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Send Ryan Lochte Back To Rio

First of all, let me get this off my chest. You knew I was going to say something like this, but Dan Rather says it with so much more authority:

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You would have to be the most incompetent or most uninterested journalist in the world to fail to find stories down here in this drama. For example, right under my own nose this morning, I can’t rouse my boys early to go to church (today is the Feast of the Transfiguration). I don’t think it’s because they’re too tired from mucking all day yesterday. I think they’re too shaken up by what they saw of the destruction of people’s lives by the flood, especially the old lady who nearly died of a heatstroke in her flooded home, right in front of their eyes. The younger of my sons is crying this morning, saying he couldn’t sleep at all last night. I believe him. And these are kids who did not lose their home, like so many, many others like them have.

This is emotionally difficult for the boys, but this is a good experience for them. They need to know what our neighbors are going through, and they need to have the experience of serving them in their hour of great need. A friend of mine in St. Francisville wrote on his Facebook page:

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Here’s a shot of the group my friend and his grandson worked with: a Cajun Navy crew that saved old folks from a flooded nursing home. I don’t know the people in the photo, but Facebook indicates that one of these two men is named Ryan Evans:

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So that’s one Ryan for you, doing what men, not punks, do — as well as one very young man, a boy named J.J., learning what it is to be a man. These things are happening everywhere here in Louisiana, right now. We have a whole generation of kids who are too young to remember Katrina, and who are having to go through this the first time. Those kids fortunate enough not to have lost their homes are learning from their parents and grandparents, and through hands-on experience, what their (our) debt of love is to our neighbors who did.

Here is the story of another American named Ryan [4] — US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, 32, a privileged, gold medal-winning man-child who, in a night of drunken partying, [5]abused the hospitality of his Brazilian hosts, grossly insulted them, lied about it in the international media and caused scandal to them, and who has finally been revealed for the lying punk that he is. He brought shame onto his nation, and owes the Brazilians a public apology, at the very least.

I wish they would send Lochte back to Brazil to face up to what he has done. Maybe the Brazilians will agree to stand down from extradition in exchange for Lochte spending the next month here in the subtropics, helping people muck their houses. Maybe it will teach him something. Sounds like this 32-year-old has a lot to learn about manhood from a 10-year-old Louisiana boy named J.J.

As for the news media, who have made Ryan Lochte and his spoiled-child act into days of headlines, well, I’m afraid they are beyond rehabilitation.

39 Comments (Open | Close)

39 Comments To "Send Ryan Lochte Back To Rio"

#1 Comment By Adamant On August 19, 2016 @ 8:28 am

J.J., mensch. What a story and what a fine young man he’ll be.

We have an extradition treaty with Brazil, yes? Ship that stupid boy back air freight to be held account for his crimes.

#2 Comment By Sawbuck On August 19, 2016 @ 8:34 am

I have been reading and sharing as widely as able your posts on the flooding. Right now I feel like I am watching that scene in “The Natural” when Roy Hobbs hit the ball so hard the cover came off and unraveled.

Keep telling the stories, Rod. It is important they get told again and again.

#3 Comment By Rich On August 19, 2016 @ 8:36 am

Thank you, Rod, for the stories of what’s going on. Haven’t seen any such reports any where else.

Good to see that Trump’s on his way down there (while Obama vacations and Hillary rests).
‘When one state hurts, we all hurt – and we must all work together to lift each other up’
— Donald Trump

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 19, 2016 @ 8:53 am

Npw that’s a good column. Just the facts, harsh as they are.

#5 Comment By Bernie On August 19, 2016 @ 8:54 am

Rod, your children are fortunate to have you and Julie as parents. It’s bracing and instructive to experience suffering when we’re young because suffering is part of every life and there’s no escaping it. How it affects the young depends largely on their family’s response. Does it defeat us or does it carve us out for more empathy and sensitivity toward the suffering of others? Does it make us more grateful? Smash the idol of Self? Result in more wisdom? Impress us with our fragility and limitations? Make us KINDER? Suffering ranks among life’s best instructors.

#6 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 19, 2016 @ 8:58 am

Thank God I never would have heard of this Lochte had it not been for reading it here. Our heads have limited space and what are they being filled with by our handlers?

#7 Comment By Jeff On August 19, 2016 @ 9:10 am

Or, send him to Louisiana and let him work mucking for a few days. Might do his heart good.

#8 Comment By stillaninterestedobserver On August 19, 2016 @ 9:15 am

Well said, simply put.

#9 Comment By AMH On August 19, 2016 @ 9:25 am

My primary news sources are the Today show in the morning and the Washington Post. Both had a story about the floods about two days ago, but I haven’t seen anything more since. Lots about wildfires and, of course, Ryan Lochte.

