Pro/Con – Phelp’s pot-smoking is a private choice

Does a human trademark have a right to his own life? (Melissa Conser)

Melissa Conser and Katie Widner

Melissa Conser – PRO

It seems when people look at swimmer Michael Phelps, they see more or less a human who tests his physical and mental boundaries, thereby doing fantastic at the 2008 Olympics. His legend doesn’t end at the Olympics though, with endorsements from Kelloggs and Guitarhero,  Phelps has become more or less America’s little trademark, a tool if you please.

According to the definition of a trademark is, “any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant in order to designate his or her goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others.” 

However, after the whole alleged-smoking-weed fiasco, Trademark (Phelps) is no longer up to these high-standards. Not only did it become national news, no surprise there, Sheriff Leon Cott of the South Carolinia county where Trademark was alleged to have smoked, is now using Trademark as an example by going after said Phelps. He desires to show all the young folks what will happen if they smoke marijuana. Lucky for these young folks, they’ll probably never make national television for doing something as trivial as smoking weed.

This whole thing irks me because Trademark is really just a human who deserves the decency of some privacy. So, when incidents such as Trademark being photographed smoking marijuana happen, no one would theoretically care because they would say “Hey, Trademark’s just a person like me, and I don’t expect anything else from him.” 

In my opinion, in a perfect world, news like this would never be the news. Moreover, no one who didn’t personally know Trademark would care, or ask Trademark to apologize for not being their idealized, American Trademark.

Even Greek gods have made some bad mistakes, like incest, mistakes far worse than Trademark. Phelps isn’t a Greek god though; he is way too influential and revered to be anything close to a god. He’s just Trademark, you know?

Katie Widner – CON

Who knew his 8,000 calorie meals were due to the munchies?

Until now, I was able to overlook Michael Phelps’ massive overbite and excessive gum line, but I can no longer ignore the fact that his brains are comparable to his looks. You wouldn’t think that someone who is paid tens of millions of dollars to maintain his image would find difficulty in this task, but once again, Phelps continues to astound.

The accolades of praise and millions of dollars in endorsements Michael Phelps has received are not purely due to his accomplishments in the swimming pool, but in part to the image he portrays to the public. He has a responsibility to the public to follow the standards he set for himself. To the average twenty-something college student, the occasional bong hit is no big deal, but things change when you’re a cultural icon and Herculean idol to millions of children around the world.

The issue at hand is not a debate about whether smoking pot is good or bad; it is about how an instant lapse of judgment could affect the minds of impressionable people.

In 2008, Phelps was one of the most popular Halloween costumes (alongside Sarah Palin and Barrack Obama) and that speaks volumes about his influence. An image of Michael Phelps doing drugs could be catastrophic to a young child who has no experience with such things and does not know the difference between smoking a bowl and smoking crack cocaine. While children look to him as a hero and mentor, society views him as a symbol of hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance. As an Olympic athlete, Phelps represents the United States and even our values. He represents you and he represents me, and for what may be the first time in his life, he needs to step up his game.