Michael Phelps says he regrets doing his impersonation of Brad Pitt in True Romance, and that it will never, ever happen again. I totally believe him*.
We all recall how following the Athens Games in 2004, Phelps celebrated by getting busted for DUI. This time it was a toga party while visiting the University of South Carolina, with photos of our hero hitting the bong that appeared in the British tabloid News of the World. Heartfelt apologies followed each event.
“I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment,” Phelps said in the statement released by one of his agents on Sunday. “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.”
Speculation is that this won't hurt Phelps' many endorsement deals, although he did leave Tampa before the Super Bowl, which he was scheduled to attend on behalf of a sponsor. Others aren't too sure that the bong photos won't negatively impact his estimated $100 million in endorsement deals.
As if what is happening in corporate America isn't enough, those willing to pay for a Phelps speech or an appearance can now take at least $25,000 off the asking price from last week.
And from USA Swimming:
"Olympic champions are looked up to by people of all ages, especially young athletes who have their own aspirations and dreams. That said, we realize that none among us is perfect. We hope that Michael can learn from this incident and move forward in a positive way.”
Nice to have backup like that when you screw up. Kind of like the Verizon Network following you around.
* = May not believe him.