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02 February 2009 @ 12:43 pm
Monday morning, the Baltimore Sun  
There are a couple of articles on the paper, this one is by Kevin Van Valkenburg and Nicole Fuller, with Buzzkill's statement (Debbie's yet to response) and some sport consultants' opinion.

Phelps: Behavior 'inappropriate'

Photo of swimmer apparently smoking marijuana unlikely to damage career, marketing appeal

By Kevin Van Valkenburg and Nicole Fuller |Baltimore Sun reporters
February 2, 2009
Michael Phelps, the Rodgers Forge native who has won more gold medals than anyone in Olympic history, acknowledged yesterday that he had engaged in "regrettable" behavior and shown "bad judgment" after a photo of him smoking what appears to be marijuana from a glass bong was published in a British tabloid over the weekend.

Marijuana is classified by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees Olympic and international drug testing, as a banned "in-competition" substance, meaning Phelps is unlikely to face punishment or suspension. Marketing experts said the incident should have minimal effect on Phelps' multimillion-dollar sponsorships because of yesterday's quick apology.

"I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment," Phelps said in a statement released by Octagon, his management firm, and posted on his Facebook site. "I'm 23 years old, and despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public - it will not happen again."

The photo in the News of the World tabloid of Phelps - who won eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing - shows him with his hat on backward, holding the bong to his mouth with his right hand while lighting it with his left. The tabloid says it was snapped at a party at the University of South Carolina in November. Phelps attended a Gamecocks football game against Arkansas in November and received a standing ovation from the crowd at halftime.

Phelps has never failed a drug test during his career and was one of several American athletes who volunteered to undergo additional testing to dispel any suggestions he might be benefiting from performance-enhancing drugs.

"We'll evaluate whether he remains in that program," said Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Marijuana, though not considered performance-enhancing, was added to the International Olympic Committee's list of banned substances after the 1998 Olympics. Its use among Olympic athletes became a matter of public debate after Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati tested positive after winning a gold medal in Nagano, Japan, in 1998. Rebagliati was initially stripped of his medal but in the end kept it because marijuana was, at the time, not on the list.

An athlete is subject to WADA sanctions only for a positive test that occurs during competition periods, according to David Howman, executive director of WADA.

"We don't have any jurisdiction," Howman said. "It's not banned out of competition. It's only if you test positive in competition."

But Howman suggested that U.S. swimming officials or the sport's world organization, FINA, could punish Phelps if there is "sufficient evidence to indicate possession, supply or distribution."

FINA officials said they would not comment on the matter until today, as did the International Olympic Committee.

In 1998, Gary Hall Jr. was suspended for three months by FINA after he tested positive for marijuana during competition. Since then, WADA has become the oversight body for international anti-doping efforts. Phelps hasn't swum competitively since the Olympics and just recently started training again with an eye on the 2009 world championships. He said recently that he hopes to appear at the Austin Grand Prix in March.

His coach, Bob Bowman, said in a statement that "Michael has issued his statement. He regrets his behavior and I'm sure he'll learn from this experience. I'm glad to have him back in training."

The United States Olympic Committee, which Jan.22 named Phelps its Male Athlete of the Year, issued a statement saying it was "disappointed" in Phelps' behavior.

"Michael is a role model, and he is well aware of the responsibilities and accountability that come with setting a positive example for others, particularly young people. In this instance, regrettably, he failed to fulfill those responsibilities. Michael has acknowledged that he made a mistake and apologized for his actions. We are confident that, going forward, Michael will consistently set the type of example we all expect from a great Olympic champion."

This isn't Phelps' first public stumble. In 2004, when he was 19 and a few months removed from winning six gold medals at the Olympics in Athens, he was pulled over in Salisbury after rolling through a stop sign and charged with driving while intoxicated. Phelps publicly apologized, famously going on the Today show to ask the country for forgiveness and calling it an "isolated incident." He agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors that sentenced him to 18 months of probation, during which he was required to refrain from using drugs and alcohol, and to speak to kids about the dangers of making bad decisions.

As a result of his contrition, Phelps didn't lose any endorsements, which included Speedo, Visa, Omega watches, PowerBar and AT&T. He has recently added Subway, Kellogg's, Mazda and several others to his portfolio. Experts in the sports marketing business predicted the fallout would likely be minimal this time as well and praised Phelps' handlers for dealing with the situation swiftly and openly - issuing a statement admitting his mistake and apologizing.

"I would not expect him to lose a single endorsement, or any potential endorsements," said Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp., a Chicago-based sports business consulting firm. "He has handled himself so well to date that he has earned the benefit of the doubt. Especially at this age, experimentation with things like marijuana for young people in their late teens and early 20s is an understandable action."

