Michael Phelps’ faux pas - FamilyEducation

Michael Phelps’ faux pas

February 10,2009
Julie Deaner
I am sure we have all heard the story and seen the picture of Olympic medalist Michael Phelps caught smoking marijuana from a bong. Because of this, Phelps has been suspended from competitive swimming for three months, lost several endorsement contracts, and is even being investigated to be charged with a crime. What a mess over a picture and a little rambunctious behavior from a 23-year-old! Phelps is still just a kid, learning and growing through his own mistakes. Now, I am not condoning marijuana use, but would this really be a big deal if it was a picture of an average Joe toking up on camera? That’s where things get sticky. Phelps is an American icon and role model to young kids, teens, and athletes. But should we really be judging him on his personal life? I mean, the guy puts in endless hours of training, strains his body past normal physical ability, and is dedicated to the sport he loves. Who cares how he chooses to spend his downtime, outside of the swimming season? I doubt it is going to affect his performance in the future. I personally feel that the media blew this one epically out of proportion. It was the media that portrayed Phelps as an all-American boy; is it really fair of us to be surprised by such a slip-up? I don’t see how we can be so shocked by this behavior, when other public figures are acting up--like Britney Spears running around in short skirts and no underwear, or Miley Cyrus making racist ‘slanty eyes,’ or kids’ favorite baseball players (nudge, nudge Alex Rodriguez) admitting to steroid use. Actions speak louder than words, and these are the people who are supposed to talk to kids about not doing drugs? Parents should take the initiative and talk to their kids about the situation. Get in your kids' heads to see what they think about these incidents and how they feel. Have you talked to your kids about public figure mishaps? What do you think about the Phelps photo? Let us know what your thoughts are--we would love to know!