Kudos to Kellogg

It seems like public opinion on Michael Phelps losing his Kellogg endorsement for being photographed taking a bong hit is heavily divided, as evidenced, for one example, on Twitter.

Those who don’t support Kellogg Co.’s decision tend to take a few stances:

1) Don’t you know you’re a go-to brand for people who get “the munchies”?

2) He’s only 23 years old. We were all young once.

3) He’s apologized and knows he made a mistake. Let’s move on.

4) It’s not like he was using steroids.

I, for one, look at it differently. I was happy to see that Kellogg Co. took a stand here. Yes, he’s young. Yes, we’ve all made decisions we’ve regretted. But I just can’t get over the simple fact that he should have known better.

A little over 4 years ago, Phelps was caught driving drunk and sentenced to 18 months probation. At that time he said, “I recognize the seriousness of this mistake. I’ve learned from this mistake and will continue learning from this mistake for the rest of my life.”

According to Wikipedia, he also told Matt Lauer on the Today Show, that it was an “isolated incident” and that he had “definitely let myself down and my family down… I think I let a lot of people in the country down.”

He was 19 at that time. I may have bought the “he’s just young” excuse back then. Or the “aren’t we all allowed to make a mistake?” excuse. Even so, he could have seriously hurt or killed someone while driving drunk.

But from his words, it did seem he learned his lesson.

He clearly didn’t, though, and now, 4 years later, we’re hearing very similar things coming out of Phelps’ mouth – albeit for yet another “incident.” He told WBAL TV, “I clearly made some bad judgments and mistakes in my life, and I think the best thing is to learn from your mistakes. That’s already what I’ve done and what I continue to do.”

Listen, I understand we are all guilty of doing things we wished we hadn’t. But on this scale? Knowing full well the possible ramifications? With so much at stake?

Personally, I have lost a little respect for another of Phelps’ sponsors, Omega, who has called the matter a “nonissue.”

It doesn’t matter that marijuana is not the same as performance-enhancing drugs. It is illegal.

Michael Phelps is a grown man. He is 23 years old. He knows he is a role model to millions – and that is the responsibility he took on when he chose to sign lucrative endorsements with companies such as Kellogg, Subway, Visa, Omega, Speedo and PowerBar. He has decided to position himself as one of the faces of these companies, being paid a lot of money to do so.

In light of that, why shouldn’t they hold him to high standards, and expect him to use good judgment? Why shouldn’t they be allowed to say (as they have), “Michael’s most recent behavior is not consistent with the image of Kellogg” without people at least understanding the fact that business is business. And sometimes in business, you must pay for your mistakes – even when you explain that you, “engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment.”

And as for his vow that, “I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again” – well, it just sounds like something we’ve heard before.

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

Sign Up To The Ultimate Style Newsletter for Moms


ShopStyle “List” Of all Things I Like and Blog About



  1. 2.6.09
    QuietMom said:

    I must have missed this one but agree with you completely. These sports figures are touted as role models and as such should be held to a very high standard. Good for Kelloggs for taking a stand!

  2. 2.6.09
    Michael said:

    If I recall the pic correctly, doing it outside when you’re a celebrity for sports and your name is all over kids products is another layer of bad judgement. I’m looking at it less from a moral standpoint, and just from perspecctive of poor judgment.

    Well Kellog’s stand will likely help his “lesson learned” last a bit little longer this round.

    Well written piece.

  3. 2.6.09
    nik said:

    I agree. I am sad about it. But I think they did the right thing. Taylor loves him and its such a dissapointment. Kellogs did the right thing.

  4. 2.6.09
    Char said:

    I agree that Kellogg’s did the right thing – not only to send the message to Phelps but to other sports celebs that this type of behavior is not acceptable. I hope that money really talks in this case and it is enough to make Phelps (and others) wake up a bit. I’m also glad to see that USA Swimming has penalized him too (even though its not really high competitive season right now).

