Opinion
Lochte should be punished, not celebrated
By
Editor-in-Chief
Thursday, September 8, 2016

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games proved to be an impressive domination for the U.S. With a total of 121 medals — 46 of them gold — the U.S. was a force to be recognized on land, in the air and in the water.

On land, the track stars brought back 16 gold medals. The men’s basketball team along with boxer Claressa Shields and wrestler Kyle Snyder also seized the gold in Rio. In the air, the “Final Five” swept the gymnastics team finals with a landslide victory. Then Simone Biles, an Olympic rookie, shocked the world with her explosive gymnastic routines, receiving the gold in the all-around competition, vault and floor.

But the water is where the U.S.’s superiority shown brightest. The women’s crew team rowed to yet another gold, while the women’s water polo team became the first polo team to win a second gold medal. Michael Phelps flexed his supremacy by winning five more gold medals at age 31. Swim superstars such as Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel and North Carolina-native Kathleen Baker helped the U.S. obtain a team total of 33 swimming medals in Rio — three times more than any other country.

The U.S. swim team was nearly unbeatable in the water; however, it was on land where one of the water superstars stained the U.S.’s reputation.

During a “fun night out,” Ryan Lochte, along with three of his lesser-known teammates, stopped at a gas station near Olympic Park and urinated on the side of the building. According to the other swimmers, Lochte proceeded to pull a framed metal advertisement off the wall.

Although these acts were wrong, this is the part of the story where I don’t have a problem. Everybody makes mistakes at one point in their life, and “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.” If the athletes would have simply come forward the next day, admitted their wrongdoings and apologized, this event would have been chalked up to an intoxicated misstep. It could have just blown over with the next news cycle.

However, what is unforgivable is the fact that these athletes fabricated a story in such a manner that fed into the narrative that Rio de Janeiro was unsafe and incapable of hosting the Olympics. Lochte specifically used his fame as a celebrity athlete to manipulate the media, cast the inhabitants of Rio in a negative light and shield the blame away from himself. Not to mention he took advantage of his popularity on social media to enhance the story.

This isn’t just immature behavior or just an over-exaggerated story anymore. This is libel against Brazil and a misrepresentation of character on behalf of the U.S.

So, instead of focusing on the success stories of the athletes previously mentioned, the media featured Lochte’s insincere apology on many news outlets’ circulation.

Thankfully, Speedo, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal all recognized Lochte’s inexcusable behavior and immediately yanked their sponsor contracts with him.

Yet one organization still chose to recognize him; “Dancing with the Stars” cast him on their upcoming 2016 season.

This criminal, who manipulated his role as a celebrity, should be punished, not rewarded with more publicity. He not only created a fake police report, which is illegal, but also made the U.S. look bad at an internationally beloved competition.

He should never be allowed to represent the U.S.  ever again, not be featured on a hit entertainment show.

ABC claims that they had already been under contract with Lochte before the scandal occurred, which is why they are continuing to allow him on the show.

Well ABC, if that is the case then can you explain why four other corporations dropped their endorsement agreements? While I respect your loyalty to your contracts, I believe this is solely a marketing plot to secure more viewers. There are exceptions to every contract and misbehavior should not be rewarded.

I’m sorry you missed the memo ABC, but Lochte lost his right to be called a “star.”