Friday, February 6, 2009

The Michael Phelps situation has gotten out of hand

When I first heard about this incident, I was cautiously hoping this could remain little more than a publicity nightmare for Phelps. USA Swimming's recent decision to suspend him for three months shows it cannot. I would find the federation's decision egregious under any circumstances, but it is especially so in this case. When Phelps was convicted in 2004 of driving under the influence, USA Swimming should have reacted in the same manner. It chose not to although Phelps ran a red light and nearly hit a police car.

USA Swimming had this to say in 2004:

"This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero."

What kind of message does it send when you condone behavior that endangers public safety while punishing behavior that does not? It seems that no place in society is safe from the hypocritical tentacles of drug war ideology.


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