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Why is USA Swimming paying Michael Phelps?

I think Michael Phelps is getting a raw deal. Here we have a young man who basically spent his childhood and youth in a swimming pool and then got thrust into a glaring spotlight just when he could relax and blow off steam. The USA Swimming suspension is symbolic and perhaps understandable. The antics of Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who says he's considering pursuing charges against Phelps for smoking pot, are unbelievable.

But here is my question, prompted by this paragraph in Kevin Van Valkenburg's story:

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Is this like an insurance plan, which kicks in if athletes have to quit their day jobs and really isn't costing USA Swimming on Phelps' behalf? Or is USA Swimming paying out dollars that Phelps obviously doesn't need and that could be spent on other athletes?

UPDATE: Hauled up from comments. From Swimming World mag:


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