Friday, February 6, 2009

Michael Phelps...Yay or Nay?

First of all, thank you all so much for your comments and emails about the latest MOM SHOW episode!! Those of you who haven't registered yet...go...go...go!

Now...onto the major news of the day... MICHAEL PHELPS and his BONG!

I have to say, the first thing I thought when I saw the picture was, "Oh, his poor mom!" Then I thought of all the kids (like my own) who look up to him and think he is the most amazing human on the planet (besides their mom, of course...and well, maybe dad, too).

But, my kids are not allowed to watch the news. I don't want them to open their little heads up and have all the CRAP that goes on around the world dumped into it. I want to keep their little "slates" clean for as long as I can so they can develop their OWN thoughts and feelings toward right and wrong without the help of Britney Spears, OJ Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith and other derelicts of our society. Of course, a couple days in school and I am sure they will hear it from a friend and come running to ask me, "Is it true? Is it true?"

Here's my take on Michael Phelps and his choices. Quite honestly, what the guys does in his own time is HIS business and I couldn't care less. BUT, he dropped the ball when making a choice to do something illegal and harmful to his body IN FRONT OF PEOPLE WITH CELL PHONE CAMERAS. I do believe he has probably missed out on much of his childhood and young adult years b/c of swimming. I get that. (and NO, I am NOT saying that smoking a bong is something we all need to do to say that we have "lived" a true young adult life...I am NOT SAYING THAT AT ALL!) But the pressure he is feeling b/c of the responsibility he now has to the WHOLE world (Imagine that! The WHOLE WORLD!) must be hitting him hard and he caved.

His choices of HOW to deal with that pressure were poor.

But I don't think we don't need to knock him down, trample him and make him suffer, though, do we? Some of his sponsored have pulled their contracts. He's been punished to the tune of a couple million dollars. I bet we can all think of ONE THING we have done in the last 10 years that if it was splashed across the news we would want to crawl into a hole and die?

Maybe it was a Mommy-tantrum @ WalMart or in your own home.

Maybe you have been unfaithful in your marriage.

Maybe you have taken prescription drugs just a couple times too many without an actual ailment.

Maybe you have bounced a couple checks.

Lied to a friend.

Faked it!

You finish the list....

Wouldn't we want our friends, family, and the strangers that witnessed our BIG PUBLIC OOPS to show some grace? Have a heart? Give you a chance to start fresh? A public do-over?

Yes, what Michael did was a poor choice. Yes, many children will see that choice. But, we as parents, need to stand up and turn this into a HUGE TEACHING MOMENT. A lesson in poor judgement, how it affects others and a BIGGER lesson in showing grace. Michael's mistake could be a blessing in disguise for your family. Have a chat with your kids about it tonight.

I wanna hear your MOM PERSPECTIVE on this.


Anonymous said...

My take?

We all make mistakes and should be grateful our transgressions aren't under the scrutiny of the world miscroscope like Phelps is.

Please...I know mothers who are held up to be the epitome of motherhood - everything virtuous and sacred about bearing the torch of giving life and then raising that life. They've done far worse than Phelps. But you know a way, they have a much more important job than Phelps...they are 24/7 365 role models for their own children.

How many times do their children see them have a drink, or two too many? How many times do these woman, in the course of day to day life, do something that is almost mundane to us, yet crucifiable in the world Phelps lives in?

Kellogs dropped him. He faces possible criminal charges. He's got millions of people tsk tsk tsking him and finger wagging at him the world over. Yes, he's a public figure and an inspiration to millions. Yes, he let down himself and his mother...but from where I sit, I think he realizes he messed up. It's not the end of the world. Frankly...I wish some of our politicians here in the US... people we trust our futures and that of our children to - were held to a higher standard.

The contradiction of this situation is just mind-boggling.

Sorry for the novel length comment. This whole thing is just getting more attention than it needs or deserves in my opinion.

Michelle Kemper Brownlow said...

Thanks so much. I enjoyed your "novel"!

I, too, think it is getting too much press. I even struggled with whether I should just NOT post anything b/c then I would be adding one MORE item about it on the internet.

But, I think it all needs to be put into perspective. He did it, Kellogg slapped his wrist.


Thanks for your contribution to the conversation!

Vicki said...

I too agree that what he did was wrong. He needs to think before doing something as crazy and thoughtless as smoking.
I also feel that this is a HUGE lesson to our stupid things and look stupid and suffer. Do the right thing and gain. Life is a choice. Chose the right path.
Thanks for your blog it was great today!
Grace and Peace,
Vicki in GA

MaBunny said...

