Babe Ruth was pilloried when an ulcer (attributed to hard living) and a standoff with manager Miller Huggins caused him to miss much of the 1925 baseball season. Paul Hornung, the "Golden Boy" halfback from Notre Dame, was suspended for the 1963 NFL season after admitting he had gambled on football. Connie "The Hawk" Hawkins was as lauded a high school basketball player as New York ever produced, but he couldn't swoop through the NBA until 1970 - past his prime - because of point-shaving allegations.
Ali had integrity on his side, and as national sentiment turned against the Vietnam War, he became a hero for his stance against the draft.
Phelps modeled the pre-emptive approach to image rehab. Sports marketers said his DUI arrest would tarnish the swimmer's wholesome image as a relentless worker who felt at ease in his local pancake joint.
But Phelps didn't let such doubts linger.
He called news outlets shortly after the arrest, apologizing, taking responsibility for his mistake and saying he would talk to school groups about the dangers of drunken driving.
"In my view, if you ever can, you have to have the athlete face the public," Carlisle said. "The sooner you come to terms with the fact you made a mistake and you weren't above making it, the better for the athlete."
Carlisle even encouraged reporters to ask the young star about his troubles. "It's part of his life," he said. "You can't tiptoe around it."
Forty-two years after his gambling suspension, Hornung said that's exactly the advice he would give to Palmeiro and others.
"The most forgiving part of the American public is the sports fans," said the former Green Bay star.
Hornung said coach Vince Lombardi was his guide through the storm. "He gave me pretty good advice, which was, 'Stay at the foot of the cross, keep your nose clean and don't let me see you at the track,'" the Hall of Famer recalled.
Another traditional remedy for sullied performers has been the return to on-field dominance. Consider Ray Lewis.
Before being charged with murder, the middle linebacker was revered for his fierce play. But he was the object of some concern because he hung with a rough crowd and liked to party.
Then he was charged with murder after two men were stabbed to death outside an Atlanta nightclub in January 2000. Images of Lewis' bullet-pocked limo clogged the airways.
Prosecutors later dropped the murder charge in exchange for testimony against other defendants, but only after Lewis spent more than a month in jail and sat through the beginning of a trial.
The Ravens star received mixed reviews for his behavior after he was cleared. He said he felt for the victims' families but lashed out at the prosecutors who had charged him.
"Where am I going from here?" Lewis said at the time. "Back to what I've been doing, playing football and enjoying what I do, showing kids that there's still a passion for the game even though you're falsely accused about certain things."
He then followed his own prescription, doing his best rehab work on the field, where he terrorized ball carriers as the star of history's stingiest defense. If he wasn't exactly beloved after winning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honors (he didn't get to do the traditional Disney World plug), he was respected.
Tales of his partying faded away, and he became known as a football nerd - always in shape, unwilling to coast on any snap, a relentless student of game film.