Cause and effect. Michael Phelps has been suspended from USA Swimming, after being arrested and charged for driving under the influence last Tuesday, Sept. 30.
The organization's Executive Director Chuck Wielgus released a statement to Us Weekly on Monday, Oct. 6, regarding the Olympian's second DUI arrest. "Membership in USA Swimming, and particularly at the National Team level, includes a clear obligation to adhere to our Code of Conduct," said Wielgus. "Should an infraction occur, it is our responsibility to take appropriate action based on the individual case. Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant consequences."
Phelps' violation resulted in disciplinary consequences previously stated in the organization's 2014 Rule Book, which makes it clear to athletes to be good examples to the public. "Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming."
Indeed, the 22-time medalist, 29, took to Twitter on Sunday, Oct. 5, to express remorse about his actions and share with fans that he was seeking help. "The past few days have been extremely difficult," Phelps wrote. "I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself. I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself. Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future."
Wielgus also made note of Phelps' tweets from the previous day in his statement Monday. "Michael has publicly acknowledged the impact of his decisions, his accountability especially due to his stature in the sport and the steps necessary for self-improvement," the exec said. "We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions."
Phelps was booked in Maryland last week after Baltimore police clocked him driving nearly 40 miles over the speed limit and crossing double lane lines, all while under the influence. In a statement released to Us Weekly the day after his arrest, Phelps said: "I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down."
The star swimmer, in addition to his six-month suspension, will have to withdraw from the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships held in Russia next August. Phelps will also have to forfeit payments of his monthly stipend from USA Swimming during his suspension period.
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