NBC Erases Michael Phelps’s Father

US Politics
on 51 Comments

On NBC's Olympic coverage last night, Bob Costas told Michael Phelps's story of growing up outside Baltimore and focused on his mother Debbie in the stands. She was the emotional focus of the broadcast, outshining George Bush. The mini-documentary NBC aired described Debbie Phelps as a dedicated single mother and never  mentioned Phelps's father. According to this old article in the Baltimore Sun, Phelps's father Fred is a hardworking man whose marriage to Debbie broke up in 1993, when the boy was eight years old. Till then he ferried the kid around to sporting events along with his wife.

There's too much shame in our culture for men who get divorced. I don't know why the Phelps parents broke up, I bet Bob Costas doesn't know. Fred Phelps surely deserves some of the credit for his son's phenomenal success. But there's no honor for him.

As there is none for John Edwards because he had an affair. But it was John Edwards who introduced economic fairness issues into this campaign, and had the most to say in the first few months of the campaign. Whatever he did with Rielle Hunter doesn't take away from his achievement this spring. His entire portion now is shame–that and a lot of psychobabble he is induced to regurgitate to explain the fact that he felt attracted to a woman. And a public stoning is now taking place, led by people who have no idea what John and Elizabeth Edwards's "home life," to use the old expression, consists of, let alone the understandings they have reached in a long and at times painful marriage (they lost a son), let alone a respect for what is private, personal human. Shame on the shamers. And don't start up about the money. It's always sordid, isn't it? We saw the same narrative with Spitzer: men are good, until they're evil. 

51 Responses

  1. otto
    August 10, 2008, 11:12 am

    Mondoweiss marriage blogging!

  2. MRW.
    August 10, 2008, 11:31 am

    Thank you for a sane and kind post. Your writing and musings, for me, are a welcome antidote to the melodramatic cast of mind of most Americans who indulge in dipolar perceptions of life and feel justified and supported by society in doing so.

    'You're either good or evil'. 'With us or against us'. 'My way or the highway'. And the self trumpeting this remains wholly whole and without blame or self-reflection. Always.

    Edwards knew to get out in Jan or Feb. He knew. You're right that he contributed to the national discussion. I wasn't one of his fans, but this public beating now is ruining more that just Edwards. There are his kids and wife. [And dont give me the argument that he's to blame and should take his lumps. Life just isn't that simple.] There's the object of his affections who is being derisively cast as some new-age airhead when what she says, when cast in a book written by some Indian guy or said by the recently anointed smartest man in the world, the Philly-based Sufi, dont sound so strange.

    Nice post, Phil.

  3. the Sword of Gideon
    August 10, 2008, 12:03 pm

    Come on guys, I know that there is a Jewish conspiracy lurking here someplace. Tell me what it is

  4. Tom
    August 10, 2008, 12:16 pm

    It is bizarre how shocked everybody is when some guy sleeps around. I wonder, are journalists utterly monogamous?

  5. MRW.
    August 10, 2008, 12:21 pm

    John Chancellor was the biggest pussy hound prowling Manhattan. indiscriminate. Ditto Carl Bernstein. The history of NYC journos screwing anything that walked is a luxurious story.

    The answer to your question about utterly monogamous?


  6. Jim Haygood
    August 10, 2008, 1:13 pm


    Supposedly English has no exact male equivalent to the label "slut" applied to promiscuous females. But "philanderer" seems pretty close.

    It's axiomatic that the U.S. is a weirdly kinked country, when most of its rich-country peer group has legal prostitution and the U.S. doesn't, except in rural Nevada.

    In her book "Bonk," Mary Roach asserts that "Sexually, the 1920s and '30s were an oasis of openness and common sense between the twin deserts of Victorian repression and fifties-era conservatism." And what happened just before the 1950s? World War II, followed by a wave of marriages and a baby boom.

    Does the present war and national security obsession feed a strident, hypocritical neo-traditionalism in sexual matters, manifested in the vicarious smugness of participating in the public pillorying of celebrities caught in flagrante delicto? I suspect so.

    Never mind the environment; how do we fix the broken Zeitgeist? I find that getting stoned sideways, listening to LOUD live music and watching the chicks dance is therapeutic.

    link to turningpointcafe.com

  7. charles Keating
    August 10, 2008, 2:30 pm

    I liked Phil's article too.

