BEIJING (AP) — Olympic multiple gold medal winner, Michael Phelps apologized to Chinese fans for what he called his “regrettable behavior” after being photographed using a marijuana pipe,
Phelps, 23, and his representatives have not disputed the photo’s accuracy. Phelps has issued a public apology, acknowledging “regrettable” behavior and “bad judgment” after the photo appeared. USA Swimming has suspended Phelps for three months and the Kellogg Co. has cut ties with him, although other sponsors are sticking with the swimmer
Phelps spoke via the Internet on a video that appeared on Chinese-language Web sites. Phelps recorded the Internet video for automaker Mazda. Mazda is reported to be paying Phelps more than $1 million to endorse the car brand in China.
Last month Phelps was back in Beijing —where he won all of his eight gold medals — to do commercials and endorsements for the automaker Mazda.
Like most of his major sponsors, Mazda is apparently sticking with Phelps as a spokesman. However, the Kellogg Co. has cut ties with Phelps, saying it had made a business decision not to extend his endorsement contract. The cereal and snack maker said Phelps’ behavior was “not consistent with the image of Kellogg.”
Chinese papers have followed the Phelps controversy closely, dubbing it “marijuana gate.”
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.