Yay, he did do something stupid. Yes people got a pic of him doing it. That kind of crap happens and you can't take it back. I agree to quit beating him up about it already.
I know there is one or two things I've done that I would rather not have broadcast, but if it happened then oh well - life does go on...

Julie said...

My thoughts (for what they are worth) are that ANY person in the public eye, but especially sports figures, musicians, and actors/actresses should be aware that their behavior influences a lot of people. Sure, what someone does in their "down time" is their own business...until it involves illegal and/or dangerous activities.

I think that celebrities (and politicians) should be held to a standard, and if they break that standard, they should receive whatever consequences that come with it.

What Michael Phelps did was against the law, and I am glad to know that at least one of his sponsors is telling the world that that kind of behavior is unnacceptable.

I do hope, however, that after all of this that Michael Phelps is able to make a great comeback. Everyone screws up, and we should all be given a chance to repent and change.

T with Honey said...

Yes, we should turn this into a teachable moment. Kelloggs made this even easier because they turned to him and essentially said that you did something illegal, you got caught and now you have to deal with the consequences.

If my boss saw a picture like that of me I'd lose my job so why have such a double standard for media darlings and sports stars?

Yes, the media is harsh and I think the story is being blown into something much bigger than it really is but I do believe it is time for Phelps to be responsible for his actions.

Michelle Kemper Brownlow said...

YOU GO GIRL! My thoughts EXACTLY!!!!

OOOoohhhhh I LOVE what Vicki said!! I am going to hang it on my wall! LOL!

I also feel that this is a HUGE lesson to our stupid things and look stupid and suffer. Do the right thing and gain. Life is a choice. Chose the right path.

Julie, I agree.
He needed to be held accountable and punished for his actions. And I like that you also included the GRACE I was talking about in the post!

YAY!! My mom friends ROCK!! This is a GREAT conversation!

Michelle Kemper Brownlow said...

"T" I am all for it!
I will use the Kellogg's reprimand in the future when my kids stumble and I need an illustration!

Jeanne Elle said...

There's always a silver lining.

We are all human and subject to mistakes, so if Michael Phelps demonstrates sincere remorse and truly cleans up his act, our kids can learn to not feel defeated by their own mistakes, but instead to learn from them and evolve.

(Of course it would have been better if Phelps hadn't done it in the first place, but hey, silver lining, right? ;)

Anonymous said...

I think he should be punished to the fullest extent of the Law!! He is a celebrity and has made millions of dollars and should be treated without any exceptions. Look at OJ who killed 2 people, and other stars who get away with things because they have the money to hire big law firms and beat the rap. They live above us normal people and get away with more then we know. Punishing him to the fullest extent of the law will probably put the fear into your children then just letting it fade away. Our sociaty allows these people to get away with way to much which to young impressive minds Glorifies this kind of behaveyor. It use to be children wanted to gow up and be like the athletes , movie stars, singers but back then they where held at a higher level then they are today and thats because we pitty them,like poor micheal phelps he made a little mistake, how wrong that statement is , He got caught making a mistake who knows what all he may be into?? We have no room to brush it off, our future requires that we become hard on those that choose to be in the public's eye. Watching news or not Our children need role models and by ignoring people like Micheal, Brittany, OJ, any many more we are doing a very BIG injustice to our next gereration. "STAND UP FOR THIER FUTURE" don't ignore it like its not that important. Be Parents by Parenting and Protecting our children by having drug addicts, pedifiles,robbers, killers, drunks and all the rest of misfits punished. "In God We Trust" An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. God put or childrens lives in our hands, for us to protect and teach them.

AlaneM said...

What a great discussion of comments!! Wish I could contribute but my opinions have already been said :)

Anonymous said...

I just find it annoying that if "Joe Shmow" next door was caught in the same manner, he'd get a slap on the wrist, pay a fine and be done, especially if it was a first offense. Depending on his job, yeah, he may get fired, but that would be it. Some people want to make an example of Phelps and that's just wrong. He screwed up, good for Kelloggs for taking away the endorsement, but trying to prove it and bring him up on charges? Come on...he's accepted his mistake and punnishment, move on...

Unknown said...

Yep. It's against the law. OK. I'm sure the stress he's going through REALLY sucks. (And his poor mom)
But, if I heard this right, he did this during training? And he earned how many medals again?
Maybe Kellogg's should start a new recipe for their corn flakes.
(Of course I'm kidding for Anonymous up there.)

Happy Virtual GNO Michelle! :->

Anonymous said...

