It’s tough being Michael Phelps. Despite the fame, the fortune and all that precious metal around your neck, you just can’t do the sorts of things that normal dudes in their mid-20’s do in this country every day: visit strip clubs, take bong hits at frat parties and star in weird, not-quite sexy ads for Louis Vuitton, famed French maker of very ugly, very expensive tote bags.
The alleged offense in this latest, mildest Phelps controversy concerns the act of making money before mommy Olympia says its OK. Olympics participants are legally forbidden from appearing in ads or other promotional events with any non-Olympic entities during a one-month period from July 18 to August 15. The punishment for related violations is somewhat severe: offending athletes may be required to relinquish their medals altogether. The games would almost definitely turn into an advertising orgy if this restriction weren’t in place, but how does it apply to Phelps?