Athletes are allowed to make a mistake, Ganis said, as long as the bad behavior isn't repeated, which would "demonstrate a character flaw." More important, he didn't attempt to cover it up, which, according to Ganis, could damage Phelps' career further by calling his character into question.

"He stood up," Ganis said. "He did not try and lie about it. He did not try to hide from it. Those are ways you handle a situation like this in a positive way."

John Antil, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware's Lerner College of Business and Economics who studies celebrity endorsements, called Phelps' statement "excellent."

"One of the first lessons we've learned from crisis management is to be honest. Next is to show regret," Antil said. "I would say that that statement is probably as good a statement as he could make. He didn't deny it. He gave a plausible reason: Young people do this. ... He didn't say, 'I didn't inhale.'"

All professional athletes have clauses in their endorsement contracts for behavior, Antil said, making it relatively easy for a company to drop Phelps for the impropriety.

"If Speedo decides this is a big deal, it's an easy way to get out of their contract," Antil said. "But I strongly suspect that's not going to happen."

Although the immediate response from Phelps' camp was strong, follow-up will be key, Antil said.

"If he goes on the Letterman show or some talk show, they're probably going to talk about it, and that's a good thing, and then you hope the press forgets about it and leaves him alone. My guess is because of what happened and his age and his degree of popularity, people are going to give him a break."

Phelps' mother, Debbie, a principal at Windsor Mill Middle School, didn't return calls from The Baltimore Sun seeking comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. source




Also, here is a statement from IOC emailed to AP on Monday morning.

Another column by David Steele.

 
 
Current Location: Bunny Hutz
Current Mood: blahblah
 
 
 
3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
alright. i've said enough about michael phelps the man, time to speak a little bit about the swimmer and contact deal holder.

since many mpf fans wondered how fina and ioc would respond, i asked my friend today - an afp employee and lausanne olympics hq specialist - to hear his opinions on the subject. he told me very interesting things.

what i got is more or less what is stated in bunny's entry...

my friend starting laughing first coz he said i have no idea how much of this crap pops up everyday on his computer. if official columns or magazines had to report about every athlete's single awkward move, there would be no space for sports results!

then my friend became serious... he said there is nothing to worry about for the moment since it is based on gossip material and allegedly happened during november. fina, ioc or usa swimming can't take action based outside their legal context or ban him for his off-competition activities (training, events and exhibitions under their banners are only taken into consideration). plus, making test today would be useless since traces of marijuana will be gone.

however...

a) a move from the swimming world officials will take time for their legislation and regulation are complicated, but they will definitely try to investigate now, and unlike us, won't take this stupid vegas $5,000 pot dealing story for granted, as an example...

just for the record, read this link about gary hall jr.
it tells of his career and his suspension for marijuana "recreational" use:
http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Rink/2471/Gary_Hall_Jr_Article.html

b) expect ioc president jacques rogge to send a personal warning letter to phelpsie. he is a well-known patronizing buzzkiller who speaks out his mind. this could be edgy since aquatics ventures llc are currently waiting ioc funds for their business...

c) not only marijuana but the bribery accusations targeting octagon could have long-term consequences on his deal contracts with speedo if not sorted out quickly...

d) you are not going to like this mpf girls, but one crucial thing now needs to be clarified in priority. is phelpsie an opportunist or regular smoker? if he is only opportunist then his apologies will work and everything will fall back into order. if not... well...

that's what my friend and i talked about today, and i thought of sharing. note that he doesn't give a damn about phelpsie so i believe his opinions to be neutral. he also tried to reassure me that "acknowledging the facts" is always a good start...

i hope you understand why i say that phelpsie (and only him) should now make a radical decision. and cut what i named "confusion" crap the other day when i posted my angry entry on his appearances in canada. to me he has to make a choice. he can't have "everything"...
Meganmeganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Good insider info, there. Thanks for sharing that. I haven't talked to you in a while...hope you're doing OK.
3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
yeah, i am ok.
i haven't been to the pool for almost a week. my muscles were so sore and then this happened. like i said to holly, oddly enough, i now feel relieved from this bad intuition i had since september...
hope you're okay too and that you swam well this morning ;)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
tooh1999tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, ty for the insider info. And you're right, he's got to decide what he really wants now, to continue swimming or to just chuck it and be a publicity hound. My opinion, if he doesn't go back to swimming, especially after this weekend, people won't be interested in his sport. He's undone everything he gained in promoting swimming. And that also means his status as a spokesman at this "events" won't mean anything either.
3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
thank you hun for your entry.
i hope my comment doesn't look like paraphrasing and double posting. i was about to send this some place just ten minutes later...