  5. 2.6.09

    Just a quick note to say hello! Sorry I’ve been such delinquent blogger! I thought having the baby home would give me more internet time…LOL! What was I thinking??? ;p

    Will catch up with you soon! XO

  6. 2.6.09

    I am so proud of Kelloggs that I sent them an email thanking them for pulling their endorsement of Phelps. It’s about time that adults are made responsible for their actions. He did something that was illegal and got caught. There are and should be consequences for that.

    Too bad we have such bad examples in Washington though? I never thought that someone who is known before being appointed to have not paid his taxes as our Treasury secretary. *sigh*

  7. 2.6.09

    I gotta respectfully disagree with you on this one Jane – don’t be mad!
    She wrote it better than I could, but I agree with her.
    (The 2/5/09 post)

  8. 2.6.09

    I agree whole-heartedly with you and with Kellogg. The argument that Michael is a mere 23 years old is the most ludicrous excuse to explain his behavior. Here is a young man who KNOWS his responsibility to swimming, his family, his country, his sponsors… and HIMSELF. Michael doesn’t live in a bubble, where he is protected from the press or even random photographs. He IS a bigger than life human being… through his own volition and talents. I say, “No excuse.” He does know better… or, at least, he should. Kudos to Kellogg.

  9. 2.6.09
    Erin said:

    I completely agree. Is he young, and do young people often make mistakes or have lapses in judgment? Yes, absolutely, but someone in the limelight isn’t afford the kind of mistake making excuses the rest of us are. I teach 8th grade, and SO MANY of my students look up to Michael Phelps. And for that reason, he needs to realize that there is no excuse for this type of public misbehavior.

  10. 2.6.09
    Tristan said:

    Agreed. 100%. Good post.

  11. 2.6.09
    Jay said:

    Seriously no…if ANYONE deserves a bong hit it’s Phelps. That guy has more day-to-day stress than any of you (and me for that matter).

    He IS young and if any one of you could tell me that you didnt do something questionable at some point when you were young, you would be lying and you know it.

    I dont support drug use and I think he should have used better judgement no question.

  12. 2.7.09
    NYCWD said:

    I think it’s interesting how riled up people are getting at Kellogg for not extending his contract and how many people don’t understand what an actual endorsement deal entails.

    The Kellogg endorsement deal is not Kellogg endorsing Phelps, it is Phelps being used in Kellogg advertising to endorse Kellogg products. The fact that Phelps has tarnished his image and received a 3 month suspension from USA Swimming that prohibits both his attendance in competitions and his financial benefits from that organization is grounds enough for Kellogg to end their contract with him.

    They hired him because he was a positive, law abiding role model. Once he stopped being that, they shouldn’t have to pay for something they don’t need considering the huge amount of scrutiny they are already under regarding their branding characters.

    They were right to drop him.

  13. 2.7.09
    JAB said:

    After reading this blog, replies and going to http://www.blogantagonist.com/ (which i am sorry to say i didn’t care for the site but everyone is entitled to his or her opinion) i will say this, i don’t care if he wants to smoke pot but knowing that he is a representative of our COUNTRY and a role model to so many impressionable youth he really needs to think twice or maybe ten times about what he does and where he does it. unfortunately that is the price of his fame. I agree with Kellogg’s action. If you catch your child doing something wrong or for that matter illegal, do you do nothing? People need to be held accountable for their actions. It is not holding people accountable that has landed this country in a hole.

  14. 2.9.09
    Nadine said:

    You wrote a great post. I totally agree. With fame comes responsibility. Yes, 23 is young but it’s not that young. If his character issues are not addressed at this young age, then it will get worse as his fame grows and he gets older.

  15. 2.10.09
    Heather said:

    I agree completely, Jane. It’s ridiculous to say that he’s just young and made a mistake. He’s 23, no longer a teenager and old enough to make decisions that are smarter than this.

Comments are closed.