Ryan Lochte’s Million-Dollar ‘Free Pass’

It’s official: Ryan Lochte has lost all four of his commercial sponsors because of the recent scandal at the Rio Olympics, which could end up costing the swimmer millions of dollars. So much for the notion that Lochte has received a “free pass” because of a so-called “white privilege,” a theory put forth by the Huffington Post, NPR, Occupy Democrats, and progressive social media users worldwide. 

Not that Lochte doesn’t deserve to lose his endorsements; his obnoxious behavior is inexcusable. He vandalized a bathroom with three teammates, and when he was confronted by security guards with guns, he consciously chose to misinterpret the situation, telling the world on the "Today Show" he was the victim of a robbery.

And Lochte has paid for his poor behavior and judgment.  When the truth came out, his story -- along with his credibility and reputation -- quickly imploded.  The scandal that followed created a media frenzy that dominated the news cycle, and for nearly a week journalists scrutinized Lochte’s statements harder than those of Donald Trump. Real Clear Politics wrote that he was a “pampered entitled twit,” and Slate called him an “oaf,” “lunk,” lummox,” “knucklehead,” “doofus,” “jerk,” and “Faulknerian idiot man-child,” all in one article.      

In the midst of this criticism, however, Rio Olympics Spokesman Mario Andrada, wanting to keep the focus on the achievements of the other athletes where it belonged, tried to downplay the incident. “I understand this issue is under investigation,” he said. “Let’s give these kids a break. It’s part of life. Life goes on.” 

But the reality of the situation is that no break was given. The more that came out about Lochte, the more the press pounced. Ryan Lochte had become the pet project of the international media, the villain, the Bozo of the Week. Yet somehow liberals continued to insist Lochte was given a “free pass” for his behavior, that because of his white privilege, everything was being laughed off. 

Emma Gray, the Executive Women’s Editor of the Huffington Post, claimed this was indeed the case. In an article titled, “White Male Privilege is Why We Laugh at Lochte and Vilify Douglas,” Gray compares Lochte’s Rio scandal to the brouhaha surrounding American gymnast Gabby Douglas, who was criticized, mainly by people on social media, for not putting her hand on her heart during the playing of the National Anthem at a medal ceremony.   

Gray wrote, “It didn’t take long for people to point to the cognitive dissonance between the compassionate, light-hearted response to Lochte, Bentz, Conger and fourth swimmer Jimmy Feigen’s drunken actions, and the widespread online vilification gymnast Gabby Douglas experienced just a week prior.” 

Gray went on to explain that the “general reaction” by “people” revealed a double standard between Lochte and Douglas, and that the “vast gap between these two public perceptions has everything to do with the identities of the people involved.  Lochte is a straight, white man, who has long been beloved for his pretty face, doofy personality and charmingly slow demeanor during interviews.  Douglas is a young, black woman who has battled racialized critiques of her appearance and attitude for years, despite winning three Olympic gold medals.” 

The interesting thing was that Gray was basing her article on selected comments made by people on Twitter and Facebook -- in other words, anonymous blather from the peanut gallery -- none of which even had to be dignified with a response. Unlike Douglas, Lochte was humiliated by the mainstream media, hung out to dry by news organizations across the political spectrum, from ABC and CNN, to Fox News and the Drudge Report. How did the media treat Douglas?  Well, many have rushed to her defense, of course.

Yet people like Occupy Democrats conveniently twisted all of this around.  Here is an example of some of their propaganda, which has been flooding the pages of Facebook.

NPR also got in on the Lochte “free pass” canard that is supposedly the result of white privilege. In an article titled “Smart Thoughts on Ryan Lochte and White Privilege,” minority author Leah Donnella, in addition to defending Gabby Douglas, addressed the question, How would this have played out if Lochte weren’t a white man?  

Now, I don’t know what would have happened if Lochte were black, but I do know what happened to him as a Caucasian, and it sure wasn’t a “free pass”.       

In addition to the press destroying his character, the country of Brazil didn’t respond too kindly to Lochte’s behavior, either. For starters, they tried to revoke his passport and keep him from leaving the country. Lochte was one step ahead and already back home in the States when this became public, but that didn’t stop Brazil from trying to indict him. By this time he had hired a lawyer, who explained that Lochte would have stayed in Brazil had he been asked. Jack Conger and Gunner Bentz, two of Lochte’s friends who were caught up in his disingenuous robbery story, were pulled off a separate plane and kept in Brazil for an investigation.    

Around this time the International Olympic Committee (IOC), officially established a disciplinary commission to investigate Lochte to determine if and how Lochte and his friends should be punished. Embarrassed, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) formally apologized to the country of Brazil, stating, “the behavior of these athletes is not acceptable nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members.”     

Eventually, Conger and Bentz were allowed to leave Brazil. A third friend of Lochte, James Feigner, who also had his passport revoked, agreed to “donate” $11,000 to a Brazilian charity and was permitted to exit the country (donating money is apparently legal under Brazilian law to avoid prosecution for a minor offense). But according to NBC, the case may be far from over. “Police have said authorities are considering charges of falsely reporting a crime and destruction of property, both of which can carry up to six months in jail or a fine,” NBC recently reported. 

It’s clear Lochte’s been doing all he can to save face, including groveling in public. He recently made not one but two public apologies, one delivered in writing (which was immediately rejected by ABC Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg, who called it “as real as his story”), and one in a lengthy, tearful interview on NBC with Matt Lauer.     

So this is the reality of Lochte’s white privilege: he’s been humiliated by the press, chastised by both the IOC and USOC, investigated and forced to pay restitution by the Brazilian government, was forced to make two public apologies, and is very likely to lose millions of dollars in sponsorships.   

Whether you love Lochte or want to see him rot in a third world prison, his so-called “pass” has hardly been free.   

