He had a chance to change public perception.
I don’t actually blame him. The anti-pot crowd is entrenched so deeply in their delusions about the evil marijuana plant that you’d have to essentially sacrifice your reputation, your future, everything, unless you kowtow to their judgment.
Instead of apologizing, as reported in the general media, like this article from CNN, he might have said, “I smoked pot. It shouldn’t be illegal. You people have it completely backwards; instead of the pot-smoking reflecting on my gold medals, the gold medals reflect on my pot-smoking. You all say that pot smokers are shiftless losers, that it destroys your entire life, that it is the gateway to all that is damnable on this earth. BUT I WON EIGHT GOLD MEDALS. Idiots.”
Like I said, I can’t blame him. He’s young, handsome, has his whole life to win more medals and get more sponsors and rake in the loot. Why should he put himself on the chopping block just to try to end a moronic witch hunt.
It’s just disappointing, that’s all. If he’d been drinking a beer, which according to statistics as well as common sense wreaks FAR more social havoc and destroys many more lives than marijuana, no one would have blinked.
But partaking of the devil’s own herb? Tsk tsk. Bad times.
Don’t worry, buddy, they’ll forgive you. You’re America’s darling, and hey, even Clinton admitted to smoking pot. Just didn’t have a picture published of himself sucking the chamber dry, that’s all.
And maybe in its own pathetic way, your little faux-pas might bring the US closer to a saner drug policy, eventually. The advocates of legalization might be able to point back at you from the distant future, show the judge and jury how the medals around your neck were chiming merrily against the bong as you leaned over to take a big hit.
You could have been their hero, your framed portrait hung next to Marley in every dorm room, but this’ll have to do.