Being A Victim Apparently Has More Status Now Than Being A Gold Medal Winner -- Ryan Lochte Channels "Jackie"

There appears to be no rational way to explain Ryan Lochte's bizarre need to make up a story about being the victim of an armed robbery.  The media seems to be pushing the notion that he made up the story to cover up his own vandalism at a gas station, but that makes zero sense.  He had already defused the vandalism incident with a payment of cash to the station owner.  The rational response would be to just shut up about the whole thing and let it be forgotten.

But instead, he purposely made a big deal about the incident, switching around the facts until he was a victim of an armed assault by men posing as police officers, up to and including harrowing details of a cocked gun being jammed into his forehead.  The incident, likely ignored otherwise, suddenly became a BIG DEAL and subsequent investigation (including multiple video sources) showed Lochte to be a bald-faced liar.

The only way I can explain Lochte's motivation is to equate it with the lies by "Jackie" at the University of Virginia, whose claims of being gang-raped as published in the Rolling Stone turned out to be total fabrications.  Like Lochte, she dressed up the story with horrifying details, such as being thrown down and raped on a floor covered in broken glass.  The only real difference I can see, in fact, between Lochte and Jackie  is that the media still protects Jackie (via anonymity) from well-deserved humiliation for her lies while it is piling on Lochte.

I can sort of understand Jackie's motivation -- she was by all accounts a frustrated, perhaps disturbed, certainly lonely young woman who was likely looking for some way to dramatically change her life.  But Lochte?  Ryan Lochte has won multiple Olympic medals, historically in the sports world a marker of the highest possible status.  But in today's world, Lochte viewed victimhood as even higher status.

Update:  This is probably the fairest account of the whole incident.

  • Ray

    ... except he hadn't defused the situation to the gas station owner. Security guards had insisted they pay him (with guns as instruments of persuasion), not the owner. I have a bridge I'd like to sell you if you believe those guards were going to hand the money over to someone else or use it to fix up the sign that was knocked down.

    Bizarre incident no doubt as it seems clear he exaggerated, but it does seem to me he and the other swimmers were shaken down.

    Regardless, there are far worse things to be outraged about.

  • LoneSnark

    It seemed to me like he was highly exaggerating, but had totally convinced himself that he was robbed. The men with the guns and the store owner did not speak English. It seems likely to me that at the time he gave up his money, he hadn't figured out the men with guns were there because of any bathroom damage. We have to remember he had been drinking heavily before these events.

  • stubbs

    When a Ryan or a Jackie makes up a story, they fill in the made up details according to prejudices they and the public share. It gives the storyteller a template, and it makes the story seem more truthful, or as they say in the English Department, "verisimlitudinous. Frat boys? They are over-priviledged and take advantage of girls. Brazilian cops? They are corrupt and steal. Everybody knows it. Fake but accurate.

  • Not Sure

    "Fake but accurate."

    Truthiness.

  • Scott Robinson

    Now the Brazilian government is shaking down the unlucky swimmers to be caught in country for thousands of $$ to a "charity?"

  • DaveK

    Not only drinking, perhaps.... There's a lot that goes on in the Olympic village once the athletes have finished their competitions, and don't have to worry about peeing into a cup.

  • DaveK

    Yes, and there's the discrepancy between the $50 that the government says was handed over, and the $400 that the athletes said was taken from them.

    There are no angels in this story, and I have pretty close to zero sympathy for the athletes involved.

  • kidmugsy

    Much of the world, alas, will think "Americans: spoiled brats, bullies, and liars."

  • jdgalt

    Screw 'em. This incident reinforces my impression that many Latin Americans, in their home countries, will steal whenever they can get away with it.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    Time will tell. I am 100% certain the state department encouraged everyone involved to stop discussing specifics until the last of the Olympics is over and participants have escaped Brazil. Two things are certain:
    1. They were "robbed" at gunpoint. I cannot imagine a situation where a gun would be put in my face and money demanded where I would say I was not robbed at gunpoint.
    2. It was the police who did it. Well the police were involved and the so-called guard had a badge. And don't forget the three missing minutes on the security tape.

    Also the fine of about $11,000 against one of the swimmers smells like a bribe/ransom to me. Who does that except a 3rd world country?

    I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. If it is true that one of the swimmers tore a sign/poster and some payment was due, perhaps $50. than all well and good but who got the rest and why would the court/police hold up the other guy for $11,000? There is more to all this than we have heard. Wait for it...

  • Ann_In_Illinois

    I don't know if it's true but heard on the news that his explanation was: he was still drunk ("intoxicated") at the time he was first interviewed about it, plus he was embarrassed at having messed up the bathroom.

    It's not a great story no matter what, but it's more understandable why he might tell it as he did if he was still drunk at the time that journalists first asked him about it.

  • Peabody

    I think if Lochte was completely honest from the beginning the swimmers would likely have been viewed as the victim. It appears the summary is that drunk guys broke something in a bathroom and were forced to hand over some amount of money at gun-point. Echoing the third world comments, if someone breaks something in a bathroom in the US, northern Europe, etc. security doesn't pull a gun on you and and demand money. The security footage shows them exiting the car with their hands up. The news media seems to be emphasizing that it was a "negotiation" with the security guard. When one party is exiting a vehicle at gun point with their hands up, that is not a negotiation.

    Lochte has a reputation of being pretty stupid and regardless it's probably better he just go with the mea culpa routine, but I would have loved to see him argue back.

  • wreckinball

    I don't understand the conclusions folks get from watching the video other than they believe what the media lead in to the story proclaims versus actually watching the video. Here I what I saw;
    Guys get out of taxi go down alley way and pee on back wall. Sign falls or is pulled down. Guys come out of alley and get in wrong cab at first and then switch.
    Guys get out of cab and then the video is clumsily and obviously edited. Next seen is guys being sat down on the pavement with their hands up.
    I fail to see how the video immediately discredits at least the important parts of Lochte's story. Do folks normally put their hands up for kicks? You extract money at gun point its robbery period. The security guard being an off duty policemen makes the whole situation even smellier. The video being edited more stench.
    If Lochte had been part of a special victim group the story would have been completely flipped. He actually had the opposite happen to him because young white guys are the media's favorite whipping boys.
    So unlike Jackie the important parts of Lochte's story are true.
    One thing Warren did get right is I fail to see why Lochte would tell anyone about this incident especially his mom.

  • wreckinball

    Being robbed is the part he got right. When someone extracts cash at gun point its a robbery. Voluntary restitution would not involve a gun. If the guard says pay up or I call the cops then they have a choice. Accept the payment offer or deal with the police. Note, even if they ran away I doubt it would be too hard to track them down. They kinda stand out.
    You can't pull a gun out and threaten unless it is a response to a deadly threat.
    In the US the security guard would be in trouble.

  • GoneWithTheWind
  • OWG
  • sch

    Lochte now has more reason to feel the "victim" as he has lost 4 major sponsors in the past 3 days and grossly damaged any prospect of
    future sponsorship. At age 31 it is unlikely he will be able to repeat at the olympics even if the USOC allows it.

  • jdgalt

    And the Brazilian government will never have to answer for robbing him of it.

  • wreckinball

    So the other three guys should then receive no USOC punishment correct? Because all they did was pee on a wall

  • wreckinball

    I've never seen someone lose so much for doing almost nothing.
    Sponsors left him faster than they left Michael Vick after he was convicted

  • Russ R.

    Victimhood is the new Privilege.