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Michael Phelps shouldn't be held to a different standard 

Michael Phelps should be able to smoke weed if he wants.

Yes, I said it, and I am not a weed smoker. Some of you might think that I am crazy, but I firmly believe that what people do privately is no one else's concern. I get it. He's the greatest Olympic athlete of all time, with lots of endorsements and a lot of kids looking up to him, so he should know better and yes, he should do better. However, just because he has won eight Olympic medals does not make him a deity; remember he is actually human and he is young.

Michael Phelps got caught smoking marijuana. I chuckled when I saw the photo because of all bongs, he was smoking the biggest and the brightest. It wasn't like he was posing for the photo. Some jerk, who obviously was not that high, took the photo. Now all hell is breaking loose because this stellar athlete is not a stellar individual. Now everyone is trying to make an example of him. S.C. authorities are thinking about bringing charges against him.

Really. I hope that they plan to charge everyone who was at the party, including the person who took the picture. Why are they singling him out? If indeed there is that one photo, there are others, and if they pursue charges against Phelps, they should do the same for all involved. I guess the authorities have more time on their hands than we thought. I would suspect if you raid any college campus in the United States, any day of the week, they would find students smoking weed, getting drunk and engaging in a lot of other illegal activities. If they were really interested in stopping the flow of marijuana on college campuses, then they would perform random raids to dissuade students. They don't. Why? Because of privacy issues. Plus, any good lawyer worth her salt can beat a charge obtained in that way.

This may sound crazy, but I do believe that if a young man who sacrificed most of his childhood to pursue the greatest goal of all time wants to smoke weed in his time off, he should be allowed to do so. How soon we forget the parts of his story that folks lapped up when he was "the man." He was tall and lanky, had a speech impediment and not many friends because people made fun of him. The guy who probably couldn't buy a date and had to work really hard to make friends is suddenly the most popular guy in the class, not to mention the most famous athlete in the world. You know how this story goes because you've seen this Hollywood narrative before. As a young person, of course he's going to want to fit in and be with the "regular" folks, where he is now the Superstar. Does that make it right? No, but it is what it is.

I could see if he was smoking marijuana during competition. He wasn't. I know that marijuana is illegal and a gateway drug, so you should not smoke it under any circumstances. I get that. But he was on a college campus, with students in his age group, doing what college students do. Where is the uproar over the University of South Carolina students who were at the party? There is none. Why? Because they're just being students.

I've heard folks going off about if Phelps were black, he'd be stripped of his medals, suspended and under the jail, especially in South Carolina. They're probably right. Just because the authorities railroaded Marion Jones does not mean that they should railroad Phelps. For those of us with fuzzy memories, Jones never tested positive -- never, ever, even during competition. Fortunately for Phelps, he isn't black. He will get another chance -- just like he did after being caught driving drunk. Why? Because he is a young man who is not perfect.

All this talk about weed has me wanting to paraphrase one of my favorite "weed-smoking" celebrities -- Method Man. In a documentary on Notorious B.I.G., he tells kids to let their parents be their role models and reminds us that he's just there for entertainment. Perhaps we should take his advice? Instead of trying to make athletes and public figures role models, maybe we should serve as role models at home?

It has been proven time and time again -- athletes and celebrities are not reliable. Why? Because they are human beings just like us. I suspect that the parents of all of those students who were smoking weed and drinking at that party have been great role models; yet and still, their children are still doing what they probably were not raised to do -- drink alcohol and do drugs. Young people make mistakes. Michael Phelps is young and obviously made a mistake that has only hurt himself.

Do I think Phelps should get special treatment? No. I don't think that he should be held to a standard different from the other students that attended the party because he has won eight Olympic medals. And yet people have ordained him as a deity instead of the young person that he is.

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