Ryan Lochte, 32, competed as a swimmer in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After completing his events, however, he became involved in an incident outside of the Olympic Village.
On Sunday August 14, 2016, Lochte stated that he had property taken at gunpoint in an interview with NBC’s Billy Bush. Present with Lochte were U.S. Olympic teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen. Lochte continued his account, with some changed details, in an interview with Matt Lauer on August 18 (http://www.today.com/news/ryan-lochte-defends-rio-robbery-account-matt-lauer-we-wouldn-t101973).
Lochte also posted a statement on his Instagram account.
Brazilian authorities conducted an investigation and found that the facts did not accord with Lochte’s version of events. (In addition, Brazilian police recommended that the prosecutor file charges against Lochte and Feigen (the elder men of the four) for filing a false police report of a crime.)
[Update (August 19, 2016): Ryan Lochte offers a
so-called apology second explanation for the incident in Brazil. (Media in the United States are far too lenient (yet also way too inclusive) with the word “apology.” It’s shameful. Lochte said he was robbed of his property at gunpoint with NBC’s Billy Bush on Sunday August 14, 2016. This so-called statement is unacceptable.)
Seeming to want to refocus attention on the Olympic Games, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, Mario Andrada, asked for people to consider the event an occurrence of error.
“These kids tried to have fun, they tried to represent their country to the best of their abilities,” Andrada said. “They competed under gigantic pressure. Let’s give these kids a break. They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on.”
Kids? It is necessary to mention the ages of the adult athletes involved:
|Ryan Lochte||32 (3-Aug-84)||(estimated net worth of $3 million)|
|Gunnar Bentz||20 (3-Jan-96)|
|Jack Conger||21 (26-Sept-94)|
|James Feigen||26 (26-Sept-89)|
The swimmers involved are young adults, not children. In addition, the statement gives a broad latitude to excuse misbehavior by athletes. That Lochte left his teammates to carry the weight of this situation shows his unwillingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions and failure to support his friends/fellow teammates. (Also, one must consider whether an equivalent light hand would be offered to nonwhite athletes (or athletes from non-wealthy nations).)
All is not lost if Lochte sorts out and repairs this unfortunate event, including paying for damages to the gasoline station and making amends with the authorities of the Olympic host city of Rio de Janeiro. If not, then Lochte has lost my respect.
[Author’s Note: The other three seem to have been caught up in this cover-up situation and left to fend for themselves. I do believe that a second chance is merited (for these 3). If only this mercy were universally provided to all human beings who make mistakes, the world would be a much better place.)]
Of note: Amini Fonua, swimmer and Olympic athlete from Tonga, posted a tweet in support of Feigen.