Posted by: mutantpoodle | February 6, 2009

More of the dumb

phelpsCan’t we leave Micheal Phelps alone?

Phelps, who had, arguably, the most incredible Olympics ever, has now lost a sponsor and been suspended from competition for three months because some jackass sold a picture of him smoking pot at a party to a tabloid.

Now, Phelps wasn’t going to be entering any meets for a while, so the suspension is superfluous. But losing the Kelloggs sponsorship hurts financially, and here’s the irony: eating the cereal Phelps endorsed – Frosted Flakes – probably has more damning health effects than smoking the occasional joint.

Here’s the thing: Michael Phelps, for well over two years straight of training for last summer’s Olympics, probably worked harder in one day than most of the people who are, oh so sadly, lamenting his poor judgment, have worked in their lives.

Here’s where Phelps screwed up: in letting anyone with a cameraphone anywhere near him at a party.

Look, you can say lots of stuff about pot, but you can’t call it a performance-enhancing drug, unless you’re in a brownie eating competition. This ridiculous incident takes nothing away from the work Phelps did, or the singularity of his achievement last summer, or even (gasp!) his character.

He just wasn’t careful enough.

Radley Balko nailed it earlier this week, before this latest foolishness, with the letter he wanted Phelps to write:

Dear America,

I take it back. I don’t apologize.

Because you know what? It’s none of your goddamned business. I work my ass off 10 months per year. It’s that hard work that gave you all those gooey feelings of patriotism last summer. If during my brief window of down time I want to relax, enjoy myself, and partake of a substance that’s a hell of a lot less bad for me than alcohol, tobacco, or, frankly, most of the prescription drugs most of you are taking, well, you can spare me the lecture….You’ll have to pardon my cynicism. But I call bullshit. You don’t give a damn about my health. You just get a voyeuristic thrill from watching an elite athlete fall from grace–all the better if you get to exercise a little moral righteousness in the process. And it’s hypocritical righteousness at that, given that 40 percent of you have tried pot at least once in your lives.

Here’s a crazy thought: If I can smoke a little dope and go on to win 14 Olympic gold medals, maybe pot smokers aren’t doomed to lives of couch surfing and video games, as our moronic government would have us believe. In fact, the list of successful pot smokers includes not just world class athletes like me, [Josh] Howard, [Ricky] Williams, and others, it includes Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, the last three U.S. presidents, several Supreme Court justices, and luminaries and success stories from all sectors of business and the arts, sciences, and humanities….

The whole thing is priceless, and worth a look. And begs the question: when are we, as a nation, going to grow up?

So – Michael Phelps? Smoke pot if you like. You’ve earned it.

And kudos to Omega, Speedo, and Visa, who haven’t hit the fainting couch over this.

But stay away from cameraphones. And Frosted Flakes.


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