Kellogg's Drops Michael Phelps over Bong Photo
updated 02/05/2009 AT 10:40 PM EST
•originally published 02/05/2009 AT 08:20 PM EST
So says Kellogg in not pursuing a new contract with Michael Phelps as a corn flakes spokesman after a photo showed him apparently smoking a marijuana pipe.
"We originally built the relationship with Michael, as well as the other Olympic athletes, to support our association with the U.S. Olympic team," a company spokeswoman says in a statement. "Michael's most recent behavior is not consistent with the image of Kellogg. His contract expires at the end of February and we have made a decision not to extend his contract."
Phelps also was suspended from competition and denied financial support for three months by USA Swimming, the sport's national governing body.
"This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero," the federation says in a statement. "Michael has voluntarily accepted this reprimand and has committed to earn back our trust."
The 23-year-old all-time Olympic swimming champ with eight gold medals last summer has apologized. His rep said Thursday the swimmer "accepts these decisions and understands their point of view."
"He feels bad he let anyone down," the rep says. "He's also encouraged by the thousands of comments he's received from his fans and the support from his many sponsors. He intends to work hard to regain everyone's trust."
Phelps's other sponsors, including Speedo, Omega watch and Visa, have stuck by him.