Colgate Around the Hill – What should America think of Michael Phelps?

By Chas Kurtz

Michael Phelps did not kill anybody. He did not rape anybody. He, like countless young people around the world, decided to smoke some weed at a college party. Was it stupid? For somebody of his prominence it probably was. At the very least he should have made sure people weren’t taking pictures of him hitting the bong. But honestly, is it that big of a deal? I don’t think so and neither do the vast majority of his sponsors because they are continuing their relationship with him. If anything, hopefully Michael learned a lesson from all of this: don’t smoke weed with cameras around. The bong photo is not nearly as big of a deal as the DUI he received in 2004, and I’d say he recovered just fine from that incident. If the President of the United States can admit to using cocaine and be forgiven, Michael Phelps will undoubtedly be forgiven for smoking a little bud.

By Chris Dell’Amore

Less than half a year after exalting Michael Phelps to Chuck Norris-like levels of fame, everyone is wondering what to think about one of the greatest Olympians to ever walk the earth. He was caught posing for a picture while smoking marijuana out of a water bong while visiting a female friend at the University of South Carolina. Of course, the event occurred after he won eight gold medals in the Beijing games. Sure, what he did deserves some type of repercussion, but not because he smoked weed, but because he was dumb enough to allow a picture to be taken of him. In our culture, it is all too common for athletes to abuse performance-enhancing drugs such as HGH or steroids. When I saw reports on various news stations entertaining the possibility that Phelps could be stripped of his gold medals I just shook my head. I had to recollect myself and rethink what these anchors were implying: strip him of his medals for doing an athletically DETRIMENTAL drug AFTER he won his gold medals. I think any news anchor that is dumb enough to read into this situation further than what it really is, one of the youngest and most highly pressured athletes in the sporting world unwinding, deserves to be demoted to play-by-play coverage on CSPAN. So, I propose that Phelps continues his smoking so that it acts similar to a handicap would in golf. Odds are that if a hazy-eyed, shaggy-haired Phelps stumbles his way into the London pools in 2012, he will still bring home more gold medals than any other swimmer there.

By Mike LeClair

I have absolutely no problem with Michael Phelps taking a few bong hits at a frat party in South Carolina. Honestly, it (should) be a complete non-issue. Yeah, I realize he’s in the spotlight and all, but not everyone in the spotlight should instantly be made into a role model. Doing that leads to nothing but high expectations and, inevitably, disappointment. Michael Phelps, outside of his exceptional swimming ability, is simply an ordinary person. He’s 23 years old and, despite living at the University of Michigan for four years, has probably never been able to experience a real college experience. So, the fact that people are actually surprised by his smoking weed and partying is mind-blowing. I mean, he doesn’t have the best track record either.

That said, what in hell is he doing, putting himself in a position where that picture could even be taken? The guy makes about $5 million a year in endorsements, and has the fame and influence to do this sort of stuff in VIP sections of clubs, as opposed to the backyard of a frat house. Maybe it’s just me, but the former seems a bit more fitting for someone of his stature. While he is an ordinary person at heart, he has celebrity surrounding him now, and should probably be living his life accordingly. Overall: Media, back off. He’s doing what 95% of you would be doing in the same situation. Michael: Smarten up, stay away from the cameras, and shut everyone up by bringing your gold medal count to 20 in London.

By Mike McMaster

Sure, Michael Phelps is 23 years old, and sure, it’s age appropriate. Tons of kids his age do it. But Michael Phelps is not tons of kids.

Phelps is just further proof that athletes are not role models. They’re athletes. And Michael Phelps is not a particularly smart one.