Newspapers all over the world – both online and offline – exploded with all sorts of stories when a picture of Michael Phelps holding a bong was released. The picture was supposedly taken in November at a college party in South Carolina. The photo released to the world was of Michael holding the bong. Although nothing concrete could be seen from the picture, the swimming superstar admitted to smoking from it.
The results were obviously devastating to this person whom everyone held in high regard. He already has had several endorsement deals cancelled because of the incident. On the legal end, however, Michael Phelps has nothing to worry about now. According to the sheriff’s department of Richland County, South Carolina, where the photo was taken, there is no physical evidence that any law has been broken.
While the Olympic medalist admitted to “inappropriate behavior,” there was no mention of marijuana or any other illegal substance use. As such, no charges can be filed – and none will be filed. Phelps’s statement prior to this announcement was:
I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public — it will not happen again.
He has not gotten off totally free though. He has been suspended by USA Swimming from competition for 3 months starting February 6. Kellogg Co. will not renew its deal with Phelps.
Still, it seems that the swimmer continues to be a hero for many. In Sheriff Leon Lott’s words, “Michael Phelps is truly an American hero. But even with his star status, he is obligated to obey the laws of our state.”