Michael Phelps looking at charges for bong photo

February 4th, 2009 // 150 Comments

After a photo of him smoking a bong was published in News of the World, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has since apologized for his actions at a November party at University of South Carolina. He’s also sparked a nationwide debate on the legality of marijuana except in Columbia, S.C. where Sheriff Leon Lott Jr. is looking to make a bust for them fancy newspaper pages. People reports:

“If someone breaks the law in Richland County, we have an obligation as law enforcement to investigate and to bring charges,” the statement said. “The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is making an effort to determine if Mr. Phelps broke the law. If he did, he will be charged in the same manner as anyone else. The Sheriff has a responsibility to be fair, to enforce the law and to not turn a blind eye because someone is a celebrity.”

Not that I’m suggesting a celebrity deserves special treatment, but it’s also a responsibility of the Sheriff to prosecute murderers, rapists, pedophiles and domestic abusers. But apparently Richland County has none of those. Who knew?

Photos: Getty

  1. Why do hillbilly sheriffs have to suck so bad? Why can’t they be cool, like abusive city cops?

  2. Why do hillbilly sheriffs have to suck so bad? Why can’t they be cool, like abusive city cops?

  3. Freebie

    So he took a hit on a bong. Big Deal. I’m a professional in my 60′s and still smoke weed – as do many of my family and friends. Its about time weed is legalized in this country. Its far less damaging than alcohol. I’d rather be stoned or be with a person who is stoned than be with a person who is drunk anytime.

  4. Lucy

    what I find so offensive about this photo is that someone, possibly partying with Phelps, took this picture and sold him out for some big bucks.

  5. Lucy

    what I find so offensive about this photo is that someone, possibly partying with Phelps, took this picture and sold him out for some big bucks.

  6. Um, I’d like to know what they plan on charging him for? Certainly not possession off of a picture. And the paraphernalia wasn’t even his so it couldn’t be that. Maybe this backwoods sheriff should learn the law.


  7. Um, I’d like to know what they plan on charging him for? Certainly not possession off of a picture. And the paraphernalia wasn’t even his so it couldn’t be that. Maybe this backwoods sheriff should learn the law.


  8. Right Fury

    Maybe cash for scrap gold will endorse now that no one else will.

    “I got 10,000 for my scrap gold!!!!!!”

    On a side note, dope is for dopes, just say no to drugs.

    On another side note, How much you wanna bet there is not one post about all the TAX EVADING CRIMINALS obama has tried to appoint. Just sayin’

  9. Cops are so stupid. Obviously they have nothing better to do…

  10. Milissa

    Smoke it up Phelps!

  11. Jadedkitten

    ffs what are they going to charge him on holding a bong cause a pix of u smoking pot isn’t illegal

  12. Sgt. C. Foxtrot


    So pictures of you committing a crime shouldn’t be usable as evidence in court?


  13. Minty

    wow, retarded. Leave the guy alone

  14. Cam

    It’s not like anyone couldn’t tell he’s a stoner,…I mean look at the guy, the only reason he swims so fast is because they keep a nice fattie at either end of the pool.

  15. Mr.Anderson

    I can picture it now: The fat, sweaty sheriff, beaming with joy because he can finally now perhaps be famous for something. Like figuring out whether Michael Phelps smoked weed or not.

    Fucking idiots. Sometimes the world makes me so angry…

  16. Deacon Jones

    I guarantee this sheriff is a hardcore Republican that molests boys on the side.

    The more tight assed they are, the harder theyre trying to keep a skeleton in the closet.

  17. Raoul Duke's 357


    Pictures of someone committing a crime can be used in court — if they definitively show that a crime is being committed. In this case, a picture can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it’s really weed in there or something else (even though we all know what it was). The case is actually hinging on Phelps apology, which the sheriff is taking as a tacit confession of guilt. Nothing a decent lawyer shouldn’t be able to dance around though.

  18. WeirdLogicThereFish

    Hey Fish, what a lame analysis. The statement says the Sheriff files charges against law violators in general. If some guy is caught on picture or tape murdering someone, and he subesequently admits to be the person on tape, the sheriff will act on the matter no less.

