Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, 29, took to Twitter on Oct. 5 to announce that he’s been having a rough time following his Sept. 30 arrest for DUI in Baltimore, and that he’s entering rehab. TMZ reported that this recent arrest was Phelps’ second DUI arrest in the last ten years and quoted Phelps as tweeting: “The past few days have been extremely difficult.”
WBAL-TV in Baltimore reported a representative for Phelps as sharing that the most decorated Olympian of all time has entered a “six-week in-patient program.” The location of the rehab facility has not been disclosed.
Phelps was arrested in the early morning hours of Sept. 30 in Baltimore City and charged with DUI, according to CNN. Phelps was busted around 1:40 a.m. after a Maryland Transportation Authority police officer manning a radar check clocked him driving 84 mph in a 45-mph zone. Phelps was arrested and then charged with DUI, “excessive speed and crossing double lane lines within the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95 in Baltimore.” He was released later the same day.
The MTA officer first clocked Phelps’s Land Rover when the swimming champion was speeding on I-395 southbound. “The officer followed the vehicle onto northbound I-95, through the tunnel and stopped the Land Rover just beyond the tunnel’s toll plaza.” The arresting officer said that Phelps “appeared to be under the influence,” and that he failed a field sobriety test. Phelps reportedly had a blood alcohol content over twice the legal limit.
After posting to his Twitter account that he’s been having a rough time of it lately, Phelps also tweeted “I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself.” Phelps’ first DUI occurred back in 2004 when he was only 19 years old. He received 18 months’ probation after being arrested for drunken driving during his teen years. The rest of Phelps’ Sunday tweet appears below.
“Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.
I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.”
In addition to drinking and driving, Phelps might also have an issue with gambling. In a separate report, TMZ reported that prior to Phelps getting behind the wheel on the morning of Sept. 30, he had just finished up an 8-hour marathon gambling session at Baltimore City’s newest casino, The Horseshoe Casino.
Phelps arrived at the Horseshoe around 5 p.m. on Monday and played poker in a private VIP suite until leaving the establishment around 1 a.m. Sources told TMZ that Phelps’ drink of choice was beer, and that he’s been a regular at the Horseshoe since it first opened in late August.
Entering rehab should not only prove beneficial for Phelps’ general health and wealth-being, but is a wise move on his part legally and financially. The judge overseeing his upcoming DUI court date on Nov. 19 will most likely look favorably upon the Olympian’s decision to seek professional help. And as far as his corporate sponsors and partners, public relations expert John Maroon of Maroon PR was quoted by WBAL-TV as saying:
“I think, in some ways, this almost forces their hand to stay with him because he’s saying, ‘I have a bit of a problem, I’m working through it.’
They have to stick with him or they come off as very cold-hearted.”
Following his Sept. 30 DUI, Phelps released a statement saying in part: “I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I know these words may not have much meaning right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.” For more on Phelps’ decision to enter rehab, see the video accompanying this article.