I like Obama. The explanations for why he hasn’t visited LA make some sense to me, though reasonable people can disagree. I don’t understand though why he hasn’t at least held a press conference to bring attention to the flooding.

I’m not close enough to help, but I’ve sent a donation through the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

#10 Comment By Wes On August 19, 2016 @ 9:27 am

ABC’s evening news last night led with Lochte. Louisiana got a few seconds, roughly 1/3 the amount of the coverage of the California wild fires and about 1/4 the airtime spent showing an interview with a Trump surrogate who wouldn’t acknowledge they were down in the polls. Embarrassing Trump was more of a priority for them than showing the monumental good and bad coming out of south Louisiana.

#11 Comment By CSFord On August 19, 2016 @ 9:32 am

The first part of your article is spot on. Good people doing good things for their neighbors.

The part about Ryan Lochte, well, I’m sure him and his friends were up to some drunken shenanigans but it also sounds like they were hustled by both private security and the Brazilian government.

#12 Comment By KD On August 19, 2016 @ 9:33 am


Help is on the way:


#13 Comment By K-Dog-One On August 19, 2016 @ 9:40 am

Two days ago, a mainstream media commentator stated that the current controversy surrounding Ryan Lochte will have serious negative effects on Lochte’s future viability as a public personality.

I seriously doubt that will happen. If anything, the controversy will benefit Lochte’s public personality. How grotesque. Such is the culture in which we live.

[NFR: It’s like a Kardashian sex tape. — RD]

#14 Comment By Elijah On August 19, 2016 @ 9:40 am

Lochte is 32; one wonders if he will ever grow up.

I’m old enough to remember when athletes were proud to represent their nations and acted with dignity and respect for others (at least for the most part).

Now we have craphounds like Lochte and poor sports like Hope Solo. So the degradation of popular culture continues.

#15 Comment By adh-dhariyat On August 19, 2016 @ 9:48 am

Send Lochte down to Louisiana to do community service. That way, the news media will finally focus on this disaster.

#16 Comment By M_Young On August 19, 2016 @ 9:57 am

Does Facebook force people to use san-serif fonts in long, run-together paragraphs?

#17 Comment By Dan On August 19, 2016 @ 10:14 am

While much of the story is in dispute, the only thing that is not is that 4 Olympic athletes were detained by multiple gunmen until they handed over an undisclosed amount of money.

What level of dickishness the swimmers displayed at the gas station preceding the shake down is in dispute.

It seems that Brazil is releasing the last Olympic swimmer hostage after fining him for $10,000. Americans should be outraged when Brazil was holding the last Olympic swimmer, but now that he is released. I think both sides can start moving on.

#18 Comment By Hound of Ulster On August 19, 2016 @ 10:17 am

Ryan Lochte is a national embarrassment…Trump is going down there, will probably make it all about himself like he usually does.

#19 Comment By T.S.Gay On August 19, 2016 @ 11:00 am

We lost respect for Dan Rather when he used the Killian documents for two weeks on air about George Bush, when they had been proven forgeries. But we believe in forgiveness. Mine starts here and now, because Dan Rather couldn’t be more right on about the news media and Louisiana….higher standards indeed.

#20 Comment By RJ On August 19, 2016 @ 11:15 am

So the story from the Brazilian authorities is the a couple of badge wearing armed guards did confront the swimmers, one of the did pull a gun, and they did demand money from the swimmers before they were allowed to leave. Oh, and they released a video from the gas station with 3 minutes cut out.

So now the whole world can feel free to dogpile Ryan Lochte. Because he’s a liar.

I have a feeling that once all four swimmers are out of Brazil and no longer being directly threatened that the story will change, but nobody will care. “Hoax” will be stuck in everybody’s brains for years.

#21 Comment By Elijah On August 19, 2016 @ 11:25 am

If you want to be further sickened, read his “apology”.

#22 Comment By Oldgus On August 19, 2016 @ 11:43 am

Thanks, Rod, for saying so well what I’ve been thinking. The heroic efforts of the people of Louisiana far outshine the attention of the media elite and Obama, Hillary, and Trump. California wildfires (bad enough of course) receive beaucoup more attention than the devastation in Cajun country. You folks are wondering where your seat and west coast neighbors are. Watching their screens. As you put it in another piece “subsidiarity” being practiced at home. Bless you all.

#23 Comment By Charles Cosimano On August 19, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

I find the Ryan Loche story more amusing than annoying. Now, admittedly, I consider all athletes to be refugees from a freak show and olympic athletes the most worthless of the bunch. I honestly cannot understand why anyone would care about, much less be inspired in any way by them. It does not register on my radar.

