After columnists at the Washington Post have been knocking themselves silly over the Michael Phelps “scandal,” a voice of reason from the New York Times takes aim at the story. George Vecsey accomplishes conceptual feats that Sally Jenkins and Michael Wilbon together couldn’t manage. Those feats are:

*Acknowledging that pot smoking is not such a great thing: “No matter how many people defend marijuana and extol decriminalization for using it, there are studies that say the stuff is bad for important functions like reasoning, and can lead to worse abuses.”

*Not scolding the ace swimmer for screwing up: “At any rate, Phelps was probably making way too much money. He’s lucky his fingertips had better mojo than the fingertips of that Serbian-American swimmer who finished second in the 100-meter butterfly. Wonder if what’s-his-name has been to any good parties at the University of South Carolina lately?”

*And coming up with a better solution than USA Swimming’s three-month competition ban for Phelps: “What USA Swimming, the national federation, should have done was make him perform community service by competing in swim meets every day of the week and give him obligatory practices, since this is a lad who obviously functions better in chlorinated water than on terra firma.”

If ever there’s another episode in which a famous and rich athlete is caught with a bong, I’m going straight to Vecsey.