As the fallout from his bong-smoking photo continues, Michael Phelps insisted he does not use drugs.
Phelps attempted to clear the air on Thursday when a cameraman asked the Olympian if he had stopped using drugs.
“I don’t take drugs,” Phelps smiled outside of his training facility in Baltimore. “I get drug tested all the time. You can look at the record and you can see.”
While local law enforcement in South Carolina (where the photo was taken) are considering charges against Phelps, the Beijing Olympic hero won’t face any major punishment from United States Olympic Committee since the organization’s anti-doping rules don’t call for sanctions against athletes who test positive for marijuana when they are not competing, according to The Associated Press.
And so far, it appears Phelps won’t face any serious repercussions from his corporate sponsors either on the heels of the leaked photo. Visa, Speedo and Swiss watchmaker Omega have all said they are accepting the swimmer’s public apology – something the 23-year-old was grateful for.
“Do you feel good that corporate America is still backing you?” a cameraman asked Phelps on Thursday.
“You know, it’s times like these that you really do get true support,” Phelps continued. “I’ve been able to find out who my friends and family are. And by no means has this been easy. Bad judgment…. and something I’ll learn from.”
And as far as image authority and “The Big Idea” author Donny Deutsch is concerned, Phelps’ slip-up won’t have a lasting effect on his reputation or his legacy.
“I think for a young guy, who is in his early twenties, he’s sowing his oats. I think the marketers are going to give him a pass,” Deutsch told Access Hollywood. “He made our country feel great. In the scale of things, this is not egregious behavior.”
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