Fans To Media: Leave Ryan Lochte Alone
Why won't this story go away already?
It’s been more than a week since Ryan Lochte sparked an international incident by taking a drunken piss in an alley behind a gas station in Rio, and we still don’t know exactly what happened.
A comically exhaustive investigation by USA TODAY found that a poster at the gas station was indeed vandalized, but the soap dispenser in the bathroom—alleged to have also been damaged—appears to be in good working order. Armed men flashing security badges took money from Lochte and the three other American swimmers accompanying him on his bender, but it may not qualify as robbery under Brazilian law if the amount taken doesn’t exceed the value of the damaged property.
There’s still no word on whether the gray spot in the surveillance video is a second pisser on the grassy knoll, but this much we do know: A minor kerfuffle took place at a gas station in Rio during the Olympics, it gave American news media an aneurysm, and at the center of it is a lovable doofus with a bad dye job and dreamy dimples.
While the extent of his guilt may fall in a gray area, the subsequent media fallout was enough for the #brands to bid adieu to Lochte. Speedo and Ralph Lauren were among the companies to sever ties with the 12-time Olympic medalist this week, and more may follow if new, possibly even more pointless details emerge.
And this doesn’t sit well with diehard Lochte fans, which are apparently a thing. In the wake of his lost endorsement deals and ongoing media scrutiny, particularly from The Today Show’s Matt Lauer, fans took to Twitter to deliver a Britney-esque plea for mercy: Leave Ryan Lochte alone!
@RyanLochte Hillary lies about Benghazi & she's almost president.Leave this alone. This kid has worked hard, makes one mistake & crucified
— Adrenna (@AdrennaA) August 23, 2016
— NASCAR Insider (@NASCAR__Insider) August 23, 2016
— paula21867 (@grits21867) August 22, 2016
— Machelle (@Minx970) August 22, 2016
— diana guerrero (@diana1216) August 21, 2016
— Non HumanGMO (@NonHumanGMO) August 21, 2016
— Leeann Peterson (@peterson_leean) August 21, 2016
Despite it having been covered exhaustively, Lochte’s story has somehow not yet played out. Two of his fellow swimmers, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, won’t face charges. Jimmy Feigen, who has an equally bad but less interesting dye job than Lochte, coughed up $11,000 escape prosecution. But possible charges against Lochte have yet to proceed.
What is certain is that this story refuses to go away.