I honestly don’t get the Olympics and I think they are a total waste of time and money.

A bunch of idiots get into a fight in a gas station bathroom and then claim they were robbed. It’s hilarious. That the idiots happen to a bunch of young men who paddle around a swimming pool only makes it funnier.

I think that Loche and his crewe have already had the worst possible punishment that can befall an Olympic athlete. No Wheaties box for them!

#24 Comment By Adam Kolasinski On August 19, 2016 @ 12:05 pm

Thanks for your posts on the Louisiana floods, Rod. I find them sad but also, in a way, uplifting because of the way you Louisianans appear to be handling it so well.

That photo is so emblematic of it all. The people in it look cheerful! It is truly admirable how they can maintain such a demeanor in the face of hardship.

#25 Comment By jonf311 On August 19, 2016 @ 3:39 pm

Please. The only way Trump, or Hillary, could help Louisiana in person is by spewing enough hot air to dry things out.

#26 Comment By naturalmom On August 19, 2016 @ 3:51 pm

Elijah: I’m old enough to remember when athletes were proud to represent their nations and acted with dignity and respect for others (at least for the most part).

I have no use for Lochte or Solo. Their behavior has embarrassed them and our country. I do feel the need to call out your broad brush, however. “Remembering” when athletes behaved with dignity and respect implies that such behavior is a thing of the past. I disagree. The vast majority of our Olympians have been excellent representatives of our country. (No doubt there were jerks in the past as well, who, in an age of more controlled media were able to escape censure.) Please don’t besmirch our hard-working, wonderful athletes by judging them all according to the actions of a couple.

#27 Comment By Alan On August 19, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

Rod, I’m quite surprised at you. One day, you’re lambasting the media for only running with sensationalist, entertainment driven “stories”, then the next (this case), you’re taking as the truth what they’re telling you about the swimmers. So, which will it be Rod? I don’t trust anything the MS “media” tells me about anything, so that applies to the Lochte “story” as well. If the Brazilian “police” spent as much time and effort investigating all of the actual crime in their country as they’ve spent on this non-story, they might not be overrun with criminals. And “Owing the Brazilians an apology”?? Please. Brazil is a joke of a country that would never be hosting these games (if you can even call what they are doing as hosting) were it not for corruption and the PC police, better known as the IOC.

#28 Comment By Alan On August 19, 2016 @ 4:52 pm

For those who think that Lochte and the other swimmers are the only athletes in Rio acting without dignity, I’ve got some clean water from the beaches of Rio I’d like to sell you. So Phelps, with his two DUI’s (an action that unlike Lochte actually did endanger others) and his marijuana use is a hero, while Lochte is a goon. OK, I got it, that’s the narrative. Ain’t hypocrisy grand?

#29 Comment By EngineerScotty On August 19, 2016 @ 8:07 pm

I’m actually going to defend Lochte somewhat–not for what he did, which was dumb.

In some sense, dumb jocks will be dumb jocks–and the Lochte incident is about a 3 on the ten-point scale of dumb-jock-dom. Were this some anonymous drunk kicking down a locked bathroom door at a gas station and being shaken down by the security guard, it wouldn’t even make the newspaper–and in some towns, the cops wouldn’t show up to take a report. (The dumb jock antics that should be regarded seriously are those things that would be serious crimes, even if not committed by a prominent athlete).

The scandal, as you note, is that dumb jock antics seem to a) be getting lots of press, and b) being hoisted as a morality play by folks right, left, and center. (Likewise for other bits of Olympic outrage, such as complaints directed at athletes concerning incorrect medal stand protocol during the National Anthem, and various right-wing memes about the “liberal media” allegedly ignoring American skeet-shooting medalist Kim Rhode).

But blaming Lochte for the behavior of the media is putting the cart before the horse.

#30 Comment By bob On August 19, 2016 @ 10:15 pm

The only thing less worth paying attention to than the bratty swimmer is the pathetic shell of Dan. I have no interest in the one after he dried off or the other since he managed to foul his own nest and get fired. Both men need to be advised on where to urinate.

#31 Comment By John On August 19, 2016 @ 10:28 pm

It reminds me of John Olluver’s show in Subday. He used the issue of political corruption in state governments but the same principle applies. Reporters should be writing the stories that are important and that includes natural disasters like the one Louisiana is now living through. Substitute the Rio story for the cats on videotape example on John Oliver’s show and you get the idea.

The press coverage stinks.

Horse race. Horse race. Rio. Horse race. Syria? Nah. Louisiana? Nah.

Something is wrong with this picture.

