and acting on impulse. We should and do expect more from people who represent us as a people and a nation.
He displayed no values, no responsibility to his employer, no respect for his team mates who helped him get those 8 medals, and showed he doesn't mind living a double life where the world thinks he's almost God-like, and he personally acts like a sociopath.
Congrats to Kellog for dumping this adolescent juvanile delinquent.
I have to say, the quality of posts on this subject are excellent. A few exceptions of course (Acid Brain, Heatherhal) but for the most part . . .
Everything that has happened to Phelps is of his own making. Nobody jammed that bong into his face. Nobody forged his signature on contracts worth millions that clearly outlined expected behavior to receive that kind of money. All pretty straight forward stuff for normal (SP kind of) people but then Connelly isn't normal. He's about as dumb as a "journalist" can get. From his Global Warmingâ„¢ views to this, nothing he says really makes much sense any more.
Well, not that it has for quite some time actually.
Dubya got a DWI and was a known alcoholic, yet he still got elected President.
He has done at least as much damage to the young people of America and the world as George W. Bush did by not thinking about anything but what was right in front of him and acting on impulse. We should and do expect more from people who represent us as a people and a nation.
36. Agreed Cato. Ditto on Obama. The message should be that we all make mistakes and then hopefully grow up. But Nanny State policies are not allowing people to fail and grow up. So we have a nation of children who continue to let it slide with a lax morality, little personal responsibily, poor health habits, casual drug use, endless distractions, promiscuous sex, etc.
Here's one vote for legalizing marijuana and then taxing it as a revenue source.
When I was growing up, I had trouble getting beer but I could find 3 different people who would sell me pot.
I think that if we let the government sell pot they way they sold beer, we'd actually see underage use drop.
Re: 36 by JeffB...
I'd like to add to your statement that everyone should shoulder the responsibility and the blame for the mistakes that we make everyday. It is fine to grow up and be given more chances, but giving excuses and ways to avoid consequences of one's mistake do not make anyone learn from mistakes.
40. 28: By that logic, if we hired the terrorists who hate us, would that make themm less likely to want to kill us?
41. Sorry 38, not 28
@40: I fail to see how the two relate?
If people want to waste their lives smoking the dope that's their personal choice. Taxing them just makes it easier to collect on what's currently unreported income. A lot of companies require mandatory drug tests and those individuals would be unable to acquire those jobs. This is their personal choice.
Besides Ragnar, I thought you were a firm believer in personal liberties. How hypocritical of you.
I had something really really profound to say about why I'm not buying Kelloggs products any longer... but it escapes me now.
Darn short-term memory.
44. Besides Ragnar, I thought you were a firm believer in personal liberties. How hypocritical of you.
Phelps had a responsibility by virtue of his mutual agreement with Kellogs.
Do you grasp the connection between "personal liberty" and personal RESPONSIBILITY?
One does not trump nor excuse the other.
Stimulate the economy obfusCATOr: buy a clue.
45. "We should and do expect more from people who represent us as a people and a nation. "
"Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though," - BARACK H OBAMA, "Dreams From My Father"
46. Ragnar don't you think Kellogg is being a little paranoid, and that Subway is acting more together about the incident? Or are you believing that potsmokers are a threat and should have their paychecks shredded?
I believe Kellogg had the right to fire his ass. I believe Connelly is an idiot for dumping perfectly edible food. But then, ultra leftist democrats and waste isn't that much of a stretch.
I believe that AB is so wasted that it's impossible for him to focus on the subject, which is that Phelps was fired for breaking his contract.
Like Kelloggs, if Subway or anyone else makes a decision concerning his employment based on his willful violation of his contract, that is entirely and completely up to them.
It would seem that Phelps' chlorine-soaked brain simply couldn't handle the concept.
48. Ragnar don't you think Kellogg is being a little paranoid, and that Subway is acting more together about the incident? Or are you believing that potsmokers are a threat and should have their paychecks shredded?
-Posted by Acid Brain at February 9, 2009 04:06 PM
None of the above.
See that's the problem with you liberals. You
feel that any obligation is whatever you want at the moment.
Sorry, sweet cheeks, in the REAL world actions have consequences.
Phelps stupid actions have the consequence that Kellogs dumped him.
Subway consequences is that rational, law abiding, thinking people will not patronize them.
I stopped patronizing them when they hired rude people, when they instituded a surcharge for credit cards and when they disavowed homeschooled kids in some contest they ran. They are perfectly within their right to do each those things. I am perfectly within mine to drive right past their little shop.
Actions have consequences.
I find it interesting that you all are focusing on the monetary consequences Phelps brought upon himself and made little, if no mention of his banishment from competiton. That says a lot.
49. Whoa dude was FIRED for breaking his contract? I thought he was just being publicly flogged by the whole freaking world including employers and agents he knows on a first name basis for TAKING A LITTLE BONG HIT. This ain't about breaking contracts, that would not make the freakin news. Sensational stories about regular people who *gasp, shriek* SMOKE POT???? WHAAT?!! *mouth agape* is what this is about. Sad, but a funny truth that some people don't seem to want to confront.
I guess being stoned makes you think you're clever, eh?
He's being "publicly flogged" becuae...wait for it.. he's a PUBLIC PERSONALITY who broke the law and who flaunted breaking it in public.
