USA Swimming left no room for doubt. You do enough to blacken
their eye, you’re toast. The governing body of swimming took off
the gloves and dealt a six-month suspension to Michael Phelps, the
18-time Olympic champion, for his second DUI arrest. USA Swimming
said Phelps violated its code of conduct and banned him from any
USA Swimming-sanctioned meets through April 6, 2015. That forced
Phelps to withdraw from next year’s world championships.
I hate to see it happen, but I don’t empathize with Phelps. I’m
on the side of making the correct decision, which Phelps hasn’t
done. Drinking and driving is a choice. It’s not a mistake. You
knowingly get into a vehicle after consuming drugs or alcohol, you
will eventually kill someone. I’m glad USA Swimming took the stand
that it did and I hope that Michael Phelps gets the wake up call he
I’m so sick to death of having to see sports athletes stand
there an apologize for something that is so easily avoided. Call.
A. Cab. Rent. A. Limo. What about a designated driver?? What. Is
that uncool? I don’t understand it.
But don’t even tell me that you made a bad decision, that
everyone makes mistakes and you’re sorry. A bad decision is staying
up late the night before and being late to work the next day or
eating an entire cheesecake. A mistake is forgetting to stop by the
bank to make that deposit or forgetting your dry-cleaning. It
doesn’t work when it comes to drinking and driving. That’s a
blatant choice to hurt others and yourself.
If I’ve offended you. Good. Here’s some statistics
that will offend you further, or maybe not.
Here’s the story from Beth Harris of the Associated Press:
Michael Phelps’ comeback took a major hit on Monday, with USA
Swimming suspending the 18-time Olympic champion for six months and
forcing him to withdraw from next year’s world championships.
Phelps also lost six months of funding from the sport’s national
governing body as a result of his second DUI arrest. The
29-year-old swimmer is banned from participating in USA
Swimming-sanctioned meets through April 6, 2015.
USA Swimming said Phelps violated its Code of Conduct, and cited
a section of its 2014 Rule Book in punishing him. Its executive
committee approved the sanctions, which take effect
“Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant
consequences,” said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming executive director.
“We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development
Phelps can still train with his North Baltimore club, but he had
already qualified for the world championships in Russia next
August, which is the biggest international meet leading up to the
2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Phelps came out of retirement earlier this year with his sights
set on competing at a fifth Olympics in Rio. Being barred from the
world meet could put a serious dent in those ambitions.
His latest arrest came about a month after Phelps won three
golds and two silvers at the Pan Pacific Championships in
Australia. He had retired after the 2012 London Olympics, having
won a record 18 gold medals and 22 medals in four games.
Phelps’ monthly funding stipend of $1,750 will be halted for six
months, costing him a total of $10,500. That is small change
compared to the millions he earns through several major
endorsements, including Aqua Sphere, Subway, Under Armour, Omega
and Master Spas.
“Michael accepts USA Swimming’s sanctions,” according to a
statement from his representatives at Octagon. “He has apologized
for his actions and, as he shared yesterday, is taking steps to
Over the weekend, Phelps announced he was entering a six-week,
in-patient program, a week after he was arrested and charged with
drunken driving in his hometown of Baltimore.
“Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to
focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary
work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the
future,” he said in a series of posts on his Twitter account.
U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said, “We think the
sanctions are appropriate and we are glad that Michael is seeking
help. We are grateful that nobody was hurt and appreciate the speed
at which USA Swimming and Michael took action.”
While Phelps was still working out his schedule for the upcoming
year, he will miss the first three U.S. Grand Prix meets in
Minneapolis in November, Austin, Texas, in January and Orlando,
Florida, in February.
The earliest he could return to Grand Prix competition would be
at a meet in Mesa, Arizona, that begins April 15.
USA Swimming’s punishment was its harshest ever imposed on its
superstar. The governing body suspended Phelps for three months in
2009 after a photo emerged of him using a marijuana pipe, even
though he was not charged.
USA Swimming took no action after Phelps’ 2004 drunken driving
arrest when he was 19.
Phelps was charged on Sept. 30 with driving under the influence,
excessive speed and crossing double lane lines on Interstate 95. He
registered .14 percent on a blood-alcohol test after he was stopped
on a speeding violation; the legal limit is .08 percent in
His trial is scheduled for Nov. 19.
If convicted, Phelps faces up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine
and the loss of his driver’s license for six months.
In 2004, Phelps was arrested and charged with drunken driving on
Maryland’s Eastern Shore, fresh from the Athens Olympics, where he
won six gold medals.
Phelps pleaded guilty to the charges, but as a young first-time
offender he avoided conviction. A judge imposed 18 months’
probation and a fine but waived the conviction, which means Phelps
now faces the same penalties a first-time offender would.
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