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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Nobody’s perfect, not even Michael Phelps”

    There’s no one more apathetic about sports, much less the Olympics, than me. At 20 years old, I still don’t understand the rules of baseball or most group sports. Whenever the crowd screams after something happens during Wildcat football games, I shamelessly ask the person beside me, “”Is that good?!””

    Because I’m generally repulsed by organized sports and the world’s obsession with the Olympics, I’m shocked to be writing about Michael Phelps, an Olympic swimmer who was recently publicly disgraced for allegedly smoking marijuana from a bong at a University of South Carolina party. Before the media went crazy over the champion’s careless, illegal move, I was avoiding the Michael Phelps fan base, but the widespread reaction was too bizarre to ignore:

    “”He should have known better.””

    “”He just destroyed his reputation.””

    “”What an idiot.””

    According to a Feb. 17 Associated Press article, Phelps will not face pot penalties, but he’ll never live down this specific instance of bad judgment. Forget that he won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games and fourteen gold medals total. He broke the law; he’s a bad person. How dare he use bad judgment?

    Even after Phelps maturely admitted his wrongdoing, the public continued to punish him, wanting him to endlessly repent. He put his career at stake, and he was nearly insane to blow his fame and recognition for the sake of getting stoned in public. But Phelps said he was sorry for disappointing everyone. Unlike those with annoying pride issues, Phelps didn’t justify his behavior or say he deserved to smoke weed after working himself sick in the Olympics. He made no excuses for his behavior, and when someone courageously takes this defeatist stance, he should be pardoned. What else is there left for Phelps to do? He can’t take back his actions, so is it really necessary to punish Phelps forever?

    This unforgiving attitude is not limited to Michael Phelps, but it’s simply easier for him to be a victim of the blood-sucking, relentless public that loves to see the successful people of the world fail and make bad choices. Far too often, the self-righteous public thrives off the misfortunes and mishaps of others. Why else are tabloids like US Weekly, People and OK! so popular?

    At the Safeway checkout line, any insecure woman can relax as she glances at one of these magazines, which blast the celebrity with the most recent and obvious weight gain. Currently, that woman is Jessica Simpson, and the National Enquirer just reported her “”nervous eating habits”” while other journalists have speculated a possible pregnancy. This singer once suffered bulimia, and because she no longer maintains her emaciated, withering figure, she’s criticized.

    Is this the way we want to treat vulnerable people, as well as those who make mistakes? Why are celebrities faulted more than regular citizens of the world, anyway? Celebrities like Jessica Simpson and even Michael Phelps may be known for exceptionally attractive aesthetics, but this doesn’t make them any less human, or capable of moments of weakness at that.

    This is not to say I worship anyone in the entertainment business, but I notice a real trend of hypocrisy in the way celebrities and regular people are viewed for making similar mistakes. Though I feel celebrities get more blame than we do for the same wrongdoings, we are still battered for imperfection.

    The Internet is terrifying. Many aware college students walk on eggshells before posting potentially inappropriate material online. “”Inappropriate”” can mean anything from obscenities or curse words to flaunting scandalous photos on MySpace. Though most people swear on occasion and drink before reaching 21 years of age, it’s viewed as highly irresponsible to put anything slightly revealing on the Internet. It reflects poor judgment, sure, but aren’t we all guilty of doing stupid things without any explanation?

    We’ve always been advised to learn from our mistakes, but more importantly, we’ve been told to forgive others. This doesn’t happen as often as it should. Instead of obliterating those who blunder, move on and remember that nobody’s perfect -ÿnot even phenomenal Michael Phelps, beautiful Jessica Simpson, or you.

    ð-ÿLaura Donovan is a creative writing junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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