Phelps Apologizes to his Chinese Fans, Mazda Supports Him
That's exactly what Michael Phelps is trying to do after the recently published photos of him using a marijuana pipe. The winner of eight gold medals in swimming competitions at the last Olympics has recorded a video apology to the people of China, expressing his regret over the embarrassing situation, The New York Times has learned.
Following the controversial photos, the American swimmer lost one of its sponsors, Kellogg that announced it would not renew his contract. However, the Japanese auto company Mazda, which last month signed Phelps to an endorsement deal believed to be worth more than a million dollars, continues to support the Olympic champion.
“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,” a statement from Mazda said.
In fact, one major Chinese newspaper said the 51-second video where Phelps says he's sorry for his behavior had been sent directly from Mazda and posted on several Web sites in China.
For those who don't know, Phelps is a superstar in China and those photos disappointed his fans. In the video, Phelps begins by saying, “To my Chinese friends,” and continues to apologize for his behavior that was “regrettable and not what people have come to expect from me.” More importantly, Phelps’s words are subtitled in Chinese.