The deal has earned Phelps harsh criticism from some doctors, such as nutritionist Rebecca Solomon of Mount Sanai Medical Center. In a Daily News article posted this morning, Solomon said, "I would not consider Frosted Flakes the food of an Olympian."
That's the understatement of the day. I would consider Frosted Flakes to be the food of a generation of obese, diabetic, ADHD kids who need real role models they can follow, not sellout junk food promoters who trade fame for unethical profits.
Does Phelps have the right to promote Frosted Flakes? He has the legal right, sure, but given his considerable notoriety, he has the moral obligation to more carefully consider the consequences of his endorsements. Still, to expect a junk-food-eating 23-year-old to understand nutrition and ethics may be asking a bit too much, but it's not exactly rocket science to understand that processed sugar promotes obesity.
Michael "Sellout" PhelpsIn my view, by endorsing Frosted Flakes cereal, Michael Phelps has gone from a Super Olympian to a Super Sellout. He has now proven himself no different than anybody else who pushes unhealthy substances to American kids, other than the fact he can swim really fast. Why couldn't Phelps have sought out a superfood company to endorse instead? Or at least a healthy food product? (Answer: Because cereal companies operate on much higher markups and have a lot more money to burn on celebrity endorsements.)
Alchemists say you can't turn lead into gold, but with this Kellogg's deal, Phelps has done something even more amazing: He's turned gold into fool's gold, because sugared-up corn flakes is not the breakfast of champions; it's the breakfast of fools.
Continuing the destructive alchemy, Phelps has also transformed himself from a likeable champion to a corporate-sponsored jerk who puts his own profits ahead of the welfare of his millions of fans. While his fans get fat, Phelps gets rich. But money can't buy back the lost opportunity to have a positive influence on our nation's youth.
There may be a day when Phelps realizes his error in judgment. When his swimming career is over, if he's still eating and promoting junk foods, he will join his many fans in experiencing the onset of diabetes and obesity, and he'll come to realize that processed, genetically-modified sugar is simply not the breakfast of champions. It is the breakfast of an over-fed, under-nourished, sugared-up generation of fat kids who are being put on dangerous medications to treat diseases caused by poor nutritional habits. Way to go, Phelps!
I find it fascinating that the Olympics Committee has nothing to say about all this. They have such strict rules about athletes' behavior during the event. If you insult your fellow athletes, you can be stripped of your medals. But if you insult the intelligence of your fans, that's considered business as usual, apparently.
None of this, by the way, takes away from the fact that Phelps really did earn eight gold medals. He is a fantastic swimmer, but he's a lousy role model. And that's sad, because he could have been a true champion on a whole new level by promoting healthful foods, green products and socially-responsible organizations.
Swimmer Dana Torres, by comparison, is powered by superfoods (LivingFuel) and healthy habits. She's an astonishing 41 years old and still earned two silver medals. In my view, Dana is the far greater champion.