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Michael Phelps Suspended: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2014

Aug 10, 2014; Irvine, CA, USA; Michael Phelps at the 2014 USA National Championships at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

USA Swimming has taken action against Michael Phelps after his latest DUI arrest.

According to the organization's official Twitter account, USA Swimming suspended the 22-time Olympic swimming medalist for six months due to a violation of its code of conduct:

USA Swimming @USASwimming

USA Swimming Announces Discipline for Michael Phelps: 6-month suspension; Withdrawal from 2015 FINA World Champs http://t.co/1KqVQc1Rkv

Phelps was arrested Tuesday for driving under the influence, as well as speeding and crossing double yellow lines in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.     

USA Swimming decided that his conduct was "detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming" and took action with a suspension that will prevent him from participating in competitions through April 6, 2015, although he will be allowed to train with his member club during that time.

Patrick Sandusky of the United States Olympic Committee also shared the organization's thoughts about the suspension on his Twitter account. "We think the sanctions are appropriate and we are glad that Michael is seeking help," said chief executive officer Scott Blackmun, via Sandusky. "We are grateful that nobody was hurt and appreciate the speed at which USA Swimming and Michael took action."

Christine Brennan of USA Today compared Phelps to Hope Solo, another high-profile American athlete who has had issues with the law:

Christine Brennan @cbrennansports

Phelps gone for 6 months and 2015 world championships for arrest, not conviction. US Soccer should pay attention. http://t.co/yM5IPTOcp2

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The punishment also includes his removal from Team USA at the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, set to take place in August. He will also forfeit his monthly stipend from the organization during his six-month suspension.

Phelps recently sent a message on Twitter explaining his plan to take time away from the sport anyway in an effort to work on his own problems:

Michael Phelps @MichaelPhelps

The past few days have been extremely difficult.

Michael Phelps @MichaelPhelps

I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself.

Michael Phelps @MichaelPhelps

I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.

Michael Phelps @MichaelPhelps

Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual,

Michael Phelps @MichaelPhelps

and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.

One of the concerns is that this was not his first experience on the wrong side of the law. He was arrested in 2004 for a DUI, and in 2009, a photo was released of him allegedly smoking marijuana, according to Ray Sanchez and Amanda Watts of CNN.

This latest issue shows a recurring problem for one of the best athletes of his generation. 

With 18 gold medals and 22 overall, Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history. While he initially announced his retirement from swimming following the 2012 Summer Games, he remains open to the possibility of returning for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

It remains to be seen whether this latest suspension will represent a setback toward his hopes of continually competing at a high level. 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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