Chris Brown batters his squeaky-clean R&B image. Michael Phelps smokes his all-American Olympic halo away.
How much should society punish these fallen heroes?
Mr. Phelps lost some serious income. His deal with a cereal company was canceled when a picture surfaced of the Olympic swimmer apparently smoking marijuana.
Mr. Brown, who was accused of assaulting his girlfriend, Rihanna, lost sponsor gigs with Wrigley and the "Got Milk" promotion.
Recently, Viacom, the parent company of Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards, declined to pull Chris Brown from its list of award nominees, a stark contrast from the slew of advertising deals terminated because of Mr. Phelps' and Mr. Brown's scandals.
Mr. Brown should be recognized for his music if his talent warrants it. He should not be punished for his personal mistakes in unrelated ways.
Mr. Brown should, however, be ashamed for forgetting that impressionable children listen not only to his music but to his message.
He does not have to be perfect, but he needs to know how to correct his mistakes and seek help when needed.
Luckily, he has seemed to see the negative consequences of his presence at the awards and dropped out of the nomination rounds.
Mr. Phelps, in the midst of perhaps a milder scandal, must have also forgotten that there are teen swimmers across America who aim to emulate his actions in and out of the pool.
Whether Mr. Brown and Mr. Phelps like it or not, they are heroes to many kids.
I'm sure Mr. Brown and Mr. Phelps once had heroes, too. Would either have gone half as far if his idols ended up being abusers or potheadsBy ?
Michael Ryan is a junior at Greenbrier High School.