#32 Comment By Neal On August 20, 2016 @ 9:12 am

Wishing suffering out of proportion to the offense on someone we don’t even know over something so trivial is a character flaw. I’m also guessing it would be a sin, but I’m no christian theologian.

#33 Comment By Neal On August 20, 2016 @ 9:17 am

Dreher: “US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, 32, a privileged, gold medal-winning man-child who, in a night of drunken partying, abused the hospitality of his Brazilian hosts, grossly insulted them, lied about it in the international media and caused scandal to them, and who has finally been revealed for the lying punk that he is. He brought shame onto his nation, and owes the Brazilians a public apology, at the very least.”

In other news…

“SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Saturday that a diplomat in its London embassy who recently defected to South Korea had fled rather than face punishment for various crimes, calling him “human scum.”

I’m sure none of us want to admit to viewing that swimmer the same way NK views their traitor.

[NFR: That’s nuts. Really, nuts. Ryan Lochte was and is a punk, nothing more. He’s not a traitor, for pity’s sake! — RD]

#34 Comment By Mother Olga On August 20, 2016 @ 11:47 am

Almost 100% of the Louisiana flood footage and reporting come from the Baton Rouge area. Has anyone been further west and checked with the folks in, say, Lafayette? I understand they are in dire straights, also.

#35 Comment By DonCHi On August 20, 2016 @ 2:17 pm

I lived in Rio for awhile, and I saw this story somewhat differently. What I saw was some still-young guys out celebrating in a city that defines itself by its partying (and is also one of the most corrupt and violent cities in the world.) They stopped at a gas station to go to the bathroom, and Ryan apparently punched a sign in a bathroom. As they were about to leave, uniformed gas station rent-a-cops stopped them, drew their guns and shook them down for money. They drew their guns and pointed them at the men, which is universal sign language for “I will shoot you and kill you to if you flee.” I haven’t heard any criticism at all of this action. Why Lochte made the story sound only slightly worse than the truth is, indeed, baffling, but I can’t help but think that if these athletes were black and those holding the guns white we’d be having a much more… nuanced conversation right now. Happily, the guys in question were presumably straight white American males. So let the ridiculously disproportionate hate fest begin.

#36 Comment By Johnny Alamo On August 20, 2016 @ 3:18 pm

The media needs to focus less on the misconduct of celebrities and more on real-world people. They also need to focus more on government misconduct, whistleblowing, and warmongering – and quit repeating the government line handed to them through their own special privilege access. Of course the Lochte story is big news, being part of the USA team behavior at the once-in-four-years summer Olympics.

I am not going to be to hard on Lochte, nor will I call him a punk. He has worked too hard for too many years to achieve his goals, knowing he will likely play second fiddle to Phelps, but going hard in spite of that. On the night in question, the video I saw showed some American athletes forced to squat on the ground by a man with a gun, who admittedly strong-armed them for fifty dollars, which after the event was claimed to be payment for some damage they allegedly did to the very public restroom nearby. Now the price to be paid is up to eleven thousand dollars, so I see this more a continuation of the system in Rio where you get the protection you pay for, and if you have money you pay the piper one way or the other. Had Lochte not agreed to the eleven thousand dollar bribe, he would have had to pay his own lawyers five or ten times that amount, so if he seems to willingly have agreed to the price, I believe it was because it was a bargain compared to being embroiled in legal troubles in a foreign country which has a history of bribes and corruption.

There will always be celebrity and there will always be world tragedies. One does not have to exclude the other, but when the media does reduce coverage of a major tragedy in favor of enhanced coverage of a celebrity scandal, they should be called for it. But when it happens, we should not make the celebrity a more evil person just because of the media focus – there are two sides to the Lochte story, and the one video I saw had him forced to the ground and forced to hand over cash to an armed man.

#37 Comment By das On August 20, 2016 @ 5:42 pm

“It seems that Brazil is releasing the last Olympic swimmer hostage after fining him for $10,000. Americans should be outraged when Brazil was holding the last Olympic swimmer, but now that he is released. I think both sides can start moving on.”

I can’t figure out this comment.

In what sense is holding a person who committed a crime “hostage”? He filed a phony police report. Like in the US, that’s a crime in Brazil.

If anyone else had gone down to Brazil and committed a crime and got caught, they would have been put in jail. Because he was an Olympic athlete, he presumably got special treatment. Tehran 1979 this is not.

#38 Comment By John Uebersax On August 21, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

RD – You know that feeling that comes over one and makes one want to blurt out “that guy’s a punk” or the like?

Well, giving into that is a sin, isn’t it?

#39 Comment By DonCHi On August 23, 2016 @ 7:56 pm