Michael Phelps’ reputation shouldn't go up in smoke just because he was caught indulging in a drug an estimated 42% of Americans have tried, Sally Jenkins writes in the Washington Post. Phelps, like most great athletes, is a creature of extremes, and nobody should be surprised that when he breaks training, he really goes for it.
Swimming authorities won’t be censuring Phelps, Jenkins notes, and corporate sponsors shouldn’t penalize him for failing to live up to superhuman ideals. “All he did was behave in an unmeasured and uncalculated way and suffer the bad luck to be photographed doing it,” Jenkins writes. “He’s already enjoying a fitting punishment: public embarrassment for failing to live up to his commercial pretensions.”