With the 2016 Olympics officially over and everyone’s sense of nationalism has receded to (relatively) normal terms, I think it is time to address the elephant in the room: Ryan Lochte scandal and the double standard it represents to not only millions of Americans, but people across the world.
Lochte was a swimmer at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He was a fan favorite and very accomplished athletes.
To make a very long and complicated story as short as possible: Lochte and another swimmer Jimmy Feigen claimed that they and two others were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro- a story soon proved to be inherently inaccurate.
What actually happened is the swimmers were heavily intoxicated and vandalized the bathroom of gas station, and as a result were held by security guards of the establishment.
Many of Lochte’s endorsers did quickly remove all tags with him, such as Speedo and Ralph Lauren, which is obviously a very just repercussion for both his vandalism and false testimony.
Lochte’s situation is an old story both literally and figuratively. He’s thirty-two but deemed “just a kid” and therefore should not receive the full brute of the recommended punishment.
I do wonder why Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin were considered adults and their punishment of death was not too much.
I really am not trying to make a false equivalency: I know these situations have very little in common and I do not want to compare apples and oranges, but I do wonder, if a black man pulled the same stunt, would the public be as understanding?
The idea of American Exceptionalism is at work here as well. Would everyone, especially Americans, feel the same way if an athlete from another country behaved the same way.
I do not want to ruin anyone’s life: I am not sure if jail time would be an adequate punishment for Lochte’s actions, but I do think a black man would not receive the same treatment, which is inherently and undeniably both wrong and true.