The Michael Phelps controversy is not a trivial one. It is not a joke, nor is it a big deal. It's not disappointing, and it's not something that inspires pride.
The Michael Phelps controversy isn't anything. Because it's not even a controversy. It's nothing.
We shouldn't be talking about it. It shouldn't be in the news. He shouldn't be losing sponsors over it, and he shouldn't have to answer any questions.
I shouldn't be writing this article, and Bleacher Report shouldn't have to publish it.
None of this makes sense. If it weren't such a cliché, I would use the very words: "Leave Michael Phelps alone!"
For those who don't know this story, let me sum it up concisely. Phelps was at a private party with a group of his personal friends. He went into a private back room, somebody offered him a hit of weed, and he took it.
Then, some Judas-like backstabbing nonentity of a loser took a photo of it without telling him, and uploaded it to the Web.
What kind of world do we want to live in? A world where hard-working people with private lives have to answer for the actions of jackass losers with camera phones?
Do you know who should be under the gun right now? That dweeb with the iPhone who took the picture of Phelps and tried to destroy a winner's life.
Every member of the media needs to think about his or her actions before condemning, or even shining a condemning light, on Phelps. How would they feel if somebody snuck into their bedrooms while they were living their private lives, and took a picture of some incriminating act?
Heck, certain forms of sex are illegal in some states—how would they feel if somebody snuck a photo of them engaged in such an act? Would they want the media debating their actions and treating them like crud?
In the hierarchy of crimes, smoking pot is pretty low. Does that excuse it? Not exactly. But at a time when famous athletes are using performance-enhancing drugs, beating their wives, killing people/animals, and carrying concealed weapons as though they were Burberry scarfs...I can let Michael's crime go.
And I don't even want to get into the sociological suggestions that this media coverage solicits. Swimming is a sport traditionally embraced by people with above-average financial means, and is strongly represented by Caucasians. Are we suggesting that swimmers are held to a different standard because it's a "rich white kid" sport?
The media may not be stating that explicitly, but their implications are obvious to anyone paying attention.
So, yes, this whole damn thing is a joke, and any member of the media who profits off Michael Phelps' "downfall" deserves to lose his job. Because as soon as such writers gain a measure of success, they will not hold themselves to the same standards that they expect of men like Phelps.