Michael Phelps Jumps Back Into Endorsement Pool

First new sponsorship deal since bong photos emerged

The endorsement cloud created by photos of Michael Phelps smoking marijuana seems to be clearing. The swimmer will announce a partnership with H2O audio on Tuesday which will make him a spokesman for the company's line of waterproof headphones and music accessories. 

The partnership seems to have a lot of crossover appeal. For serious swimmers, the fact that they can work out while listening to tunes is appealing. Phelps said he uses the company's products during his workouts, and what competitive swimmer wouldn't want to be like Phelps? 

The recreational marijuana user can also get something out of the deal. One of the biggest problems faced by that demographic was how to listen to your favorite jam band while diving after shiny things at the bottom of the pool. Now that problem is solved. As an added bonus, Phelps' goofy facial hair makes it even easier for the stoner to play Olympic champion.

We kid, we kid. It's actually encouraging to see Phelps returning to the good graces of corporate America after he was pilloried for acting like a 23-year-old this winter. It will be interesting to see if companies with a larger profile than H2O start jumping back on the Phelps bandwagon again. If they don't do so immediately, you'd imagine that they will as the 2012 Olympics start getting closer. Makes you wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place.  

That's not meant to pat him on the back for using an illegal drug, but more of an admission that there are plenty of people smoke marijuana in their early 20's without hurting their future career. Phelps suffered more than a lot of those people, and didn't deserve a lot of the damning coverage he received.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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