    Is Philip's dad a "deadbeat dad," or a male victim of a discriminatory state family law system as actually implemented? I don't know the family facts.

    And it's true Edwards was much more outspoken about economic fairness than other contenders.

  8. charles Keating
    August 10, 2008, 2:33 pm

    Oops, I mean Michael's dad–

  9. Rowan Berkeley
    August 11, 2008, 2:59 am

    "Come on guys, I know that there is a Jewish conspiracy lurking here someplace. Tell me what it is. Posted by: the Sword of Gideon | August 10, 2008 at 12:03 PM"

    — it is concealed within Phil's assumption (shared, of course, by you) that 'Jews' constitute a moral elite, with something to say that no one else could think of, due to their unique fucking moral depth.

  10. charles Keating
    August 11, 2008, 9:10 am

    Come on guys, I know there is inate anti-semitism lurking here someplace–where?

  11. fleur
    August 11, 2008, 2:43 pm

    "economic fairness issues"??
    Also known as Marxism.
    Edwards is a gigantic butt. And a narcissistic one, at that. And a pseudo Marxist, i.e., as long as he can have his 15000SF digs the rest of us peasants can try to get by in our hovels as we try to keep up with his Marxist style confiscatory taxation.
    Michael Phelps' father left the marital home when Michael was about seven years old. Unless he bought a place next door to his kids there was no way in hell he carried much of the burden of getting those three kids everywhere they needed to be to turn out to be the athletes that they are.

  12. Geri
    August 12, 2008, 7:56 pm

    I met Michael's Dad, Fred, many years ago at the Eastern Swimming Zone Championships. Fred was very involved in his kids' swimming careers and very dedicated to them. He was a United States Swimming Official, he chaperoned Zone trips, and videotaped all the swimmers for the team. He loved his kids dearly and was, and I'm sure still is, a wonderful father. It is a shame that Michael has little contact with his Dad. Somewhere along the line the kids must have been used for revenge, rather than trying to keep the parent/child relationships in tact. That is what is best for the kids. Michael's Mom is the one to answer to that. It is only hurting her kids in the long run to not have their Dad in their lives. I'm sure Fred misses being with Michael thru his career. Many parents divorce but the parents remain on civil terms for the sake of the children's happiness and well being instead of using them to punish the other for an unhappy marriage. Don't judge Fred too harshly until you've walked in his shoes.

  13. Anikahe
    August 13, 2008, 12:39 am

    This is a wonderful conversation, and it is needed. My one concern is, that is seem that some people are acting like Mike Phelps is a child. He is a full-grown man, and quite frankly the nature of his relationship with is father really rests on him. None of us will ever know why the parents divorced, but, I do know that in every interview where Mike is asked about his support system, he has always commented on his mother, not his father. So, perhaps Mike is the one who may not feel comfortable with the having his father in the picture…..

  14. Shakespeare
    August 13, 2008, 1:17 am

    I agree with you Anikahe, It is Michaels Judgement call on Who He talks about, and he has even said in a Previous interview, that his relationship with his father isnt really bad, but it isnt the best either, and that they only communicate through a few emails a year, his mom has always been there for him, so have his sisters, and hes naturally closer to his mom.. He can feel how he chooses to feel, about his dad, thats his choice, and not anyone elses, and The News About him, is about HIM.. Not about his dad, if his dad gripes about himself not being mentioned, then obviously he only really wants to be famous, or have money because of his son.. Michael even said in Another interview, that Him and his dad, didnt even talk until he Started actually competing, so it obviously looks like all the pathetic dad wants is money, he wasn't there before, why should he want to be now??

  15. LiSa
    August 13, 2008, 1:25 am

    Why Would The Nbc Mini Documentary Mention Anything About Phelps' Dad?? ITS ABOUT PHELPS.. His "father"(not much of one) wasn't there. His MOM was. :) I Hope Phelps' Dad Eats His heart out. Because Obviously He Didnt sacrifice Sh*t.. Debbie Did. She Raised 3 kids alone. While Phelps' Dad was probably boinking every chick he could and going out on dates. Debbie Made Her life ALL ABOUT THE KIDS. What did Phelps' father do?? Nothing. If All Phelps' Father can do is, communicate through emails.. then he really isnt much of a father. especially only a few a yr? and he didn't even talk to phelps or try to talk to him, until phelps was suceeding with his dream, and made it to Sydney. then the emails came. As far as im concerned, Fred Phelps isnt a father, or a dad.. He's A Sperm Donor..