I like what you said about him just caving in from the pressures of the world and just wanting to be a kid and have some fun. That doesn't make it right either. I think him being tarnished in the past few days is punishment enough. It's not like he went out and robbed a bank. Hopefully he is sincere with his apologies and he won't let this happen again. Once you are in the public eye, everything you say and do can be seen on utube or news or whatever. You have to watch your every step. I hope it wasn't a friend that took that picture and turned it in.

Debbie said...

I felt sorry for his poor mama too! And I think if you are going to make that kind of money, you can at least not break the law.

Jenni said...

I feel badly for him! He did a DUMB thing...but one that a lot of people do. I hope he has learned a lesson and knows now he has to maintain a certain level of public persona if he wants to stay much beloved.

And his mother must want to kick him right in the behind.

nadia said...

That's exactly my first thought! "His Poor Mother"...We all F* up at one point or another...he was just a total dork for doing it in front of cameras, like you said. He's paying the price with all the bad publicity and dropped endorsements.

Great blog! Checking in from the GNO!

Stacy Uncorked said...

We're all human, we all make mistakes. Those that are in the public eye tend to get a bigger backlash from the public when they make a mistake, because their mistakes are made public. Like JEANNE said, as long as he "demonstrates sincere remorse and truly cleans up his act, our kids can learn to not feel defeated by their own mistakes, but instead to learn from them and evolve."

Happy VGNO!

Bad Momma said...

Came over from GNO & thought I'd add my 2 cents:

My 3 boys are swimmers and I was just asked today about what we think about Michael Phelps "fall from grace".

First off, I'm not sure my boys know about this. Two of them have been through DARE and would think Michael did a terrible thing. I'm not so sure they need to have a fallen hero so I've not told them.

Secondly, I also feel for Michael's Mom. Unfortunately her son has been thrust into the spotlight and is now a "Rock Star". I hope this is a wake up call.

Thirdly, I am glad we live in relative obscurity and we don't have the pressures of fame clouding our choices. Boring is good.

Unknown said...

Michelle, I have to share something VERY silly. Check out this link:

My husband wanted to make this image this morning, but after a Google search he found that it had already been done.

Michelle Kemper Brownlow said...

This conversation is GREAT! I love that you all chimed in. Kinda like we were all out to lunch chatting about the news...
you know, GROWN UP conversation that doesn't include spit up or poop!

Thanks ladies, for the great input and variety of opinions! This was great!

Perksofbeingme said...

I'm not a mom, but I am a college student at USC (where the picture was taken). I am a dreamer and I like to believe in the best in people, but I know that not everyone is perfect and people make mistakes. And that's what this is. A mistake. I think when people look at him they see an Olympic star, instead of a 24 year old. I mean he's going to make stupid mistakes, anyone is. Like you said, I know there are many things I wouldn't want broadcasted around the world that I've done in a moment of lost sanity. I think people look at him and expect him to be perfect. I think he should get in trouble for it, because all of our actions have consequences, but he doesn't deserve to lose everything he's worked hard for because of one mistake. But that's just my opinion.

Theresa said...

Every moment in life is a teaching opportunity. So every action there is a reaction. As well, for every action there is a consequence.

Great post.

Love T

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Michelle. I feel bad for him. He screwed up and now the whole world knows about it. I would hate to even have my friends know about some of the stupid mistakes I've made, let alone the whole world. I think he has been punished enough for what he did. I am still a huge fan of his. This one mistake shouldn't erase all that he has achieved.

I don't have any doubt that he will overcome this. He will work hard and continue to be successful in his life. Maybe that will be the lesson here--when you make a mistake, you get up, brush yourself off, and get back on with your life. I know that is exactly what Michael will do.

Rebekah said...

First of all, the media is the one that shoved Phelps out in the head lines. They raved and carried on like he was super human

Then they ranted and spewed when he showed that he was in fact, a simple human. I think the media is cause for a lot of fault

Second of all, people are people and shouldnt be idolized. Yes, Phelps did some great things, but like I said, he is human.

Parents should use this as an opportunity to explain "life" to their children. People are not perfect. We shouldn't idolize them and we shouldn't hate them. We can all accomplish great things, but we will make mistakes along the way.

And the only true person that will never let you down is Jesus Christ

Anonymous said...

Mistake ????????????? A mistake is when something happens thatsan honest error, not Breaking the LAW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats whats wrong today the laws mean nothing the younger people call them mistakes !!! Come on world you all need to GROW UP and take responsibility for YOUR actions. The LAW is the LAW ! Duuh

mj said...

