Phelps put that in his pipe and smoked it

Washburn Review

Last week, a photo surfaced in a London tabloid that showed Michael Phelps, golden god of the Beijing Olympics, taking a hit off a bong.

This opens up several questions, not to mention, gives us the munchies.

Phelps is a world-renowned swimming star and an instantly recognizable face. There is the standard argument that he has let down all of his young fans who want to be just like him. Well, keep in mind that the guy is 24 years old and has spent most of his life in a pool since he was a teenager. He is only human (we know that is hard to believe, considering how fast he swims).

This transgression is also not the only run-in Phelps has had with the law. Shortly after the Greece Olympics, he was arrested for driving under the influence. This was a real kicker, considering he was 19. He pled down and was forced to pay a fine and give speeches to high school students about how bad drinking is. When Matt Lauer asked him about it, he said it was an isolated incident and he felt he had let a lot of people down.

After being asked about it, Phelps apologized for being a young person and acting so irresponsibly. Then he had to explain it to his mom, which can often be more difficult than explaining it to the American people.

Are Americans really upset about a 24-year-old kid who spends most of his time working his tail off to win glory both for himself and for his country? Shouldn’t they be more upset about bicyclists who are doping or baseball players who are using steroids? Phelps was not using pot to enhance his performance. Indeed, that would probably hinder it if he were using it regularly.

Would the media pressure be as bad if he were caught smoking a cigarette?

The issue of legalizing marijuana has been brought to the surface by the Phelpsgate event. Editorialists, newspapers, commentators and potheads in general are questioning the validity of a legal ban on marijuana.

If pot were legalized, it would free up a lot of space in our legal system, the government could tax it into oblivion, like cigarettes, and generally, we’re not sure who it hurts.

The jury is still out, though. Smoking pot can and does lead to negative consequences, but so does alcohol. The prohibition on alcohol did not work and perhaps the one on marijuana will be proven to not work either.

Until then, while we think that Phelps should be held to a higher standard, we also think that he should be cut some slack. Most young people’s stupid mistakes aren’t splashed across the front pages of international newspapers.