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