Imagine a country where people are sensible enough to believe smoking a little pot doesn't erase your life's accomplishments. Where taking a bong hit at a party doesn't make sponsors scream "Won't someone think of the children?" Where it's OK to be human. Who would've thought that country would be China?
Just last month Phelps signed the most lucrative sponsorship deal in Chinese history, promoting the struggling Mazda brand there. The swimmer won eight gold medals at last summer's Beijing games, rocketing him to instant celebrity in the country.
Since the bong photo emerged on January 31, Phelps has lost sponsorship deals with Kellogg's and Subway. Apparently neither brand saw the lucrative munchies potential of a pot-fueled image.
Now, DMG Entertainment, which inked the Mazda deal, has said the scandal "does not affect the deal. We don't condone what he has done, but this is not the time to turn our back on him. Ultimately it's what Michael does in the pool that counts." Wow, that makes a lot of sense.
We assume the Chinese will happily photoshop fireworks over any photos of Phelps with pot.