    @6: he can be charged of illegal use of dangerous drugs. And actually, considering that he admitted to be the guy in the pic smoking bong, he may be prosecuted for possession also, which no doubt carries a graver penalty.

    Marijuana is at present an illegal drug. Even if it is subesequently legalized, i doubt it would retroact to untangle Phelps from a prosecution of the act he ALREADY committed. this guy’s in deep shit.

  19. Raoul Duke's 357

    Oh and #14: lol, good one.

  20. Gee

    Yes, he smoked pot. Not a good decision considering millions of kids look up to this guy, but he is a young and you have to have a little fun. He apologized to the public showing he is owning up to it. So why can’t we put this behind.
    If the cops were sent pictures of normal people doing bongs would they be wasting there time running around to press charges on these people? I think not!

    I’ve never smoked pot myself but can bongs be used for tobacco? (sorry if that’s a dumb question)

  21. ejc


    yeah you can use bongs for tobacco, in fact you usually mix a little tobacco into the weed to help it burn better.

    i’ve never seen anyone use a bong to smoke tobacco though, not counting those times we’ve been so low on weed every cone has been like a 80:20 tobacco:weed ratio ;)

  22. Anna

    Phelps will never see a courtroom. His attorneys will take care of it and he will probably get a slap and a fine, but that’s about it. Poor guy. Lets his hair down and parties it up with some normal folk and this is what he gets. There is a reason that celebrities travel in their own circles. He just had to learn the hard way.

  23. Uncle Eccoli

    @18 You’re an idiot. There’s no way to prove what’s in the pipe. #17 is correct.

  24. Jaffo

    This is absolutely retarded. Yeah, good luck proving there was marijuana in that bong. Basically, in order to nail Mikey for a basic possession charge, Sheriff Beuford T. Justice, a/k/a the dipshit who actually spoke to the media, would have to go and find all of the people were there, get them to agree to testify, and then get that testimony to hold up in court. All for about a one hundred fifty dollar fine. Yeah. That’s going to happen. Long story short: Even Historic Olympians get baked…and are dumb enough to be photghraphed doing so.

  25. Deacon Jones


    I guarantee you’re a resentful housewife.


  26. kingofbeer

    Cops let people off for smoking ALL THE TIME. any music event the cops pretty much ignore all the weed smoking going on.

    they need to just legalize it, this is stupid to prosecute people for this, it’s a waste of our tax money.

  27. AteIsEnough

    I don’t smoke weed, don’t want to…but I know A hell of a lot of PROFESSIONALS that do! Want to fix the deficit? Legalize, manage and tax pot – like smokes and booze. Done…fixed. People are happy, government is happy, and obviously the tolkers are happy. Bad of Phelps to get caught on camera making a bad decision. Kick the shit out of the person ignorant enough to have snapped the shot and “leak” it…and then leave the kid alone Officer Kletus, and tell Boss Hog to quite eating raw liver…that’s just not right!! ha-ha! BFD!

  28. Jaffo

    And yes, poster #18 is an idiot…Mikey didn’t admit to anything other than being stupid. And as another poster already noted, good luck proving there was marijuana in that pipe. All of your witnesses would be KILLED on cross over their credibility.

  29. NipTuck

    legalize it.

    my god.

  30. tc

    @15 He’s not a fat sweaty guy at all and is in fact a good sheriff here. He’s been responsible for reducing gang activity here by a large margin.

    I live here in Columbia, SC (originally from Atlanta) and Lott has a good reputation as sheriff for being fair. Those comments he made were like prompted by someone pushing this other than Lott. It’s small potatoes really and with USC here pot smoking isnt that rare of an occurrence.

    Im guessing the state AG is behind it. Not everyone in the south is an ignorant moron. But im in agreement with the thought that if you break the law (regardless of whether you think the law is right or not) you’ll have to face the music for it. Certainly some laws deserve civil disobedience (making black people sit in the back of a bus for example) but even then those who changed the law’s by breaking them ended up being penalized for it to some extent. I dont think Phelps was taking a stand on the legalization issue though. I think he was just having a good time with people he probably didnt know well and got sold out. Sleep with dogs and all that.

