For the Americans, these Olympic games were supposed to be about Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Ashton Eaton, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix, and others. But in one swift lie, Ryan Lochte stole the spotlight that he never received competing against Michael Phelps, and now these games are unfortunately his. He has officially hijacked the Rio Games. His lie is now overshadowing the Olympic games, which had already gotten off to a shaky start, but has come on pretty strong down the final stretch.
As you’ve most likely heard by now, Lochte and three of his teammates claimed they were robbed. Like a gun to the front of the dome, robbed. Like something out of the movies…robbed. Like the robbers told them to get down on the ground and give up his stuff, he said no, he didn’t do anything wrong, robbed.
And with that last line is when I knew something was up. Something simply didn’t sound right with that picture. If a man puts a gun to my head, without a shadow of a doubt, I’m giving up my wallet, my phone, my clothes, and practically everything else he wanted as long as he didn’t want to invade my personal space if you know what I mean. I’d probably die if it came to that, but other than that I’d give up the loot, with my eyes closed, mum’s the word. I see nothing. I know nothing.
Lochte’s story sounded good in theory. It was believable, even coming from him, only because these types of incidents have become a growing problem in Rio and other parts of Brazil. With videos like this popping up to reinforce these theories of crime running rampant in various parts of Brazil. Although many people questioned his story, it wasn’t inconceivable to think that this couldn’t happen to him. Especially since these Australian swimmers were recently robbed as well.
But the ball dropped on Lochte’s story Thursday, with Brazilian authorities determining that his whole story was a lie, and in fact found out the group vandalized a nearby gas station. And in an ironic twist, the only gun that appeared in the incident belonged to the gas station’s security guard who only brandished his weapon after the vandalism occurred.
Ryan Lochte really played all of us. He played this country.
As Black athletes from all over the world continue to leave their mark in Rio, against the backdrop of a city thriving with African culture, Lochte, and his cohorts left theirs. They left their mark by using their White male privilege to escape a drunken night of mayhem and bad frat boy decisions.
Yes, it sucks that we have to view such a topic through the lens of race. I know. And no, I’m not linking everything to being a racial issue but when you step back and view the context it’s hard not to.
Things then started to get really weird when Lochte and his teammates switched their stories, adding and subtracting intricate details. Lochte at one point said the taxi made a pit stop at a gas station somewhere in the timeline of the robbery.
What he didn’t know was that said gas station had video surveillance. And their surveillance shows one of the swimmers urinating near the building; he is then confronted by gas station attendants. Reports say the men threw money at the gas station owner after they vandalized the bathroom. Someone at the gas station called the police, but by the time they arrived the men were gone.
As Brazil continues to grapple with its own set of social and economic policies, did these men think it was necessary to play into the “minority communities are dangerous” stereotype? It’s about the same level of ignorance that some White accusers use who frame their attacker as a “brown” person or them being Black, before we find out that said attacker never existed.
And that’s exactly what they did.