He stopped being a "regular" person when he signed contracts which gave him big money for his "image". He made a choice to tarnish that image.
Actions (and choices) have consequences.
Michael Phelps is an American Hero. He stood tall and made America proud at the Beijing Olympics. This is how America treats its heroes, we forget all of the hard work Michael Phelps did to achieve his task, we forget the pride we felt with the each gold medal, we forget how Phelps helped America to be competitive against a Chinese when they planned on winning all of the golds, we forget all of those things and hang a man for smoking a
at a college party. It is time that we as a country stand up for the rights of the individual, itï¿½s time we stand together with our neighbors and take collective control of our destinies. Write a congressman or a senator any of them; imagine the weight of millions of emails calling for a change in policy. In this moment in America anything is possible just Google the email address of youï¿½re representative and send him or her short email. It will take 10 minutes but then you have taken responsibility for change. A senator considers each email as representative of 2 thousand voters.
52. ...and Ragnar the consequences are that most reasonable people re-affirm that Kellogg and their peers shorts are so tight that their faces are turning purple. Some elements of our culture are so indoctrinated into accepting tabloid news mediation as more important than individual accomplishment that it's absurd. The *law* that he broke has about the gravity of getting a speeding ticket (and none of the associated fatality risks) in most states. Would Kellogg dump talent for getting a speeding ticket? If a celebrity gets a speeding ticket should they be in the news? Should they be forced to renegotiate contracts? This is silliness about a plant.
53. "This is silliness about a plant.
...then I guess Mr. Phelps should never have signed the contract in the first place. He knew what language was in the contract, he signed said contract, and broke said contract of his own volition. Michael Phelps doesn't appear to be crying about a situation he realizes he put himself in, so why are others like Joel Connelly,TheHim,Acid head, et al? It's done, move on.
54. This is silliness about a plant.
An ILLEGAL plant.
I don't give a fat rats butt how hard he worked or how he mande America look or
feel ... and clearly HE didn't either.
You kiddies can whine and excuse all you want but he broke the law and shamed himself, shamed his sponsors, shamed his SANE supporters, shamed the Olympics and shamed his country.
He controlled is OWN destiny, as did Kellogs. That you don't like it is YOUR problem.
As an aside, I simply do not remember you kiddies defending either Mrs McCain nor Rush Limbaugh for their LEGAL prescription use. Actually I seem to remembver some ugly gleeful gloating about two people that at least as many supporters consider heroes.
Disclaimer: I am not a fan of the Olympics. I do not watch them. I simply do not care.... especially because of countries like China and Russia who abuse their children in order to make them athletes.
55. Your point is what RD? There are lots of illegal plants and illegal things to do with them. Try planting azalea's in a State Park. This is me right here not defending and not giving a ratsass about ither The Beeroness or the Mouth that ate it's Brain eating narcotics. Openly mocking them for running in social circles and supporting political goals and practitioners that are at odds with their freedom to do so notwithstanding. If anything, committing misdemeanors gives them the fleeting appearance of being human. So would getting a parking ticket I suppose. I can't wait to see that headline.
Bush's alcohol problems were long before he held office or was the president.
Your trying to equate the actions of Phelps to the president is wrong. The president, in his earlier years, hadnt signed a contract to maintain a wholesome image while being paid millions of dollars.
57. Thomas B @ #1, I’m no lawyer, but I do believe that consuming alcohol and going to strip clubs are not illegal.
58. Well, Acid Brain, it happens to be Kellogg's shorts AND Kellogg's money. And Kellogg was paying him to represent them in a professional manner, the manner of which he was informed. So they decided he was not representing them in the manner required and had broken his contract. That was all in the contractural agreement, and has nothing to do with any laws on the books. KELLOGG does not want to be associated with pot smoking. It is their right. Capisce?
If you brain hadn't been addled by acid you would have a clue. Most spokespersons have what is known as a MORALS clause in their contracts. Phelps obviously BROKE his MORALS CLAUSE.
Does anything penetrate that Acid Brain of yours?
I don't know whether Joel Connelly lives in Seattle, but if he does he had better hope that Mayor Nickels doesn't send out his Trash Search Investigators (TSI). I think throwing away edible food is verboten in Seattle now.
And by the way, boycott 101, if you've already bought and paid for the product, go ahead and use it. The boycott concept only applies to the
purchase of new product.
What he did was stupid. Never sign a contract unless your willing to live by it's std's.
I don't feel sorry for him.
Life is never fair!
62. Cato, Bush did get the DWI. But he did it BEFORE he was a famous politician and President, just like Obama did. Bush actually should be hailed as a hero for getting clean and finding God, but..Oh yeah, he's a Republican so the media crucifies him for it instead.
Clinton and Phelps did it AFTER they became icons. BIG DIFFERENCE! If in the future Michael Phelps redeems himself, stayed clean, and ran for President - great! I need to see a track record. You can't say Clinton ever redeemed himself. How long do you think it would actually take an enterprising journalist to dig up something inappropriate that Bill Clinton has done since he left office? Cato, you should just take a few seconds to cross check your opinions against Republicans against your beliefs about DEMOCRATS before you spout off about Republicans.