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Michael Phelps Breaks Silence: "I Can't Do Anything Wrong" In Pool (VIDEO)

04/12/2009 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

**UPDATED WITH THE WHOLE INTERVIEW***

Michael Phelps gave his first sit-down interview after his infamous marijuana-smoking incident to Matt Lauer, airing Friday morning on "Today." NBC released a clip, shown below, and many excerpts, posted below the clip. [Friday morning clip replaced with full sit down]

Phelps dodges the question of if he was, in fact, smoking pot from the bong when asked point blank, as can be read in one of the excerpts.

Lauer asks Phelps about having his Sports Illustrated cover being eclipsed as the most-memorable Phelps image by the image of Phelps smoking a bong.

"I have no control over that," Phelps says. "I know if I start training again... I know I can't do anything wrong once I'm in the pool."

He also said of the incident, "it was an awful judgment" and he is most sorry for his fans, not the money and endorsements lost.

WATCH:

EXCERPTS:
MATT LAUER:
Well, let's go to January 31st, okay? This is when this now infamous photo of you surfaced for the rest of us. This picture of you with a bong in your hands at a party a month or so earlier in South Carolina. How long before we all saw that picture were you aware of its existence?

MICHAEL PHELPS:
Not long. Probably one or two days. I had no idea and....

MATT LAUER:
How'd you find out about it?

MICHAEL PHELPS:
I forgot how it was. Somewhere in-- it was through an e-mail form. And I had no idea really what to do. You know, I knew that I'd made a mistake and made a bad judgment. And-- and, you know, I know that when you do make a mistake, you know, you're responsible for all of the consequences. And I was willing to, you know, accept the fact that I did make a mistake.

And it was an awful judgment. And, you know, it-- it was-- really, you know, the people I hurt, you know, is my family, clearly. My friends. The close people around me. And most importantly, the fans. And-- and, you know, I realize that that hurt a lot of people.

MATT LAUER:
But when you first saw the picture, when you first laid eyes on it and realized what it was a picture of, did you calculate at that point the fallout? Did you start to think how damaging this could be to you personally and your career?

MICHAEL PHELPS:
It's not about money to me. So, you know, the-- the contract side of things, yeah, I was disappointed. But, you know, I think the biggest thing is-- is who I hurt the most. Like, if I lost money, okay. It's not an issue with me.

*****

MATT LAUER:
Take me back, if you will, to the party in South Carolina. Who were these people you were with? Talk to me a little bit about that. What was going on that night?

MICHAEL PHELPS:
I mean, we were just celebrating, honestly. And-- you know, there was probably two or three people there I didn't know. It was a very small group. Six or seven people probably total in the whole house. Like nothing major. You know, not like a giant college house party. It was nothing like that. It was just a small group and we were just sitting around and celebrating.

MATT LAUER:
I have to ask you, were you smoking pot?

MICHAEL PHELPS:
It was a bad mistake. I mean, we all know what, you know, what you and I are talking about. It's a stupid mistake. You know, bad judgment. And it's something that, you know, I have to, and I want to teach other people not to make that mistake.

*****

MATT LAUER:
We're living in a world right now, Michael, where people have a cell phone and it was a camera. Were you aware that anyone had taken a photo that night? That anyone was taking pictures? Is that, maybe, a lesson to be learned here? That not everybody's your friend?

MICHAEL PHELPS:
Yeah. You know, people think, you know, it's funny at times. Take a picture with a cell phone... I'll say that there are a lot of people out there who want to take advantage of any situation they have.... I trusted my friends who were there about who they were. And clearly they weren't trusted people... Sometimes you learn the hard way.

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