    I think legally Phelps has little to worry about but career/endorsement wise he’s done far more damage there.

  31. God

    Fish, you need to fix your setup. There are more double and triple posts on your site than kids in Angelina’s house. Love the site, but maybe needs an upgrade somewhere.

  32. Clownshoes the Clown

    I dunno, I liked Scarlett’s boobs better.

  33. CMS2004


    While we’re at it, why not make murder legal? ‘Cause those criminals are “otherwise law-abiding citizens,” right? The only law they broke was to kill someone! Sorry, but the “lots of people do it” defense just doesn’t fly.

    Whether or not pot SHOULD be legal is irrelevant. As of right now, it is an ILLEGAL substance. Michael Phelps, America’s wierd-looking, fast-swimming, gold-medal-winning sweetheart, broke the law. End of story.

    Now, will he get any punishment other than a slap on the wrist and maybe a few lost endorsement deals? Probably not. THAT’S the true crime here — as we’ve learned from The One and even Bush, the same rules don’t apply to everyone. Bush had a DUI, still became president. Barry snorted coke, still became president. Geithner cheated on his taxes, still was appointed to the cabinet. Only poor schmoes like us have to actually worry about CONSEQUENCES.

  34. DocWills

    Shit, I would just say its tobacco. Prove it isnt. Also how can they prove it was taken in SC? He may have fucked himself by apologizing and saying the photo was him. So basically they are saying that holding a bong is illegal, I dont see smoke and I dont see him lighting it.

  35. Aero

    I never quite understood why someone who is as badass as Michael Phelps just doesn’t say:

    “Oh, have you won a gold medal?…oh….what?! No! that’s what I thought Porky- shut the fuck up! I’m superfly TNT! I’m an atom bomb laying mother fucker, mother fucker!”

    I think Phelps should just say “eat a dick” and risk the medals seeing as how he won the shit anyways..instead of this gee-whiz my high was terrible along with the slight buzz from the alcohol, weed is bad for kids bullcrap.

    It obviously goes on at that school, yeah? Maybe the local swine can do a once through the fraternity culdasack?

  36. Schadenfreudelicious

    Who the f*ck cares if the guy took a few hits off the bong…one look at the guy and his accomplishments tells me he has spent his life in a stoner stupor stuffin Doritos in his face and looking for the next kegger…get over it already……your not gonna kick the world’s collective asses in the pool stoned…so cut the guy some slack…well he prolly could kick the worlds asses stoned out of his mind, but thats not really the point now is it?…

  37. Amanda

    Um, my brother was robbed at gunpoint in Columbia, SC, one evening this past December, as he was walking home. He was able to track down the man who robbed him (supported by hard evidence), and provided this information to the police. In addition to the armed robbery charges, there is potential for a charge along the lines of trading child pornography, thanks to a topless photo sent by a minor to my brother’s phone, which was in the robber’s possession at the time (presumably it’s a pic of his underage girlfriend). To date, no arrests have been made. It amazes me that the Columbia police department is unable to arrest the gunman, but is totally willing to waste its time on an alleged celebrity bong hit. Good job guys.

  38. Well at least his endorsements are still all going just swimmingly…

    What? Fuck you… you were thinking the same thing…

    #3 – Uhhh… in your 60′s? This isn’t the theshuffleboard.com…

  39. Jrz

    in the words of Gary Oldman in True Romance…..We got ourselves a muthafuckin Charlie Bronson….a croooooo-saduh!

    Fuck that fucking sheriff. He’s just trying to make an example out of him.

    Michael, don’t be so fucking stupid next time….do that shit in a bathroom with the door locked….JUST YOU! DUMB ASS!!!

  40. Jrz

    HAHA!! Seems like old times, Rich! Look what we did!!!

  41. Jadedkitten


  42. Danklin24

    If this sheriff is going to try and prosecute Phelps, he’s going to have to prosecute 90% of the college students at that party. The apology implied that the bong didnt belong to Phelps. Does the sheriff really think he was the only one doing it? Any judge worth their salt would laugh at this and bitch slap the sheriff for wasting his time. This cocksucker is trying to make an example out of Phelps. Theres one big problem there, actually two, it happened like 4 months ago and your only evidence is a fucking picture, and theres no way to prove what was in the bong. It could have been hookah for all we know.