  16. Webdaddy
    August 13, 2008, 6:16 am

    Phillip, I'll stand with you anytime, anywhere to call out the anti-father media when necessary. But as far as I'm concerned, Fred Phelps isn't worth standing up for. What possible excuse could any man have for allowing his relationship with his kids to deteriorate to a few emails a year? There is NOTHING – short of jail or death – that could keep me from being my kids' dad! I've had custody of my 16-year-old twin boys since they were 4 and have raised them on my own with NO parenting help from their 'mother'. God help us if all it takes to drive us away from our kids is an angry ex-wife and a nasty divorce.

  17. Geri
    August 13, 2008, 9:50 am

    Michael Phelps Dad WAS there for his kids during their swimming careers. I've witnessed it myself! He was at every swim meet, traveling with the kids, being a volunteer United States Swimming Official, Chaperoning numerous Team Trips all over the Eastern Coast. His DAD was the one that was at the meets……….his Mom was not. I realize she probably had a job and had to be at work but Fred also had a job but he arranged to be there for his kids.
    He videotaped swims for the entire swim team. It is not his choice that the communication is by email a few times a year. He was a great Dad and loves his children and would love to be part of their lives. As for Michael being an adult making is own decisions about who he wants to include……don't buy that. He was and is very vulnerable to his Mom's point of view. He may be 23 yrs old but he is still very young and influenced by others opinions, especially his Mom. If Fred is not part of his kid's lives now, it is not by his choice. You can take that to the bank!!! It has nothing to do with fame, or money. He is still proud of his son and is devastated that he cannot be there to show his support and be proud of Michael. Fred isn't the one defending himself…….I know what kind of man and father he is and I'm defending him because I know the truth.

  18. charles Keating
    August 13, 2008, 10:06 am

    Custodial parents have a lot of power.

  19. michael pulliam
    August 13, 2008, 11:30 am

    bull shit

  20. michael pulliam
    August 13, 2008, 11:32 am

    bull shit

  21. charles Keating
    August 13, 2008, 6:16 pm

    No, it's true–especially in states (e.g., Illinois) where the highest court has ruled that noncustodia parents are second class citizens–no equal rights apply. Or did places like Illinois have a new high court ruling in the last five years or so?

  22. y. peters
    August 13, 2008, 10:55 pm

    regarding john edwards, he cheated, all men are saints until they get caught. the europeans do not make much of their leaders love life. americans are such hypocrites. bill clinton was almost burned alive by men who were being unfaithful themselves. humans are not monogamous creatures by nature. edwards would make perfect vp.

  23. MDH
    August 14, 2008, 9:36 pm

    The issue that split things up was Fred was upset the two free tickets to Spain for the world championships were going to Debbie (mom) and one of the sisters – and not to him.

    So he didn't go to Michael's HS graduation party and they had very angry fight where a lot of underlying issues came out.

    Phelps is one of three kids – the oldest sister lives on her own and his sister the middle child, who lost her shot at the olympics, lives with her father and no longer swims at all. She isn't as involved with Michael and Debbie's world.

  24. Jkt
    August 15, 2008, 3:35 am

    It would be interesting to find out how many of the hundreds of swim meets Michael Phelps dad attended. For some reason Michael is not close to his dad. I know even if I was divorced, unless there was some court order keeping me away, I would try to attend any of my kid's activities especially if they put the time and effort in them like Michael Phelps. His mom always seems to be there, too bad his dad is missing out on so much. Also, for the person that said give him credit because he helped until Michael was 8, my daughters are swimmers and my husband suddenly chose not to be in our lives anymore, and I can tell you there is a lot more work raising a child after 8 years old then before.

  25. Yvonne
    August 15, 2008, 3:33 pm

    The shame isn't in getting divorced — it's in making the kids pay the price for your immaturity. Lots of parents are divorced, but most try to maintain relationships with their children. Fred Phelps left the family and his big contribution is a few e-mails a year.

