Reflections on Athletes and Their Scandals

Lance Armstrong and doping. Marion Jones and steroids. Tanya Harding and a lead pipe. Scandal seems to inevitably follow on the heels of—or, in some cases, preclude—gold medals. So it comes as no surprise that Michael Phelps, currently our quintessential gold medal-er and newest celebrity athelete, should be the next to have some murky information surface about his personal life.


Partially, its the intense scrutiny that develops around Olympians—you would have snapped a picture of Phelps' bong hit, too—but isn't there also some perverse desire on the part of the public to see our athletes fall from grace? After all, we do quite literally put them on pedestals.

So if we assume that Michael Phelps had to step into scandal sooner or later, shouldn't he be congratulated for navigating it so deftly? The blogosphere has already generated a slew of alarmist stories: alleged cover-ups, prosecution, medal-stripping, banishment from 2012. But the reality is that—beyond his three-month suspension and the loss of his Kellogg's contract—Phelps will be spared serious punishment. The tone of his post-scandal interviews says as much; Phelps knows he's the golden boy, and as long as he sticks to depressants and steers clear of performance-enhancers, he'll stay that way.

The only contingent to really suffer in this whole affair? Video-game playing, White Castle-eating stoners everywhere. Oh, and someone should tell Kellogg that cereal is a serious munchie.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
  • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
  • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
Keep reading Show less

Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
Keep reading Show less

Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
Keep reading Show less