  43. English Bob

    Smoking weed is the most heinous of crimes, according to U.S. and Brit governments, therefore Phelps should be stripped of his medals and banned for life from swimming. I’m being ironic of course, our fuckwit, non-elected leader has just pushed cannabis up to a class B drug, therefore possesion can lead to jail time. All this even though they spent a fortune on an independant researcher who told them that cannabis wasn’t as harmfull as all thought, they chose to ignore this advice anyway… Was it George Washington who proclaimed that everyone in the U.S. should grow cannabis/hemp for the better of the country? Then you’ve got that other fucking retard George Porgy Bush telling people cannabis is the fruit of the devil. I know who i’d rather believe.

  44. J

    Fuck this, how about the phelps comercial for pot. Seeing the most decorated athleet blowing bongs dosent quite jive with what the sysetem tries to make us believe about pot. Fuck the kids… how about showing them that you can smoke pot and not end up like a complete looser living in your parents basement…. ya know .. the truth

  45. Jeff

    Hey @12, no, a picture does not is not acceptable evidence in court. You are not smart. How are they going to prove that bong has weed in it? You do know there are dorks out there who smoke tobacco out of a pipe. Wow, you are stupid.

  46. Legalize It!

    The D.C. City Council simply does not care for these “youths,” on the street, smoking their marijuanas.

    Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander wants to ban the sale of cheap, small cigars, usually filled with flavored tobacco, that you always see at 7-Elevens and gas stations. They are called “blunts.” And according to Alexander, the tobacco within this is all taken out and filled with “cannabis.” The youths smoke these monster sticks to get high, which makes them go crazy, grab their automatic weapons, and kill all humans and animals within a 500-yard radius.

    All of America’s children are doing this.

    (Because of the Internet.)

    According to the Washington Post, “Alexander said ‘it’s no secret’ that the honey, apple and cherry-flavored cigars are bought and then stuffed with marijuana, often by young people.” Indeed, this is not a secret. Another non-secret is that sometimes apples themselves are converted into marijauna-smoking devices. As of the writing of this article, apples remain legal.

    The Washington Times, however, offers Alexander’s full — and much more severe — quote:

    “It’s no secret that these products are used for the sole purpose of smoking marijuana,” said Miss Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, who proposed the legislation. “If we are serious about fighting drugs in our communities, we must sponsor this measure.”
    And with this one bill under consideration, the council could very well get rid of Washington’s entire marijuana supply, forever.

  47. Jeff

    I guess i was redundant, after reading all posts, but @23 and @19 are right, @18 is an idiot. It is amazing to me how some people in this country think. “Illegal use of dangerous drugs”–hahahaha. That totally sounds like the official charge–hahahaha. And then they are also gonna get him for possession, WTF? You realize that possession inherently requires being in, oh I don’t know, POSSESSION! Because i touched cocaine once 5 years ago does not mean that dumbfuck, USA sheriff can arrest me for possession now. Seriously, stop talking to people about stuff, they think you are stupid, trust me.

    p.s. Oh Shit! i just admitted to illegally touching dangerous drugs. I am outta here…

  48. Jaffo

    Um…how exactly would getting rid of blunts eliminate DC’s marijuana supply forever?!

  49. Jeff

    i meant @23 and @24, not @18. hey @18, that was not a good one, it was quite stupid actually. yeah, he swims fast because they keep a ‘fattie’ at either end. wow, that is some seriously un-clever/you are actually retarded shit.

  50. Tokey

    As a medical marijuana patient out here in lovely California, I’d just like to say GODDAMN THIS SHIT IS FUCKING RETARDED. The rest of the country really needs to get with it and legalize it.

    That maroon sheriff must be taking his hits off the crack pipe (in between the moonshine and donuts, of course) if he thinks he can get charges to stick, and even if he could, for what? So his name can be in the news? Attention whore piggy piggy! When I get home from work today, I’m lighting up just for you, Leon re-re Lott pigfucker Jr.

    PS, @18, “dangerous drugs”?!? Really?!? You cunty troll.

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