  26. Elizabeth Thomas
    August 15, 2008, 10:15 pm

    Everyone seems to think they know all that went on in the marriage of Michael's parents. There are always 2 sides to the issues of every marriage.

    Whatever happened to Love One Another? Scriptures tell us to Love the Lord thy God, and on the same page it also adds to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. For without the one cammandment enforced, we don't have the other of these 2 great commandments.

    Making judgements of someone else's life should not be for us to even print, since we all don't know all the issues that went on in the Phelps' marriage.

    All I have to say is that I hope that Michael makes great history at these Olympics, and it isn't even fair to be trying to sidetrack any of those participating in any race at this time.

    Be peaceful.

  27. notbelievingthehype
    August 15, 2008, 11:16 pm

    I'm betting the mom is a screaming *itch when any one brings fred into the story. Let's face it, the cat could not stand the thought of touching Debbie up anymore in 1994 and now she is making him pay. There are plenty of divorced parents who stop throwing each other under the bus when the camera lights come on. I just hope MP can be a man and work on his relationship with his dad.

  28. tom
    August 17, 2008, 1:35 am

    WOW! Such Angry Women! Such Angry NASTY WOMEN!

    I read Fred Phelps declining comment stating its all about Michael. He showed the boy some respect.

    Respect thy Father and Mother! Remember that one. Phelps is an 80 million dollar athlete now. Maybe more. I bet his father is human. Sounds like someone here on this blog knows the story.

    You Angry NASTY Women out there who want to enslave a dedicated father with paralizing child support payment and promote childrens disrespect contribute to the demise of our society. Attorneys who prey on the self serving, selfish, blood sucking women who seek to enslave and suck the life out of honest hard working dedicated family men for their own misguided and selfish needs.

    My advice to you youngsters, Keep your penis in your pants!

  29. Sesana
    August 17, 2008, 9:34 am

    I think that NBC has been quite courteous to Fred Phelps, considering his actual relationship with Michael. If they brought him up at all, they would have to explain that his relationship with his son is practically nonexistent, that he's not in Beijing at all by his own choice, that his only communication with his son is a few emails a year, that he only started to show an interest in Michael when he began to compete successfully, and that he decided not to attend his own son's high school graduation in a temper tantrum. That last fact is, to me, the most telling. Ultimately, Fred Phelps is not a part of the short Michael Phelps bios because he's not a part of Michael Phelps's life, partly by his own choice and partly because Michael (as he has said recently) has chosen not to seek out a deeper relationship with him. By simply not mentioning his father at all, NBC has painted an accurate picture of how much of a role Fred Phelps has in Michael's life while avoiding the airing of the family's dirty laundry. If Fred Phelps has been erased from the picture of Michael's life, he need only look in the mirror to find the responsible party.

  30. Pattyb
    August 17, 2008, 12:28 pm

    Why do I get the feeling that most of the comments griping about the treatment of Fred Phelps come from divorced,non-custodian fathers, or cheaters? Love takes sacrifice, period. It takes putting the other person (especially childen) ahead of yourself. Sure, it is difficult; ummm..I'm pretty sure that is why you take those vows…remember "for better or worse?" Most philanderers are narcissists. Men and women alike. My father (who is the most wonderful, spiritual, giving man had nine children…all of whom adore him today)battled alcholism for many years, did the hard work of self-examination and sought treatment, and is now revered by his wife, children and community. His definition of love is "the willing or doing of good for another person for HIS or HER sake….NOT for one's own sake. I have a feeling Debbie Phelps knows this.

  31. tom
    August 17, 2008, 1:22 pm

    I have the feeling that most of the comments from WOMEN in non support of Fred Phelps come from those who don't have a clue and don't bother to read the commentary from people who know the situation personally.

    Non-custodial fathers are Ostracized from a family and then forced to serve in slavery to the WOMWEN who own the courts, judges, and the votes.

    READ you idiots. Fred Phelps was there for the kid. He has one,just one who chose to live with him. The family is factioned because of the WOMAN. Fred PAID his support money. The WOMAN enslaved him. SHE turned the kids away from him while SHE BLOODSUCKED the LIFE from him.

    YOU BLOODSUCKING WOMEN think the divorced dad should live in a box and kiss your ass while you enjoy the free money and live with a boyfriend or a new man. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHEATERS!

