Sorry faithful m-pyre readers. We are just seriously overwhelmed these days. However, I could not let this one past without a repost, from a blog I did on NMI:
Kellogg Co. ended its contract with Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps last week after he was photographed smoking marijuana. The company said that Phelps’ behavior was “not consistent with the image of Kellogg” and announced it wouldn’t renew his contract.
In reaction to Kellogg’s actions, marijuana legalization activists have called for a boycott of all Kellogg products. The Huffington Post reports that the executive director of one group, the Marijuana Policy Project, called Kellogg hypocritical.
“Kellogg’s had no problem signing up Phelps when he had a conviction for drunk driving, an illegal act that could actually have killed someone,” the Huff Post quoted Rob Kampia, the group’s executive director. “To drop him for choosing to relax with a substance that’s safer than beer is an outrage, and it sends a dangerous message to young people.”
The Drug Policy Alliance’s top official is quoted saying Phelps is a normal 20-something and shouldn’t be punished for that:
“It’s not just that Michael Phelps did what millions of other twenty-somethings do,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s that he did what over one hundred million Americans have done at least once in their lives, including the president, former presidents, members of the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court.”
The issue has also popped up in in the mainstream press, perhaps best illustrated by a Reuters story in a New York Times article that questioned why Phelps was punished for smoking pot while Major League baseball star Alex Rodriguez only suffered an uncomfortable interview when his steroid use was discovered:
The American swimmer Phelps, 23, won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Games last summer but lost an endorsement deal with U.S. food giant Kellogg Co after a British newspaper published a picture of the Olympic champion apparently smoking marijuana.
USA Swimming then suspended him for three months.
Rodriguez, 33, the highest paid player in baseball, admitted to ESPN television on Monday that he took a banned substance from 2001 to 2003 after Sports Illustrated reported he tested positive for testosterone and the anabolic steroid Primobolanin 2003.
He escapes sanctions from Major League baseball because it did not punish players at that time for using steroids.
“We should leave Michael Phelps alone. He’s a kid. So he made a mistake. He owned up to it right away — as opposed to A-Rod, whose been lying about it for a number of years,” said Deborah Cohn, professor of marketing at New York’s Touro College.
But as ever, the most persuasive commentary that argues Kellogg’s actions might be a touch ridiculous comes from funny people, who’ve pointed out that there may very well be a real connection between marijuana use and cereal sales. From the Huffington Post:
On Saturday Night Live, Seth Myers questioned whether marijuana use was in fact at odds with Kellogg’s image.
“Every one of your mascots is a wild-eyed cartoon character with uncontrollable munchies,” Myers said. “Every one of your products sounds like a wish a genie granted at a Phish concert.”
On the Huffington Post, blogger Lee Stranahan pursued that theme in a proposed petition to the company that said in part, “We believe that most people over the age of 12 would not eat Kellogg’s products were they not wicked high.”
Stranahan’s petition concluded with this call-to-arms:
“Given all these facts and the total disregard for your customer base … we the undersigned plan to BOYCOTT your products. And we’re serious. Even though the Pop Tarts thing will be HARD.”