American swimmers Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen hijacked the second week of the Olympics…
Their ill-advised and immature antics sucked the life right out of the Games, but I don’t want to rehash what they did. I’m sure you already know, and if you don’t, you can read the recap here. I want to discuss the REAL losers of #LochteGate.
1. NBC: The exclusive home of the Olympics until 2032, NBC broke the story when Billy Bush, having just graduated from being the host of Access Hollywood to NBC Today Show correspondent, got the exclusive story by chance. He found Ryan Lochte on the beach the day of the incident and filmed the interview on his iPhone. I’m sure Bush thought he had THE story of the Olympics. Unfortunately, he is not a seasoned reporter and failed to ask important follow-up questions: What did the men look like? How much money was taken?, etc. I think it was a ballsy and risky move for the network to air the story without further vetting, and in the end, since the story was a lie, the network’s reputation took a hit. Watch Billy Bush and AL Roker argue about the story here.
2. Bentz, Conger, and Feigen: The relatively unknown swimmers had a chance to make a name for themselves after winning gold in Rio. Unfortunately, they will probably be remembered more for their night of partying rather than their achievements in the pool…and marketers will take note. Olympians hope to capitalize on endorsements after the games and this incident will likely have a negative effect on any future endorsement deals for these three. Add in the disappointment in knowing you’ve let down your families, friends, and country – it’s got to hurt.
3. Ryan Lochte: His decision to lie will cost him millions in endorsements and will forever be a dirty footnote to his career. Polo Ralph Lauren Corp has already taken down any mention of Lochte on their site, and Speedo, another of his sponsors says it’s “monitoring the situation closely.” Future business opportunities for Lochte will be slim to none.
4. USA: We don’t need any more bad press, so when a 32-year-old 12-time American Olympic medalist accuses the Olympic host country of a crime, and then shamelessly plays victim rather than owning up to his mistake, it makes ALL OF US, our entire nation, look like we’re entitled, phony, privileged punks. #Thanks4That
5. ALL the OTHER athletes whose inspiring storylines and successes were overshadowed by this embarrassing story: #LochteGate took away their time to shine and that pisses me off. #AllApologies
There is surely more to come from this story: interviews, suspensions, indictments maybe, but what I really hope resonates for not only future Olympians, but for our society as a whole: your actions have consequences. Remember, most of the time it’s not the crime that takes you down, but the cover-up. #Watergate #EmailScandal #MantiTeo