    KEEP YOUR PENIS IN YOUR PANTS YOUNGSTERS or you will feel this PAIN. If you dont believe me just google the statistics.

  32. Tony
    August 17, 2008, 1:58 pm

    Since he didn't even start swimming until seven— and they separated when the kid was six— and they father was estranged until Michael was 20, there is a good reason to believe he did not do much "carting around" to swim meets before the divorce and that there is equally good reason he was not included in the personal history reports on television. Indeed, it is likely more complimentary to him to just exclude him than to tell the full story and use the father as something young Phelps had to overcome.

  33. Tony
    August 17, 2008, 1:59 pm

    Since he didn't even start swimming until seven— and they separated when the kid was six— and they father was estranged until Michael was 20, there is a good reason to believe he did not do much "carting around" to swim meets before the divorce and that there is equally good reason he was not included in the personal history reports on television. Indeed, it is likely more complimentary to him to just exclude him than to tell the full story and use the father as something young Phelps had to overcome.

  34. Jimmy
    August 17, 2008, 4:57 pm

    I can't believe some of the horseshit that I have read here. Phelps's father was a bum, plain and simple. That's why neither Michael nor his sisters interact with him. Period. End of story.


    If a successful, well-adjusted adult like Michael doesn't speak with his father, it's OBVIOUS that the father's gone a long way toward alienating him through selfish, neglectful, or downright malicious behavior.

    Further, the implication that Phelps was somehow manipulated by his mother is absurd. The simple fact of the matter is that you can't turn a child against a parent to whom the child is not already ill-disposed. Children are young, but they are not fools. They have a natural tendency to venerate their parents, so when something like this happens, it's almost always because the parent did something to warrant it. Besides, Michael is a grown man now. The fact that he chooses not to have any meaningful relationship with Fred Phelps is a DAMNING indictment of the father.

    As regards the claims of bias against non-custodial parents, let's be VERY FRANK: the majority of non-custodial parents never really wanted custody of the kids in the first place. If they sought custody, it was out of guilt or, worse yet, fear of how their selfishness would be perceived by friends, family members, and the courts.

    Fred Phelps has gotten what he deserves: nothing. Take note, philandering fathers of America: KIDS GROW UP.

  35. tom
    August 17, 2008, 6:42 pm

    Jimmy and Tony are totally and utterly wrong. Read the whole thread! Get your facts correct! Philandering fathers? Majority of non-custodial parents don't want the kids?

    You can believe what you want to believe. Does not make it true!

    I like this quote from above:

    "If a successful, well-adjusted adult like Michael doesn't speak with his father, it's OBVIOUS that the father's gone a long way toward alienating him through selfish, neglectful, or downright malicious behavior."

    If you call a man who chooses to stay out of the public eye "selfish, neglectful, or downright malicious" based on what you see in television inteviews then you are lost. I bet you think Dara Torres is legitimate as well. Her body is in tip top condition while her face is deteriorating?

    I bet you are voting for Obama!

  36. Jimmy
    August 17, 2008, 10:11 pm

    "If you call a man who chooses to stay out of the public eye "selfish, neglectful, or downright malicious" based on what you see in television inteviews then you are lost."

    First, what does his reticence have to do with the question whether he's selfish, neglectful, or malicious? Had I behaved so appallingly, I'd want to keep a low profile, too. Who the hell wants to be publicly recognized as "the guy who walked out on Michael Phelps?"

    Second, I'm not basing my opinions on television interviews. I'm basing them on the fact that MICHAEL, who knows the facts better than anyone, CHOOSES NOT TO SPEAK WITH HIM. ALL questions about the father are resolved in that one fact. End of story. Done. Over. Nothing else matters. If a well-adjusted, successful adult doesn't speak to a parent, it's the parent's fault.

  37. tom
    August 17, 2008, 11:55 pm

    Jimmy = GOD! All knowing, All Judgemental,

    And God says MP is well adjusted. He KNOWS this. Nevermind about the DUI

    Uh oh! God wants Obama

  38. tom
    August 17, 2008, 11:57 pm

    and GOD cant read. That's why he wants Obama

  39. shomakhang
    August 18, 2008, 4:55 am

    NBC didn't erase Fred Phelps, Fred Phelps erased Fred Phelps. I read the article link you provided. It sounds like Fred did participate in his kids' swimming activities in the early years. But what about after the divorce? The dad became more absent and less dedicated. And that was his choice. He was the adult. No father should ever make himself scarce. Did the mom threaten his life? Put a gun to his head? No. He chose to be unavailable. That is not Michael's problem, that's the dad's problem. Divorced dads tend to disappear after the divorce; that's when they need to put differences aside and make a doubled effort to see the kids. Quit blaming it on the mom. Divorced dads need to grow some balls, swallow their pride, and stay in their kids' lives. Now Michael is an adult. The father and son are strangers to each other. That's the dad's fault. You reap what you sow.

