No Wheaties Box for Gold Medal Sensation

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This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," August 20, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

E.D. HILL, HOST: Super Bowl champs, I'm going to Disney. Olympians grace the cover of Wheaties boxes, right? No more. Superstar Michael Phelps is saying goodbye to the breakfast of champions and hello Tony the Tiger. The golden boy will be featured on corn flakes and Frosted Flakes boxes and that has some health experts saying he is sending out the wrong message.

With me now is sports super-agent Drew Rosenhaus who represents - I can't even tell you how many folks, but they include NFL stars Terell Owens with Cowboys and Jeremy Shockey with New Orleans Saints. He's also the author of the upcoming book "Next Question." Thanks for being with us.


Video: Watch E.D. Hill's interview

HILL: You know, I heard somebody talk about this earlier today and they said, "Boy, Phelps is going to take an image kit and he should shop for a new agent right now. This is a disastrous decision." Do you agree or not?

ROSENHAUS: I don't buy into that. I think way too much is being made of this, you know. Give me a break. People are going to eat Frosted Flakes whether he endorses it or not. He is the most marketable guy in sports right now, with Michael Jordan, of course, who is an icon and Tiger Woods. There is no question in my mind that he can choose to do endorsements and market certain products. I mean, it's not like he's advocating alcohol or smoking cigarettes. It's Frosted Flakes, give me a break.

HILL: But what-

ROSENHAUS: Come on, Tony the Tiger, you've got to love it.

HILL: Do you counsel the folks that you represent to basically seize the moment when you've got it? I mean, he is a swimmer.


HILL: Who knows how long he will be swimming. It certainly takes a toll on your body, but you know, he may still be around, you know, doing that for a while, another Olympics. But is it make the money when you can?

ROSENHAUS: Absolutely, but to me, the difference between Frosted Flakes and Wheaties - and I'm not an expert on nutrition, OK? But I'm not sure how much of a difference there really is in terms of health and nutrition. No question he's getting more money from Frosted Flakes. But at the end of the day, Michael Phelps not doing anything wrong here by doing this deal. He's maximizing all of his years of hard work. He is an extraordinary athlete. He has done something that no one in history has done in Olympic sports, eight gold medals. He deserves to pick and choose the elements that he chooses to promote.

And how can you question this guy? He is all American. He's humble. He's a great champion, and I don't think he should be looked at critically by any stretch of the imagination for this decision.

HILL: Well, you know what? Folks have said he is going to make kids fatter. They're going to look at him and say, "Michael Phelps with his 12,000-calorie-a-day meals, Frosted Flakes - I'm going to suck them down, too."

ROSENHAUS: No, no, no. If he does anything, he will get kids to lose weight by going out and swimming.

HILL: That's good point.

ROSENHAUS: He's going to motivate them to be athletic. You know, to me, Michael Phelps is going to do far more. He could advocate eating chocolate chip cookies, doughnuts and more people are going to lose weight because of him. He's going to get people in the pool.

HILL: All right.

ROSENHAUS: He's going to inspire kids to work out. It's great for sports. The concept is, "Get out and do things. Be the next Michael Phelps."


ROSENHAUS: That doesn't mean eat Frosted Flakes. It means swim, exercise, work out, be a competitor.

HILL: Drew Rosenhaus, thank you very much. I'm sure from watching you, folks can tell why you are so successful. And if you want to be just as successful, get the book. It's called "Next Question."


HILL: And Drew talks all about how to do that, be successful in business. Drew, thanks.

ROSENHAUS: Thank you.

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