Michael Phelps suspended; loses endorsement deal
Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, who was photographed smoking marijuana using a bong pipe, has lost a major endorsement deal and has been suspended from competition for three months by USA Swimming.
Cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s has announced that it will not renew its sponsorship deal with Phelps which expires at the end of February.
But according to The Associated Press, most of his major sponsors, such as Visa, Speedo, Omega, and PureSports, stood by him following the news, even if they didn’t condone his behavior.
Phelps, estimated to make millions of dollars annually from marketing deals, issued an apology this week after a British tabloid published a photo allegedly showing him smoking pot.
USA Swimming also cut off its financial support to Phelps for the same three-month period, effective immediately. The swimmer receives a monthly stipend of $1,750 from the sport’s national governing body.
“We decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and hero,” the organization said in a statement.
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