The 22 Olympic medals hanging heavily around Michael Phelps’ neck may not sink him.
However, the all-time Olympic medal winner’s reckless personal behavior outside the pool may ultimately dunk him with his sponsors.
Early yesterday morning, Maryland police clocked Phelps’ 2014 Range Rover doing 84 mph in a 45 mph zone.
An inebriated Phelps failed the requisite field sobriety test and was immediately booked with alcohol levels at nearly twice the legal limit. Charges filed against the Baltimore Bullet included DUI, speeding and crossing a double line lane.
This is not the first time Phelps’ irresponsible behavior has captured headlines.
As a 19 year-old, Phelps was cited for his first DUI. And, as a 23 year-old, photos surfaced of Phelps sucking on a bong at a University of South Carolina campus party.
The pot incident cost Phelps a lucrative sponsorship deal with Kellogg’s which immediately distanced himself from the swimmer.
Phelps’ most recent bust couldn’t have come at a worst time for a guy looking to get back in the pool and in the center of the media spotlight.
Plus, the historically rich NFL sponsorship deals are now being more closely scrutinized than ever in light of the league’s recent domestic abuse and inappropriate conduct scandals. The same level of scrutiny is being applied to other athletes in other sports.
Sponsoring companies desire model citizens to tout their products and not immature athletes who should know better and whose behavior cannot be monitored 24 / 7.
Curious to see how Phelps’ current stable of sponsors – Under Armor, VIA and Subway – weigh in on the swimmer’s most recent mistake.
Let’s hope the 18-time Olympic gold medalist gets his personal life in order and can always keep his head above water.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!