It’s official: Ryan Lochte has lost all four of his commercial sponsors because of the recent scandal at the Rio Olympics, which could end up costing the swimmer millions of dollars. So much for the notion that Lochte has received a “free pass” because of a so-called “white privilege,” a theory put forth by the Huffington Post, NPR, Occupy Democrats, and progressive social media users worldwide. 

Not that Lochte doesn’t deserve to lose his endorsements; his obnoxious behavior is inexcusable. He vandalized a bathroom with three teammates, and when he was confronted by security guards with guns, he consciously chose to misinterpret the situation, telling the world on the "Today Show" he was the victim of a robbery.

And Lochte has paid for his poor behavior and judgment.  When the truth came out, his story -- along with his credibility and reputation -- quickly imploded.  The scandal that followed created a media frenzy that dominated the news cycle, and for nearly a week journalists scrutinized Lochte’s statements harder than those of Donald Trump. Real Clear Politics wrote that he was a “pampered entitled twit,” and Slate called him an “oaf,” “lunk,” lummox,” “knucklehead,” “doofus,” “jerk,” and “Faulknerian idiot man-child,” all in one article.      

In the midst of this criticism, however, Rio Olympics Spokesman Mario Andrada, wanting to keep the focus on the achievements of the other athletes where it belonged, tried to downplay the incident. “I understand this issue is under investigation,” he said. “Let’s give these kids a break. It’s part of life. Life goes on.” 

But the reality of the situation is that no break was given. The more that came out about Lochte, the more the press pounced. Ryan Lochte had become the pet project of the international media, the villain, the Bozo of the Week. Yet somehow liberals continued to insist Lochte was given a “free pass” for his behavior, that because of his white privilege, everything was being laughed off. 

Emma Gray, the Executive Women’s Editor of the Huffington Post, claimed this was indeed the case. In an article titled, “White Male Privilege is Why We Laugh at Lochte and Vilify Douglas,” Gray compares Lochte’s Rio scandal to the brouhaha surrounding American gymnast Gabby Douglas, who was criticized, mainly by people on social media, for not putting her hand on her heart during the playing of the National Anthem at a medal ceremony.   

Gray wrote, “It didn’t take long for people to point to the cognitive dissonance between the compassionate, light-hearted response to Lochte, Bentz, Conger and fourth swimmer Jimmy Feigen’s drunken actions, and the widespread online vilification gymnast Gabby Douglas experienced just a week prior.” 

Gray went on to explain that the “general reaction” by “people” revealed a double standard between Lochte and Douglas, and that the “vast gap between these two public perceptions has everything to do with the identities of the people involved.  Lochte is a straight, white man, who has long been beloved for his pretty face, doofy personality and charmingly slow demeanor during interviews.  Douglas is a young, black woman who has battled racialized critiques of her appearance and attitude for years, despite winning three Olympic gold medals.” 

The interesting thing was that Gray was basing her article on selected comments made by people on Twitter and Facebook -- in other words, anonymous blather from the peanut gallery -- none of which even had to be dignified with a response. Unlike Douglas, Lochte was humiliated by the mainstream media, hung out to dry by news organizations across the political spectrum, from ABC and CNN, to Fox News and the Drudge Report. How did the media treat Douglas?  Well, many have rushed to her defense, of course.

Yet people like Occupy Democrats conveniently twisted all of this around.  Here is an example of some of their propaganda, which has been flooding the pages of Facebook.

NPR also got in on the Lochte “free pass” canard that is supposedly the result of white privilege. In an article titled “Smart Thoughts on Ryan Lochte and White Privilege,” minority author Leah Donnella, in addition to defending Gabby Douglas, addressed the question, How would this have played out if Lochte weren’t a white man?  

Now, I don’t know what would have happened if Lochte were black, but I do know what happened to him as a Caucasian, and it sure wasn’t a “free pass”.       

In addition to the press destroying his character, the country of Brazil didn’t respond too kindly to Lochte’s behavior, either. For starters, they tried to revoke his passport and keep him from leaving the country. Lochte was one step ahead and already back home in the States when this became public, but that didn’t stop Brazil from trying to indict him. By this time he had hired a lawyer, who explained that Lochte would have stayed in Brazil had he been asked. Jack Conger and Gunner Bentz, two of Lochte’s friends who were caught up in his disingenuous robbery story, were pulled off a separate plane and kept in Brazil for an investigation.    

Around this time the International Olympic Committee (IOC), officially established a disciplinary commission to investigate Lochte to determine if and how Lochte and his friends should be punished. Embarrassed, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) formally apologized to the country of Brazil, stating, “the behavior of these athletes is not acceptable nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members.”     

Eventually, Conger and Bentz were allowed to leave Brazil. A third friend of Lochte, James Feigner, who also had his passport revoked, agreed to “donate” $11,000 to a Brazilian charity and was permitted to exit the country (donating money is apparently legal under Brazilian law to avoid prosecution for a minor offense). But according to NBC, the case may be far from over. “Police have said authorities are considering charges of falsely reporting a crime and destruction of property, both of which can carry up to six months in jail or a fine,” NBC recently reported. 

It’s clear Lochte’s been doing all he can to save face, including groveling in public. He recently made not one but two public apologies, one delivered in writing (which was immediately rejected by ABC Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg, who called it “as real as his story”), and one in a lengthy, tearful interview on NBC with Matt Lauer.     

So this is the reality of Lochte’s white privilege: he’s been humiliated by the press, chastised by both the IOC and USOC, investigated and forced to pay restitution by the Brazilian government, was forced to make two public apologies, and is very likely to lose millions of dollars in sponsorships.   

Whether you love Lochte or want to see him rot in a third world prison, his so-called “pass” has hardly been free.