Swimming isn’t the most thrilling sport to watch, even in the Olympics, but Ryan Lochte has given it way more attention than Michael Phelps this past week. Grainy surveillance video of Olympic swimmers tearing up some property isn’t much better.
An interview with the main culprit, Ryan Lochte as he tries to smooth things over? Now that’s more like it. Lochte’s sit-down with NBC’s Matt Lauer was a chance for the gold medalist to come correct and maybe start his process of redemption.
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After all, I’m sure he’s sorry…about all those endorsement dollars that are now on pause.
The first question thrown at Lochte was how he felt after this incident became an international story.
“I’ve just been laying low,” he said.
Now that’s a great plan. One that would have worked much better before going out and drinking like a fish with a vendetta against locked bathroom doors.
The laying low plan is hard to enact after you’ve embarrassed yourself on the nightly news.
Lochte told Lauer he didn’t want to speak out before all his cohorts were back home safely from Rio. Luckily he didn’t elaborate on what he thought the Rio authorities would do to his buddies had he spoken out sooner. I imagine Lochte envisioned some caning or maybe even a public hanging.
And for most Americans who don’t travel abroad, they probably had similar thoughts about these swimmers who were pulled off a plane once the robbery story unraveled.
As for the story that Lochte came up with, he never admitted to Lauer that he outright lied. His crisis management team would never allow him to admit such a thing.
Lauer asked about the police presser that stated the swimmers were vandals, not victims.
“It depends on how you look at it,” he reasoned.
Clearly, the dude cannot say he’s a vandal. The best the public could hope for was him taking responsibility, which he did, without calling himself a liar.
And he almost mustered up some tears…..so close.
Lochte’s main talking points were that he indeed screwed up, but he still saw the money transaction as extortion at best. He would not say he rightfully owed the money to the owner of the station.
I can see where he’s coming from. If I were drunk in a foreign country, with some guy pointing a gun in my general direction, I might be a little unclear about the transaction of cash.
That’s why my number one rule when traveling abroad is to not get totally trashed. That seems to help me avoid situations where I might attack a non-threatening bathroom door.
To wrap up the interview, Lochte did apologize to the people of Rio for tarnishing their good name.
Although he wasn’t the one trashing them before the Games started. The TV media, that now has Lochte by the throat, was doing that by talking about the filthy conditions and criminals around every corner.
Lochte also told Matt Lauer that he was “not done” in the swimming world and would work hard to be a role model going forward.
For me, this incident was not a big deal. Harming someone by destroying their property is not cool. And Lochte should have made amends as soon as he sobered up. But to act as though this guy killed someone is a bit much.
He screwed up, and I wish he would have just come out, without the help of a public relations guru, and told us all he made a drunken mistake.
Most of us can relate.
His coverup was worse than his original sin. And now he’s gonna have to apologize repeatedly as the media wags their finger at him.
If he’s really sorry, one apology will do. And he should stand up and tell everyone how overblown this has become.
But he won’t. He can’t.
Not if he wants to end up on that pristine Wheaties box in the near future.