  40. Withheld
    August 18, 2008, 9:20 am

    It's easy to say that a father would/could have a relationship with his kids if he wants to. But a bitter ex can cause a lot of damage to the parent/child relationship. I have witnessed this first hand, my husband is a wonderful father and step-father, he has put up with stuff that I think would have caused the best father in the world to consider just walking away. He did not. He tried to get them much needed therapy, but the mom would stop it when the boys would start to "tell" things she did not want told. She ran a household of no rules, use of drugs and alcohol was "no big deal" and the boys could come and go as they pleased. On top of that, she constantly bashed, lied and always made herself the victim. The boys lived with her from a very young age and its hard to undue all of that damage. They are older now and the one that had the most problems is now getting along fine with dad but it takes time. Just don't blame the dad or assume anything unless you know the whole story.

  41. Been There
    August 18, 2008, 11:40 am

    I've been following Michael's accomplishments very closely because we both have one thing in common. Both of our parents had three kids, divorced and no longer are in touch with dad. My parents ended their marriage when I was 1.

    My dad dumped my mother for another woman. He would breeze in and out of our lives for years. We saw him maybe once a year but never got to visit him where he lived two states over. He didn't even want to tell his friends he had kids because he was in the 'entertainment' business and feared this would 'cramp' his style. He never paid child support or sent b-day cards, x-mas cards, etc but did buy us gifts when he visited.

    My mother didn't demand child support because she wanted to raise us without his interference. Taking money from him would have affected this.

    I admire my mother because she never said a bad word about him. I didn't understand this at the time. The only time she would express her anger at him is if he promised to visit and then stood us up. She was very fair about not turning us against him because she wanted us find out for ourselves what a self-centered jerk he was.

    When I turned 20 I realized he wasn't ever going to grow up and tired of his excuses why he couldn't spend time with me or let me visit him where he lived. I didn't give a hoot about money, I wanted to KNOW him. Thank goodness his brother took me under his wing and helped me dig up the geneology about dad's side of the family.

    I don't know the circumstances of Michael's parents divorce, but at least they aren't throwing mud at each other in the news.

    Michael should get to know the relatives on his dad's side so he can get a better understanding of his history, etc.

    I'm glad I met my dad's relatives. I found out my paternal grandmother died a year after she had my dad and that he was shipped out to foster care until he was 5 because his dad couldn't take care of him and his 3 brothers and sisters. My grandfather wrenched him away from the adoptive family and he was really torn about this. I think it affected his ability to bond.

    People need to get both sides of the story so kids aren't unduly influenced by the decisions their parents make.

  42. Twocentsworth
    August 18, 2008, 11:57 am

    Please tell me what Edwards has to do with any of this? Enough of this victim bullshit. Oh poor poor me…

    Both men obviously made mistakes in their lives and can blame no one but themselves. With regards to slimeball Edwards (who I thought was smarmy even before the affair news break), not only is he a liar and a cheat he is stupid. What kind of idiot would run for office and commit an affair? It's just bad judgement. The question is do you want someone in office who makes such simply obvious bad judgement calls, then tries to cover them up. A man or a woman (an adult) has only his or her charachter when it comes down to it. Enough of this liberal wishy washy moral relativsim. Grow up people!

  43. kristen
    August 18, 2008, 11:59 am

    Obviously his dad doesn't deserve too much credit, because it doesn't even seem that he goes to the events where his son swims at.

    I've never seen him mentioned or showed once supporting his son and his son never mentions him. That has to say something about the situation and their relationship. So maybe he doesn't deserve any credit.

