Saturday, February 7, 2009

THREE MONTH SUSPENSION INSPIRES EVEN BIGGER PARTY?

USA Swimming said Thursday night that it has decided to suspend Michael Phelps from competition for the next three months as punishment for a photo that was published in a British tabloid over the weekend that appeared to show him smoking marijuana.

The organization's board of directors voted on the decision, saying the intent was to send Phelps a "strong message" that it did not approve of his behavior. USA Swimming also said it is withdrawing financial support from Phelps during the suspension, a mostly symbolic punishment. The sport provides stipends for Olympic-caliber athletes in case they cannot afford to train and work at the same time.

USA Swimming wasn't the only one expressing disappointment with Phelps yesterday. Although his corporate sponsors have mostly stood by him since the photograph was published, Kellogg Co. said it would not renew its partnership with Phelps after its deal with the swimmer expires at the end of this month.

Phelps' management company, Octagon, said he understood the two decisions:

"Michael is disappointed that he can no longer fuel his party machine with Kellogs' coin, but he's delighted about the 90 day vacation and he plans to celebrate by driving around doing tubes and beers."

*Items in italics may not be true.

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