Yep, the first thing I thought of was "his poor Mom". Then I thought how incredibly embarrassed Michael Phelps feels right now. I am sure he would prefer to crawl in a cave and stay there for a while....But, He didn't. He owned his mistake. He admitted to and appologized for the poor choice he made and he will take his concequences for his lack of good judgement.

Do I think he should be punished to the fullest extent of the Law!! as Anonymous above insists? I don't think so.

Did I take the opportunity to turn this into a learning experience with my sons. YOU BET I DID!

This was a huge mistake that Michael Phelps made and he will have to suffer for the rest of his life for his actions. Kellogg's was right to pull his endorsement because so many children are exposed to their sports idols via their cereals. Smart move on their part and I don't think Michael can disagree with the decision either.

As a public figure he will have to take his punishment in a public way. Personally, I think it is far worse a punishment then just locking him up and throwing away the key.

Anonymous said...

What don't you people understand about Breaking the Law. Thats what wrong with our sociaty today, everythings a mistake !!! OJ Walks from killing 2 people, he made a mistake and will suffer in his career !!! Telling your children that Phelps made a mistake is telling them anyone can break the law and say oooops I made a mistake. Come on be real and where is your common sense. Your children are being taught they can break the law and say oh I'm sorry I made a mistake, thats why the youth of today are so confused and show very little respect for others and the law. You people are creating a sociaty of mistakes not law breakers. WAKE UP !! People take responsibility for your actions which when BREAKING the LAW means pay the price because it is not a MISTAKE. "Our poor youth of today"

mj said...

We, As human being...learn from our mistakes and if lucky enough to understand...learn from other peoples mistakes as well!

Michael Phelps is suffering the consequences of his actions! He has lost a lot of money, and respect from his fans to his peers and the general public.

We need to also understand that the law was not involved in this incident. If he had been arrested, then there would be more consequenses including a court date and possible jail time. But this was a picture taken by someone who was present at the time that Michael Phelps slipped in his descretion.

Simply put, I didn't tell my children that it was a mistake. I told them it was a "really stupid mistake!" that comes with severe consequences. Hoping that they will remember this when they are put in the postition of making a good or bad choice in their own lives.

Anonymous, OJ and Michael Phelps are completely different scenarios. Please stop comparing the two.

m&msmommy said...

Agreed! I am completely in a agreement with your blog. Does that mean that everyone should go out and smoke pot if they feel pressured or stressed? No! But as a mommy who was once a teenage/young adult who made plenty of mistakes, it happens! Fortunately for me (and those like me) I wasn't photographed doing it, and the pictures plastered all over the news, BUT he's human, he made a mistake. Plain and simple! Grant it, he is a role model, and in the public eye, but as you said, instead of judging, use this as a learning tool for you children who might idolize him. (at 3, my son could care less and has NO clue who Michael Phelps is :) but for those with older children. Live and learn, and trust me, I'm sure Michael Phelps has done that more then we could imagine in the last week or so since the pics were published.

Anonymous said...

He Broke the LAW, He should be punished, I guess some will just never understand what that means. Being arrested or not does not change the fact that He broke the Law !! Excuses, Excuses do not change the Facts. Live in your world of breaking the law is a Mistake, I hate to think what the future will be like in that world. Poor Kids, mislead and then suffer the concequences. As they scream in fear, but I was told I just make a mistakes and my mom told me it was OK?

Miss Britt said...

A lesson I seem to teach my kids often is "sometimes good people make stupid decisions."

It's one of the things I remind them of when it's time for them to apologize sincerely and then MOVE ON from their own bad mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Please read the following !!!


Duh !!

Michelle Kemper Brownlow said...

OK...Thanks again for all the great comments...varied as they may be!

I appreciate those of you who spoke your mind and added your parenting tidbits to the mix as that is what I was asking for.

Anonymous...maybe it is time you move to another blog...

Yes, he broke the law, but have you NEVER done something against the law? I think all of us would be hard-pressed to be able to throw that stone!

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh... but you have made your point. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing "Anonymous" has never left Walmart with screaming kids and found a pack of gum, chapstick, or other small item that slipped under the purse and went unnoticed until getting to the never driven over the speedlimit...hmmmm

Anonymous said...

I'm going to guess "Anonymous" never had children.

Anonymous said...

You are so wrong, I had children and they where taught rite from wrong, not breaking the law is a mistake?? They are now grown and have children of their own who have been taught the same thing. A mistake is something you do because you do not now any better and breaking the law is Breaking the Law. I know I am speeking to deaf ears and I hope and pray that later in years your attitude and way of thinking does not come back to bite you or your children

Anonymous said...

