Ryan Lochte has learned the hard way that the only way for a lie to survive is to have the cooperation of many people. That’s what makes lies so hard to get away with as there’s so much work involved.
The other thing you need is to be loyal to the people having to hold the lie for you. When Lochte ditched his fellow swim teammates Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen to escape to America, all bets were off. Conger and Bentz weren’t able to get out of Brazil before authorities escorted them off their plane so they had to testify. They were wise in telling the truth.
For some reason, Lochte thinks that having a crisis PR person write an apology is enough. It’s not keeping those who were on the scene of his ‘robbery’ from speaking the truth, and it’s only making him look more and more like the ‘Ugly American’ we’ve written about.
A man who helped translate conversations between Olympic swimmer, his teammates and armed security guards at a gas station says a gun wasn’t pointed at them during the encounter.
Fernando Deluz, a 38-year-old disc jockey, also said that Americans decided to pay for property they destroyed to avoid calling the police.
But nearly as soon as his story came out, an American swimmer gave a different account in a detailed statement, saying two guns were pointed at the athletes as the event unfolded.
The incident has become a defining story of the games. Brazilian police have said Lochte was lying when he said he was robbed, and police said instead, the swimmers vandalized a bathroom while intoxicated.
Then Gunnar Bentz came home to America and had plenty to say about that night, and every aspect of it refutes Lochte’s every changing version.
This is what Bentz said compared to Lochte’s.
I want to offer a sincere apology to the United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming, the extraordinary women and men of Team USA, and the University of Georgia. Being a member of the Olympic Swimming Team was an honor and a dream come true. The accomplishments of my teammates were awe-inspiring, and I’m so pleased I got to see them up close. I regret this situation has drawn attention away from the Olympics, which have been hosted so incredibly well by Brazil and its citizens.
While I am anxious to put this matter behind me and rejoin my Georgia teammates in classes, practices and competitions, I feel compelled to stress several key points.
1. I was never a suspect in the case from the beginning (Brazilian law enforcement officials saw me only as a witness).
2. I never made a false statement to anyone at any time.
I also want to be forthright about the details of what transpired last Sunday. What follows is consistent with the account I gave to the Brazilian authorities when I was interviewed for the first and only time on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro:
After attending an event with several swimmers from different nations, I left in a taxicab along with U.S. swimmers Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte around 6 a.m. On the way back to the Olympic Village, we pulled into a convenience store to use the restroom. There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes. There was a locked door out back, and I did not witness anyone breaking it open. I am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall. I then suggested to everyone that we needed to leave the area, and we returned to the taxi.
Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle. No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard’s waistband. As Jimmy and Jack were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun. I yelled to them to come back toward us, and they complied. Then the second guard drew his weapon, and both guards pointed their guns at us and yelled at us to sit on a nearby sidewalk.
Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards. After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made.
A man that I believe to be a customer approached us and offered to help as he spoke both English and Portuguese. Understandably, we were frightened and confused during this time. Through the interpreter, one of the guards said that we needed to pay them in order to leave. I gave them what I had in my wallet, which was a $20 bill, and Jimmy gave them 100 Reals, which is about $50 in total. They lowered the guns, and I used hand gestures to ask if it was okay to leave and they said yes. We walked about a block down the street and hailed another taxi to return to the Village.
Videos of this situation have been emerging the last several days. However, I am confident that some video angles have not been shown that would further substantiate my account. I also believe some scenes have been skipped over. Additionally, I would like to stress that our original taxi was not pulled over; the only occupants of the taxi were the four of us and the driver; and to my knowledge, there was no damage done to the door or the inside of the restroom.
I am so thankful for the love and support of my family, my friends and my teammates during this time. Without question, I am taking away a valuable life lesson from this situation. In everything I do, I am representing my family, my country and my school. I will not take that responsibility lightly.
Bentz’s version basically says:
- The swimmers pissed on the side of a gas station.
- Lochte committed some minor vandalism.
- Security guards pointed guns at them.
- Lochte started shit with the guards.
- The guards demanded money and got it.
- At no point were they ever pulled over.
- He denies Brazilian authorities’ claim the bathroom was destroyed.
Lochte’s version was this in his simplified manner:
We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns; they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground. And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead, and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.
Matt Lauer scored yet another sitdown interview with Lochte so we can see where his story goes this time. If his lawyer and crisis team keep telling him to lie about the incident, the only person getting hurt is himself. They’re getting paid for their time the longer this mess plays out, so it doesn’t matter to them if he continues lying or not. Maybe his mother will talk some sense into him.