Friday, October 7, 2016

Go Away Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte has worn out his welcome as a pubic figure. His ridiculous antics at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics cemented his reputation as a liar, unworthy of admiration or sympathy. It would be best for all of us if he disappeared from public view and was never heard from again.
Lochte is a 32-year-old, 12-time Olympic medalist as a member of the United States swim team. He represented his country in the recent Rio Summer Olympic Games, and he did so badly. He landed himself in major trouble with behavior that United Press International,, and other news organizations cleverly called 'Lochtegate.'
The incident erupted into a firestorm, with news reports leading to social media slamming over the immature shenanigans of someone who was expected to act like an adult.
The problem began when Lochte and other members of the U.S. Swim Team went out for a night on the town in Rio. They reported that men dressed as police officers accosted them at gunpoint. Lochte and friends claimed that they were pulled over by police and robbed.
Later, employees at a gas station insisted Lochte and his group vandalized the restroom, and when confronted, they "became belligerent", according to published reports. When the story was reported publicly, the Brazilian police produced a gas station security video that contradicted the American swimmers' claims.
Lochte managed to escape Brazil before authorities were able to stop him (they did detain two other swimmers who were allegedly involved.) Local Rio officials charged Lochte in August with "making a false statement," according to a BBC News story. Further, Brazilian officials wanted to issue a summons in an attempt to bring him back to the scene of the crime to face the charges.
The embarrassing incident caused Lochte to lose big time sponsors such as Speedo and Ralph Lauren. It also produced backlash from many who were not shy about slamming a supposedly grown man (Lochte) via social media such as Twitter and Instagram.
After more than a week of sticking to his original story, Lochte caved and admitted that he made it up. A BBC News story in August reported that Lochte had apologized for the incident, saying he "over-exaggerated that story". For me, sorry, that's too little, too late. After repeatedly lying about what happened, he only came clean when he realized no one believed the first story.
Most people when publicly shamed for bad behavior tend to disappear from view. Lochte though, instead of crawling into a hole, decided to become a performer on ABC's Dancing With the Stars. It is not a show my wife and I watch, but sadly, it means this guy is not going away. I'm guessing it's only a first step in a plan to insert himself into all phases of public view, Lochtegate notwithstanding.
Two men were so enraged at Lochte's actions that in September they ran onto the stage during a live broadcast of Dancing With the Stars. The men wore t-shirts with Lochte's name inside a circle with a line through it, and were clearly intent on showing their displeasure to the world. Those men are now prohibited from being closer than 300 yards from Lochte, according to this ABC News story.
The U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming announced in September that Lochte is banned from appearing in U.S. or International competition for ten months, until June 2017.
Is this the kind of person we want representing the U.S. in international competition? Most of us probably prefer that athletes competing for this country should behave as though they possess common sense, some concept of maturity, and not act as though they have a license - a privilege – to commit ridiculous acts.
We have a right to expect that athletes representing the United States, don't behave stupidly, and at least pretend to act their age. Unfortunately for us, it appears that Lochte really was acting his age – chronological age doesn't always match mental age. Although he is apparently going to linger like a toothache, at least we can get a few laughs at his expense.

Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'.

He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.

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