Michael Phelps , addict – that’s what some are saying. We have reached a point where none of us are really surprised when we learn that a pro athlete has developed some sort of problem with alcohol, drugs, or gambling. After all, these are people with a large amount of disposable income, not to mention a good deal of free time on their hands, especially during the off-season.
What is surprising is when the same charges are leveled at Olympians. We still have the belief that their image is squeaky clean, and that they don’t make the sort of money that the pros do. There are some, though, that make huge endorsement money, with swimmer Michael Phelps being among the highest earners.
Still, people were more than a little surprised to learn that he has been stopped and charged with DUI earlier this month. What was even more surprising was learning that this was actually his second such charge, with his first one coming at the age of 19.
The fact that there were 10 years between the charges may lead people to believe that addiction is not an issue for Phelps, but there have been some signs along the way that may make his trip to rehab seem a little less surprising.
While Michael Phelps may have been suspended by Swimming USA after the charges were laid, this is not the first time he has been exiled from the sport. The previous time came back in 2009, and it was at that time that Phelps took a little leave of absence of his own choosing.
Photos had been released with Phelps taking a hit from a bong that was alleged to have contained marijuana. He did admit to smoking weed, and said that he needed time away to get his life in order. While marijuana may not be the most offensive drug out there, it still isn’t legal, and it’s not the type of thing that kids should be seeing from the athletes they idolize.
There were further issues to come for Phelps in 2012, although these were more to do with rumor than anything else. The stories back then were alleged to come from concerned friends who believed that Phelps was blowing his fortune on poker.
Phelps was questioned about his love of poker years beforehand, but said playing had more to do with unwinding than it did with the competitive nature of the game. Fast forward a few years later, and the stories from friends say that the competitive side overtook the fun side, leading to bigger amounts being wagered and lost.
Taken individually, these stories may not seem like too big of a deal, but when you take alcohol, drugs, and gambling and attribute them all to the same person, you get the sense that addiction may indeed be an issue for Michael Phelps. His moving into rehab may be more to do with placating his sponsors than anything else, but we can only hope that whatever the case may be, he is able to get his life in order.