MILWAUKEE - Another of Olympian Michael Phelps’s big-name sponsors — credit-payment processor Visa Inc. — said Tuesday that it supports the swimming sensation despite the publication of a photograph of him inhaling from a marijuana pipe.
“We have spoken with Michael, and he has expressed regret for the situation, has committed to being accountable and improving his judgment in the future,” Visa said. “We intend to support him as he looks to move forward.”
The 23-year-old, whose performance at the Beijing Olympics netted him a record eight gold medals and predictions of lucrative sponsorships, apologized for his “regrettable” behavior and “bad judgment” after the photo appeared Sunday in the British tabloid News of the World.
On Monday, sponsors including apparel company Speedo, luxury Swiss watchmaker Omega and sports beverage PureSport’s maker Human Performance Labs also said they stand behind the athlete, even if they don’t condone his behavior.
Some of Phelps sponsors still weren’t commenting Tuesday. A spokeswoman at Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. said the cereal maker declined to comment. The company put Phelps on boxes of its Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes.
Phelps may not be in hot water with his sponsors but he may be facing other challenges.
Authorities in the South Carolina county where he was photographed smoking from a marijuana bong said Tuesday they are considering a criminal charge against him.
Phelps admits ‘regrettable behavior’
Feb. 2: Olympic medalist Michael Phelps has released a statement calling his behavior “regrettable.” Earlier this week photos surfaced of the swimmer holding what appears to be a marijuana pipe.
Phelps' 2008 Olympics
Take a look at how Michael Phelps became the most decorated gold medalist in Olympic history at the 2008 Beijing Games.
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