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Michael Phelps Apologizes to China?!

Posted by obitoddkenobi February 15, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Did anyone else see the article in Lede or hear the video?  I wondered how it was playing in China.  Looking at it from here, there just seemed to be not much sincerity behind Michael's appology.  Maybe its because the video that I saw is out of sync, but his mannerism just didn't suggest that he was appologetic to or inspired by his "so many Chinese fans".  Seemed like he was more interested in appeasing Mazda and keeping a lucrative contract.  Here is the beginning of the article and a link to the video and full article for those who can get it:

Mazda Has Michael Phelps Apologize to China

At the behest of a sponsor, Michael Phelps has recorded a video apology to the people of China, expressing his remorse over the recently published pictures of him using a marijuana pipe and thanking them for their support and forgiveness.

The 52-second video has been posted on several Web sites in China, and one major Chinese newspaper said the video had been sent directly from the Japanese auto company Mazda, which last month signed Phelps to an endorsement deal believed to be worth more than a million dollars. Phelps was signed to promote Mazda cars in China after his record-breaking eight-gold-medal performance at the Beijing Olympics last summer.

In the video, Phelps begins by saying, “To my Chinese friends,” and goes on to apologize for behavior that was “regrettable and not what people have come to expect from me.” Phelps’s words are subtitled in Chinese.

Phelps, 23, never specifically addresses what the picture captured, which was Phelps at a house party in South Carolina appearing to inhale from a marijuana pipe. After it was published in a British tabloid, the backlash has included a three-month suspension by USA Swimming and a police investigation. Another of Phelps’s sponsors, Kellogg, announced it would not renew his contract.

But Mazda apparently decided an apology to the Chinese would suffice. The company issued a statement saying it would continue its sponsorship of Phelps. “His expression of remorse and his determination to make amends, and especially his video apology and expression of thanks to the Chinese people, give us confidence that Phelps can make a healthy return to the pool and have even more brilliant achievements,” the statement said.

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