Bless you, Ryan Lochte (Updated)

Ryan Lochte, in a more sober moment. (Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

Ryan Lochte, in a more sober moment. (Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

While true that if you hold Ryan Lochte’s head up to your ear you can hear the ocean, the American swimmer is today a most valuable resource.

Yes, yes, he has given even ugly Americans a bad name. After the way his idiocy hijacked the last week of the Rio Olympics, he is deserving of some special, imaginative punishment: Let’s say a public Brazilian waxing, administered by a spiteful Sao Paulo cabana boy. (But certainly not a banishment that would extend through the next Olympic cycle).

All that said, there is one other thing to say.

Thank you, Ryan Lochte.

You did more to teach our kids about the corrosive properties of a stupid lie than a hundred sermons by their parents. Every adult who ever told their child, “Look, don’t lie; just tell the truth, it will go a lot easier on you,” now own a priceless piece of supporting evidence.

The words, “Look what happened to Lochte,” should be enough to scare a whole generation of would-be fibbers straight.

So, a group of U.S. swimmers go a little Brazil nuts after their Olympic competition is done. They have a little confrontation that involves some unwise urination and minor vandalism. You know what they call this “international incident” back in Gunnar Bentz’s college town of Athens? Saturday night.

But, then, inexplicably, Lochte concocted a more harrowing tale – an “over-exaggeration” as told NBC’s Matt Lauer – that put a very sensitive host country in a bad light. And all absurdity broke loose.

Whereas, if he simply had told the event as it happened – or better yet, kept shut a yap that has been overly lubricated by too much reality show experience – we at the worst would be laughing off the whole thing by now.

Instead, he wandered down a winding path of no return. And, kids, as you can clearly see, the care and feeding of a silly lie is exhausting, like trying to raise a wolverine cub. Sooner or later, it’s going to turn on you.

So, thank you, Ryan Lochte, for one of the monumental Olympic goofs. You have performed a great public service.

(Update: Speedo just dropped its sponsorship of Lochte, meaning, I guess, that when/if he swims again, he will appear in cut-off jeans. As a one time Florida Gator, that should feel quite comfortable.)

Reader Comments 0

38 comments
Zaritza Sánchez-Harris
Zaritza Sánchez-Harris

I do not understand why Lochte is not been sanction by IOC and the US Olympic Comm, yet Hope Solo has been suspended from her team for 6 months. REALLY???

Richard Frye
Richard Frye

The 4 swimmers who are adults, started and created this mess, and then lied about it. They deserve what they get!

Theresa Orelus
Theresa Orelus

People this is not about politics,.This is about Lochte going there and and being a disgrace to America.

Kinya Wofford
Kinya Wofford

Oh, lil fibbers...really!?! Saying you were robbed at gunpoint is not a little fib. If it didn't happen, it's a lie. I wonder if it had been someone other than Lochte if it would be considered a small deal. When you go to the Olympics y o represent your country and bring shame upon that country in that fashion you should be banned from the sport- your reason for being there. Especially when we're not speaking of a young child or teenager who's away from parents, perhaps for the first time, but a 32 year old man!!! This is unacceptable. "No government should be allowed to extract justice at GUN point"...hmmmm. In the US this is done everyday and many don't live to apologize for immature behavior. He should've lost every endorsement that he lost.

Danielle Alley
Danielle Alley

it did happen.. the only thing he exaggerated was that the gun was put to his forehead. other than that they were robbed of $11,000 and did get guns drawn on them.

Scott Wrighter
Scott Wrighter

Lochte = liar, destroy him Hillary = liar, elect her We live in very odd times.

Donna Heald
Donna Heald

This is a perfect example of the term "rush to judgement"....

Annette Dunn
Annette Dunn

I know u have suffered enough and have learned a great lessen\U0001f64f\U0001f3fb

Keith Yancey
Keith Yancey

Funny how the whole country is in an uproar over this yet roughly half of the whole country is still voting for Hillary Clinton.

Jawad Hassan
Jawad Hassan

exaggerated bleach to your hair can damage your brain

Warren Johnson
Warren Johnson

AJC This is a "premium article?" It's like 300 words...

Bill Clements
Bill Clements

Nice approach - hope some kids are watching!

TOJacket
TOJacket

From what I've read....the Gunner kid tried his best to help stupid (Lochte)....but stupid had a better (worse) idea, "we'll say we were robbed at gunpoint by pretend police"....yea, that's the ticket.....the college swimmer's should be allowed to compete....this won't be the last we will hear of stupid.