You are so wrong, I had children and they where taught rite from wrong, not breaking the law is a mistake?? They are now grown and have children of their own who have been taught the same thing. A mistake is something you do because you do not now any better and breaking the law is Breaking the Law. I know I am speeking to deaf ears and I hope and pray that later in years your attitude and way of thinking does not come back to bite you or your children

Anonymous said...

You are so wrong, I had children and they where taught rite from wrong, not breaking the law is a mistake?? They are now grown and have children of their own who have been taught the same thing. A mistake is something you do because you do not now any better and breaking the law is Breaking the Law. I know I am speeking to deaf ears and I hope and pray that later in years your attitude and way of thinking does not come back to bite you or your children

Michelle Kemper Brownlow said...

Really? You had to post your anger THREE TIMES?!

I will say this one more time ...
Thank you for your opinion! We all agree that you have made your point. Now, please find somewhere else to hang your hat.
Your time is up!

Anonymous said...

Its a free world !!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous...this was no "mistake". This was a very stupid CHOICE that he made. Worse still that it involved breaking the law. He should have to take the consequences, including that imposed from breaking the law if the law so chooses to pursue that route. I can't believe I'm reading people saying that he should not be prosecuted for his crime!

I also agree with Anon. that this is a huge issue in our world today. Children are not taught to take consequences - they are taught to get out of them. Calling it a "mistake" is not helpful. He knew it was wrong, it was a choice he decided to take and risk the consequences. He gambled, and lost.

And sure, I have made mistakes, and I have made bad choices (there IS a big difference!). That doesn't negate what we are discussing HERE, which is Michael Phelps. I may have taken consequences for my own bad choices, or sometimes I may have gotten away with it. I certainly learned more from the times I had to face consequences. Letting them slide does no one any favors.

It is my opinion that Michael Phelps should be held to a higher standard. He is a role model. To whom much is given, much is expected - I'm sure you're familiar with that saying? :)

Anonymous said...

A mother that smothered her infant child two years ago was sentenced two weeks ago in Delaware County to 90 days of "weekends in jail."

Michael Phelps could face the same sentence. Or not.

A baby's life was taken, the mother admitted to taking the life, and the courts punished her with 90 weekends in jail. 6 PM Friday to 6 PM Sunday.

The story was buried and I'm having a hard time digging it up on the internet since I only heard about it from my mom, but we have to look hard at a justice system that will slap infant manslaughter on the wrist while going after a "big name" to make a point.

IMHO, our justice system is out of touch with what is really going on in the streets. Fines are levied and good people are warehoused in jails because they are "easy" targets for jails. No problem criminal. Will pay his/her fines. Will make the coffers bigger.

Our state makes money hand over fist with the state stores (alcohol is taxed and the state runs the stores) its DUI convictions. This girl in Philly had some political parental clout and probably was able to shell out a big fine. Some people that make a mistake like Michael Phelps that don't have his fame, money or notoriety will pay a bigger price for the same crime.

Money talks in the legal system, and until the judges and DAs really know what our kids are up to then the punishments don't always fit the crimes.

Yes, Michael Phelps broke the law. He smoked marijuana. This girl in Philly area broke the lawy. She killed her baby. Should they be facing the same punishments in court?

From my mom perspective: Yes, the first thing I thought of when I heard the Phelps fiasco was, "His poor mom." But then, my kids are older and have done stuff that--when they were younger--I never thought they would do. I have felt the "mom shame" when actions (silly, stupid things) that my kids did get broadcast through a small town.

I can't judge Michael. Only support him. If our legal system were smart they'd earmark all the money they spend on criminal convictions for pot smoking into better prevention programs in our schools. The State Stores would work in conjunction with the Education Department to really hammer home the DUI ramifications. In fact, the bodily damage done from alcohol consumption would be a central part of the elementary school cirriculum--liver, kidneys, heart, brain, gastric system, circulatory system. All are affected by chronic alcohol abuse.

What our kids need is life education. The Michael Phelps story will go away just like the story of the woman that killed her infant will go away; both will be replaced by other stories for our 15 minutes of attention.

And none of us will learn anything from it, and the punishments will be meted out and we will forget about them.

Anonymous said...

PS: Sorry to hide behind the 'anonymous' name but I just didn't want anything left to chance since I mentioned my kids and their "minor transgressions" in my little tirade. Thanks for listening.