  44. Shepherd
    August 18, 2008, 1:06 pm

    I know first hand how a man can be pushed out of a relationship with there children. It is not uncommon at all for one parent to manipulate the childrens feelings and memories. It is sad when we throw people under a bus when we only hear oneside of the story. There is always his side and her side and the truth lies in between. His mother loves her children but does she love them enough to help promote a healthy relationship between the father and the son. That is the real question. If she speaks ill of the father over the years in front of her son you will have the answer to the real problem.

  45. airportwoman
    August 18, 2008, 7:04 pm

    Mr. Phelps is a retired policeman. Very few law enforcement officers have happy marriages and/or well-adjusted children.

    That said, only this family knows what really happened. I actually assumed his father was deceased because I never heard anything about him.

  46. Jimmy
    August 18, 2008, 10:31 pm

    Tom, what is your obsession with Obama? Do you want to fuck him? For goodness' sake, we're talking about Michael Phelps's father–a subject as detached from Obama as any I can fathom–and you have TWICE forced an Obama comment into your posts. Is Obama that important to you? Do you jerk off when you think about him?

  47. A
    August 19, 2008, 6:09 am

    Why would there be any honor for a man who abandoned his family? Who are you kidding anyway? It isn't at all about a culture being dismissive of a poor divorced dad. If he cared at all, he'd be in the picture. Period.

  48. Shepherd
    August 19, 2008, 11:32 am

    I grew up with 5 brothers and sisters, my parents divorced after 17 years of marriage and I was 9 years old and I am now 43 my mother has never had a good word to say about my father. If you were to talk to my mother and did not know my father, you would truly believe he was a terrible man. Nothing more could be farther from the truth.. He spent many years biting his tongue. and never bashing his ex out of respect for his children. If my mother had it her way, my dad would not of had a relationship with any of his kids. He was a very soft spoken honest man that always did the write thing for his family, my mother would not talk to me for days, if I visited my father and actually had a good time.this taught me early on not share my emotions with her about my father which played into the alienation game, from the outside she looks and appears to be a very stable, and well educated women, inside her body she is a mess a person who will never let anyone really get truly close other then her favorite kids me not being one of them, I will bet money on it, that Phelps mother had alote to do with his dad being alienated from his life, And until you know the real story do not be quick to condem a man. I also have a super star daughter that wants no part of me, and to talk with her she has it all together, but her whole life she was taught it was ok to hate her father by her own mother you would swear from the outside was a great and wonderful mother that was always there for her kids, But the facts are, behind closed doors she blames me for everything in her life that is not well, She says things that are not even remotely true, and she is a master of manipulation, it will drive a man crazy that truly wants to have a healthy and normal relationship with his children.Out of my 4 children my son 17 lives with me and my youngest 10 yr daughter visits often, my 15 and 19 yr old daughter are convinced by their mother I am of the devil.Yet I have financially and personally always been their cheering them on no matter what they were involved in, This I know will change when they are much older and look back on what they have seen and what they have been told and then they will have a lightbulb moment just like all my brothers and sisters have done as well. All I am asking is to remeber things are not always what they appear to be.

  49. fierceone
    August 19, 2008, 5:48 pm

    I wonder if Fred Phelphs still thinks the pussy was worth it?

  50. james
    August 20, 2008, 3:37 am

    sorry, Geri, no matter how much you try you cannot exonerate Fred Phelps from ruining his own relationship with his son. After I got divorced, a very bad divorce, I still kept in touch with my kids. For a few years though, I spent most of my time with my new wife and our son, and did not help raise my kids from my ex, other than sending child support. I could have lied to myself and others and blamed her, saying that she kept the kids away, but you know the truth will set you free and the fact is that I blew them off. It's very easy to blame an ex spouse though; my mom did it all the time when asked about our divorce from friends. In time I came to my senses and started with weekly dinners with my kids, and then every other week-end. I realize I am the biggest loser in this because I missed out on a lot of their childhood, but at least I'm trying to let them know that I am here for them now. My ex, as much as I don't get along with her, was a good mom and did all the real work alone. I see that now as my wife and I share the work of raising our own son. In short, you can blame Fred Phelps ex wife all you want; I blame Fred Phelps for walking out and not looking back.

  51. Concerned
    July 13, 2009, 4:00 am

    You are such a moron. Sorry, but deadbeat dads who leave the scene DON'T deserve ANY credit, and any idiot who tries to give them some limelight needs a brain replacement!

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