Babycat
Babycat

@TOJacket So he says.  All four were involved, said nothing until faced with jail.  All four should be banned from competition both USA Swimming and NCAA for a minimum of a year if not two.  The colleges should take away their scholarships during this time.  The USOC may be even tougher and ban them from future Olympic teams.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Babycat @TOJacket So Football players can hit women, get caught with controlled substances, cause damage to property at there school, drive under the influence, and I can go on....but kick these young college swimmers out huh?....double standard?

rprr2
rprr2

If Ryan Lochte was really sincere about “taking full responsibility” for the Rio scandal, he would do a few things I haven’t heard him mention:
1. He would publically state that as the oldest and most powerful member of the group, that he had intimidated the younger guys to go along with his story or at least remain quiet. He would also state that they had nothing to do with causing the incident, except hanging around with the wrong person and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
2. He would write a check to Jimmy Feigen to cover what he “gave” to a Brazilian non-profit sporting institution.
3. He would publically appeal to the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee and everyone involved to place ALL to blame and resulting consequences on himself and let the younger guys off with only minor consequences (besides the embarrassment they and their families have already suffered). Hopefully, they have realized the importance of who you hang out with and that “you don’t have to be the one who does something stupid, wrong, or illegal to get in trouble, you can just be with the person who does it.”
Let’s see if Ryan is a real man who is truly willing to step up and take responsibility.

FreddieMac
FreddieMac

He's a 32 year old party boy that prides himself on acting stupid.  Paris Hilton escort material, but not an Olympian.   Time to get a real job and see how the rest of the world lives

mgunter
mgunter

He can't help it , he was just following th Bill and Hillary code of ethics......

Sodapop
Sodapop

Thanks Steve, for a great article. You nailed it. As a father of three teenage boys, I couldn't agree with you more.

Rule #1: Don't do stupid things.

Rule #2: if/when you do happen to do stupid things, don't lie about them.

Thanks to Ryan for setting the (poor) example. And thanks to you, for saying that, which we are all thinking.

JackTip
JackTip

The shame of it is that we hold our athletes up to a higher standard than our politicians. Regardless of your party affiliation every one of has voted for or will be voting in November for a professional liar.

VRSR
VRSR

The younger two should not be banned from competing for the rest of their college years.  Athletes have done way worse and are still allowed to play football.  Who were they supposed to tell on Lochte? They were all wrong for what they did but the story did have some basis of truth.  NBC kept it going.

doubleg
doubleg

 Bring it, Steve.  Lochte should have a poster created with his likeness, and put on every 13 year-old boy's wall, with captions that feature his tale, both the false one, and the ridicule after his confession. 
And if it happens to have him in a pair of jean shorts, all the better!

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

 " ... he is deserving of some special, imaginative punishment: Let’s say a public Brazilian waxing, administered by a spiteful Sao Paulo cabana boy. "


A similar treatment will cost you $400 a pop at bath houses in San Francisco.

Babycat
Babycat

This is a lesson that I hope resonates with all young athletes, no matter the skill level.  All four swimmers were complicite, whether they did vandalism or not, by not coming forward until forced.  Not only does Lochte owe people an apology but the rest do as well.  I saw in the UGA Newspaper that on Friday, Gunnar Bentz did offer his apologies but that has not been reported elsewhere.  At least he owned up to his mistakes.  USA Swimming and NCAA should ban these four from competition for the next two years.  During that ban, their time could be spent working with young swimmers who would benefit from their knowledge.  The USOC could then review the situation and see if they truly learned from their mistake.

rprr2
rprr2

@Babycat  Let him who is without fault cast the first stone.  I know I did some stupid stuff when in high school and college so I'm not willing to condemn the 2 younger swimmers.  A two year ban would end their college swimming.  I think they were intimidated by Lochte who was much older and a supposed team leader, who lead in the wrong direction.  The younger guys will spend many years trying to live down one poor decision along with their families.


Babycat
Babycat

@rprr2 @Babycat All four were involved.  No one spoke up until faced with jail.  They caused embarrassment to the host country and their colleges, USA Swimming, the USOC, their communities and their teammates.  They took away from the accomplishments of the other athletes with their "drama".  Lochte did not intimidate them, they all have been competing at his level for a couple of years.  Two years too tough?  I don't think so.  If they want a college degree, let it be on their own dime. There are many options for USA Swimming and the NCAA to handle this.  The USOC may not be so forgiving and these four may have participated their last Olympics.