Ryan Lochte Doesn't Understand How Apologies Work
Apologies are meant to make things better. Unless you're Ryan Lochte, that is. Nearly a week after telling the world he was robbed at gunpoint while in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics, Lochte issued a halfhearted apology via Twitter on Friday that failed to win him much support or sympathy. While Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, could have chosen to apologize for lying to Brazilian authorities and Olympic officials, or to Brazilians for playing into a stereotype about crime in Rio to cover up his own transgressions, the American swimmer instead opted to go the non-apology-apology route, implying he had been confused about being robbed.
Like his initial story about how a thief, posing as a police officer, held a gun to his head, Lochte's apology is only making the situation worse. Lochte's lame apology begins with the athlete apologizing "for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning."
To recap, Lochte told NBC on Aug. 14 that robbers posing as Brazilian police officers had pulled over a taxi carrying him and teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen the night before. "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 told NBC.
As it turned out, that wasn't how things went down at all. Security footage released a few days later showed Lochte and his teammates breaking down a bathroom door at a gas station before being confronted by a security guard. The swimmers were allowed to leave after they reportedly handed over cash to cover the damage they had caused.
But Lochte refrains from admitting he lied in his apology (are we still calling it that?), nor does he admit to damaging private property. Instead, he claims the night was traumatic and implies he was confused about what happened. "It's traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country - with a language barrier - and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave," he said. Way to gloss over the details, Lochte.
The closest Lochte's three-paragraph statement comes to a real apology is one line buried in the middle: "I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that I am sorry."
It's hard to believe Lochte is really sincere, however, as he not only skirts around the details and refrains from admitting he lied, but he follows up his non-apology with a request people find something else to talk about. "There has already been too much said and too many valuable resources dedicated to what happened last weekend," Lochte said. "I hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes." But Lochte is dreaming if he thinks his unfortunate attempt at an apology will do anything but continue to fuel #LochteGate chatter.