Friday, February 6, 2009

Michael Phelps: Nippin' it in the bud

Michael Phelps wants to let you know he’s sorry, but come on, do you really believe him? Phelps is in the middle of his “my bad” tour after some photos surfaced of him rockin’ the pineapple express, issuing today a statement that has already been parsed by everyone from family values crusaders to civil libertarians:

I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.

But what he’s probably really thinking is this:

That party was the shit!

I say all this with the obvious caveat that in the Facebook age it’s in fact pretty stupid to be photographed taking a bong hit, whether you’re a multi-time gold medalist or just your average Ras Trent, though I haven’t heard whether it was a shoot-and-run or a posed shot. Regardless, the guy who took the photo is also guilty of a Major Party Foul, btw, but that’s just common courtesy, or ought to be–but I digress.

But goddamn it, when you’re Michael Phelps most parties are probably pretty awesome, so why can’t we be okay with that? Phelps is being finger-wagged at as though lots of them hadn’t done so themselves, as though we’ve never heard of pot, as though stoner jocks are some sort of new thing–just ask any Miami fan about this kooky years-long experience, or, hell, ask this year’s Super Bowl MVP. This is particularly insufferable; it’s frustrating that a 23-year-old has found himself forced to apologize for “youthful” behavior–a responsibility that he had forced upon him for the grave indignity of being really really good at something. Alas, ya don’t have to remind me who founded this country. But just as I have faith we’ll grow to understand that what grownups do on their downtime in their own homes almost never has to be our business, just as I’m kinda hoping this brings people to start really thinking hard about marijuana’s status in sports leagues as a “performance-enhancing drug” on par with steroids or HGH. In fact, better yet, I propose we spark one up before we sit down to think about that, because that’s the only way we’ll come to a conclusion any more complex than “duh.”