bottom line, it proves everything is still open...
meowbunnymeowmeowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
Your comment's fine. Thanks for asking you mate from AFP about his opinion.
3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
you welcome! ;)
3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
okay, neeeext!
nbc, octagon, can we see the subway ad now? mpf is starving!
Meganmeganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yes please! Moving on...
tooh1999tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
I bet we won't see it until MP publicly speaks about this incident. That has to be the next step, actually hearing the apology in his own voice.
3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
"unfortunately" you're right. we won't see this commercial before he speaks.

now to be honest, i would be glad that he takes a couple of days for himself and not rush. plus, i would like him to do only one interview and that's it.
i haven't been feeling comfortable seeing him on tv since november, doing post-olympic same old blah, because this means hours of traveling, hotel rooms, "unknown hands" to shake and "potential distraction".
(no subject) - tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mp_fanmp_fan on February 2nd, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the detailed info. I think Fina's statement is still outstanding, right? I will feel more comfortable after FINA confirming that no action need to be will be taken against Phelps.

Subway? Any chance that they may reconsider Phelps'endorsement? When the Subway deal was announced, they emphasized on advocating healthy & active lifestyle for kids. If their TV ad is focused on that theme, they may not want to show it while the Bong issue is still hot.
Meganmeganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Subway yanked their commercial that was suppose to air during the Super Bowl. Don't know if they'll drop his deal or just wait until things settle down, but you've gotta think they are *pissed* after spending all that money for a stupid commercial and then have to cancel it. :P
meowbunnymeowmeowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
Subway, Kelloggs and Mazda (it's the conservative Chinese we are talking here) ... those are the one I wanna know of their reactions...
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
"after FINA confirming"

i believe fina's statement is crucial too...
fifi has now an little red mark on his butt saying "to be watched". yet, he is far from being the only one among swimmers.
i think fina will do what they can and have to do, that is, wait until fifi trains and attends competition events again. it's the only way they can legally conduct investigations.
of course if fifi finds himself in a such kind of awkward position once more, even if he is distantly related to it like in a case where some of his acquaintances possessing or dealing juana, serious trouble will start to arise and then fina would have the right to investigate without notice. that's what my afp friend also told me...
tooh1999tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
That could be a good thing though, to be forced to distance himself from people that engage in this kind of activity. Especially from parties like where this all occurred. He's just damn lucky that there wasn't more in that pipe than just pot.
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mp_fan on February 3rd, 2009 02:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 3rd, 2009 03:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
This is getting OT now... - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This is getting OT now... - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This is getting OT now... - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This is getting OT now... - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This is getting OT now... - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
meowbunnymeowmeowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
Hey have you heard any reactions from your side of the world? You think the Chinese would like to keep him being the spokeman for Mazda 6?
nikkilue47nikkilue47 on February 2nd, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
They just talked about Michael on The View. Whoopi thought it wasn't a big deal and that everyone is putting to much pressure on him when he's only 23.
Meganmeganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
I have the feeling that Bowman is seriously annoyed that he had to issue a statement...not a happy camper, that one. :P
tooh1999tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
Probably not as mad as Debs though. And she has every right to rip him a new one.
nikkilue47nikkilue47 on February 2nd, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
Feel really bad for Debbie. She is a middle school princpal who has to go to work today and explain to her students what her son did. I bet its extremely hard for her right now
(no subject) - tooh1999 on February 2nd, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Meganmeganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
She probably won't yell as loud or be as vulgar as Bowman might be, but I have a feeling her words will penetrate MP to the core. More than anyone else on this planet...
(no subject) - nikkilue47 on February 2nd, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
i am also having a thought for katie hoff and the other swimmers in nbac.
they need to train quietly and deserve a piece of bowman too. bobby stated he didn't want to be constantly behind fifi's back anymore but this never-ending crap puts him again at the center of attention! poor fifi! he must crying now from guilt!
Meganmeganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
He better be feeling pretty low right now...
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meganrenee323 on February 2nd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
leidy: MP Thinky Faceleidy on February 2nd, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
Bowman did state in an article that he told other swimmers that come to NBAC that there would be drama with mp. Granted, this probably wasn't exactly the kind of drama he was talking about, but I'd say other swimmers had to know what they were getting themselves into.

Original article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/22/AR2009012204122.html?wprss=rss_sports/index/olympics
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - 3pronged_spear on February 2nd, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - meowbunnymeow on February 2nd, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)