Let me set the record straight right here at the outset, I am not a goodie-two-shoes. I like loud music, I like adult beverages. And when it comes to addiction, I have a long and sordid history with chocolate.
But I am not a national champion or American icon. I am not a role model to millions of children, and even if I were, I doubt my indulgence in Bacardi Raz and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups would bring my image crashing down. Though, I would probably get some flack for eating Peeps Marshmallow Chicks and the occasional Tequila Popper.
So now I want to know... when is it going to be okay for me to tell my children they can look up to an athlete? Ever? Performance enhancing drugs (also widely known as cheating), recreational drugs, infidelity, outlandish salaries and yet always asking for more money... The greed, corruption and excess is not okay.
Hello, Michael Phelps! Work with me.
"Mom? What is that famous man smoking? You always told me smoking was bad but he was good this summer, right?"
"What, Daughter? Oh, that? That's your idol, and that there is his bong."
I can keep my kids from watching trash television; I can keep my daughter from listening to Britney Spears, but now am I supposed to ban them from watching the Olympics too?! Ridiculous.
For those of you who say Michael Phelps is just a regular guy having fun, that's bunk. He is not a pop-star. He is an athlete and he's an American superstar. If he didn't want kids to look up to him, he shouldn't have gone and won eight gold medals. And basically broke every record there was.
I have no patience with this type of behavior. People of all ages who are given the gift of celebrity status, and in the public view, should and must be held to a higher standard so our children can have acceptable role models. Amen. I will step down from my soap box now...