News flash: Michael Phelps is human!

I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who are upset that all-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps doesn't fit perfectly in the little box we've all created for him...and, to be fair, he has created for himself.

The kid is 23 years old, internationally popular and incredibly wealthy, which means that he's going to face the same temptations as every other young athlete, though I'm crossing my fingers he doesn't shoot himself in the leg at a nightclub any time soon. He has sacrificed a great deal of his young life to become the greatest Olympic swimmer ever, and now he's trying to get some of it back. Can't say that I blame him for being anything but indiscreet.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not condoning marijuana use, and neither is just about everyone from my generation who spent the 1960s and '70s making it the most popular illegal substance in the history of the world. But the only people who really have a right to judge Phelps harshly are the companies that have spent all those millions on his All-American image.

They do have a right to expect him to behave in a manner befitting their public image, and they have the option of distancing themselves from him if this particular slice of real life doesn't fit their priorities. The rest of us, who want him to assume our responsibility to role model for our kids, need to chill out a bit until he turns up in a bedroom video with Paris Hilton.

Now, I'll do a little blog psychoanalysis. Those people who are wondering why Phelps didn't realize that just about everyone on earth now carries a camera phone might want to consider the possibility that -- at least for that moment -- he didn't care. Did it ever occur to anybody that he has reached a level of fame where, occasionally, he would like to be somebody other than Michael Phelps? I'm guessing there are times when that fishbowl isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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