Rio Spokesperson Calls U.S. Swimmers’ Fabricated Robbery Story ‘Kids Just Having Fun,’ Quickly Called Out for Blatant White Privilege

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Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, (LawNewz Twitter)
Ryan Lochte, James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, (LawNewz Twitter)

After U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte came forward about a reported mugging in Brazil last week, he changed his story. Now, the Games spokesperson is asking the public to give Lochte and three other swimmers involved a break.

Lochte told NBC’s “Today Show” that he and fellow American swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jimmy Feigen and Jack Conger were robbed early Sunday morning. Lochte said the group took a cab from the French hospitality house when men dressed as police pulled them over. He claimed one of them put a gun to his head. The swimmers said the assailant took their wallets, but surveillance video showed the athletes arriving at Olympic village by 7 a.m. with their wallets, cellphones and jewelry.

Lochte’s story changed in an interview with Matt Lauer Wednesday. He said the group stopped at a gas station and were robbed there. Lochte said the supposed criminal pointed the gun at him instead of against his head.

But a Brazilian police source told the Associated Press the story was false.

The official spoke anonymously saying Lochte, Bentz, Conger and Feigen stopped at a gas station in a suburb of Rio. One swimmer was unable to open a locked door of an outside bathroom. A few others pushed the door and broke it open.

Then, an armed security guard confronted them. He never pointed his pistol at any swimmers.

As the gas station’s manager approached, a customer helped him translate. He asked the swimmers to pay for the door.

Local police told ABC the athletes “offered 100 reals and $20” as compensation.

A Brazilian police source told the outlet, “One of the swimmers was seen on CCTV footage breaking down the door to the bathroom at [a] gas station and fighting with a security guard.”


SportsCenter reported Lochte’s teammates told police he fabricated the story.

In reaction, Mario Andrada, the 2016 Rio spokesperson, said Lochte and the other swimmers did not need to apologize.

“No apologies from him or other athletes are needed. We have to understand that these kids come here to have fun. Let’s give these kids a break. They made a mistake. Life goes on.”

Many have called out the Olympians’ white privilege.

Dee pointed out Lochte’s lie and the International Olympic Committee’s passive response.

@LatinxGeeks called the situation an example of white people “causing problems and then making themselves the victim.”

TheDollyP also pointed out the racial double standard, referring to the cases of Tamir Rice and Michael Brown.

@NoriKellaj pointed out Lochte’s disrespect for the Olympics host country.

Crystal pointed out the criticism Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas faced for standing at attention during the national anthem while Lochte is given a break.

Cacao said Lochte’s story explains the benefits of white privilege and its negative impact on Black people.

 

 

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