Michael Phelps

Marketers: For Phelps, after 2nd offense, saying ‘sorry’ isn’t good enough

Daily Record Business Writer
February 2, 2009 6:12 PM

With Olympian Michael Phelps’ image in question, some sports marketers are criticizing what they say is the tepid way his management team has handled the situation and are warning that his endorsement deals with family-oriented brands may be in danger.

“Just saying you’re sorry isn’t good enough now,” Baltimore-based marketer David Warschawski said of the statement Phelps issued Sunday after a British tabloid published a photo of Phelps inhaling marijuana from a bong.

Phelps’ apology, issued by his management firm Octagon and published on his Facebook Web page, acknowledged he had “engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment” and said it would not happen again.

But since Sunday afternoon, Phelps and his team have stayed silent. That’s not a good move, said Warschawski, because it allows public speculation to continue.

“Part of crisis communications is owning it and being out in front of it — all they did was issue off a paltry and small statement that wasn’t that different from the first time around,” he said, referring to a statement Phelps issued in 2004 after he was charged with driving under the influence.