In Defense of Michael Phelps



February 4, 2009


So the media has found its quarry, and is now doing what it does best: tearing down the very heroes they created, fawned over, and exalted to Brobdingnagian stature. The sanctimonious media which tanked, in all its white guilt, to ensure we have a black president, are now finding moral compass in assassinating the character of a hugely successful, likable, and driven 23-year old who happened to enjoy a few tokes of the good herb at a South Carolina frat party.


These sportswriters (and I use the term “writer” loosely)—you know, the ones who charge their papers for 3-martini lunches and hoard the free liquor in the press box—are wringing their hands about the coming end of the world as we know it because Michael Phelps indulged in something any normal 23-year old should indulge in.


Never mind that Phelps works harder in one day than these fat louts work in their entire lives; in their minds, Phelps signals the beginning of the end. Phelps is a role model they cry…but Charles Barkley disabused us of any such notions years ago, and in a world where nudity, violence, and misogyny are the Holy Trinity of pop culture, it’s laughable that Phelps is being pilloried as he is.


The very language used by the vast majority of the writers is indicative of how ignorant they are about a subject of which they shoot their mouths off. Virtually every piece I read on the topic referred to Phelps smoking a “bong pipe.” NO ONE…and I mean NO ONE says “bong pipe.” You smoke out of a bong, or you smoke out of a pipe, NO ONE smokes out of a “bong pipe.” But when have journalists ever let their ignorance stand in the way of a good story?


Jemele Hill, the race-baiting writer for ESPN, who was suspended last year for making an ill-advised reference to Adolf Hitler in one of her columns, was on ESPN in recent days, lecturing Phelps about his indiscretions, and of course, pointing out how much money he will lose in endorsements. I find it curious how all the pious media always translate everything into dollars and cents—as if the set-for-life Phelps will really be hurt by a few lost endorsements. Hill, who will accomplish far less in her life than Phelps has already accomplished in his, has the temerity to tell the Olympian how he should be spending his free time. I can’t wait for her tutorial for Tiger Woods on how to hit a 175-yard cut shot.


And Pat Forde, another ESPN hack, writes in one of his pieces how his impressionable progeny, budding young swimmers they, have seen their world affected by this “crashing news.” Forde trots out all the bromides about role-models and obligations, never realizing that Phelps’ influence is minimal and has slipped through the cracks in a youth culture dominated by luminaries like Fifty Cent, Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and rapist Kobe Bryant. He doesn’t even see the irony in the fact that today’s children wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything of a physical nature if it involved anything more than pulling themselves from in front of their computers or idiot boxes to waddle their corpulent asses to the fridge.


Phelps is a 14-time gold medal-winner who is by all accounts a hard-worker (DUH!!), generous, and a respectful young man. He is free to come out my way anytime to smoke some of the good California medicinal…perhaps the perfect prescription for the uptight, self-righteous media members now standing in line to tear down the monster they created.