Ryan Lochte’s attempt at an apology for lying about being robbed at gunpoint was no apology at all. Instead it was more subterfuge that suggests a gaping hole in his character, it demonstrates an undeniable level of cowardice.
We live in a pretty forgiving society. Everyone makes mistakes. We pay the price, hopefully learn from it, and move on. When it comes to strategic communications in times of crisis, the idea to alleviate the problem. Lochte’s statement has exacerbated the issue.
The non-apology issued by Lochte suggests that he thinks the gold hanging from his neck exonerates him from his frat-boy behavior. It also suggests that he is alone or perhaps just surrounded by people who see no future for the swimmer (how else to explain that attempt at an apology?).
Olympians occupy a special place in sports – more than representing a team or themselves or sponsors, they represent their country. The rampaging of a gas station bathroom by Lochte and other American swimmers reflects poorly on all Americans.
Their actions are the embodiment of the Ugly Americans. Not only did the swimmers vandalize a small business owner, they then attempted use Brazil’s reputation for crime as a getaway scheme and position themselves as the victims.
Lochte and Co. need to sincerely apologize. No more statements. They should meet with the media to explain exactly what happened and express their heartfelt regret for their actions. This is their chance as Americans to show the world they not only made a mistake but they are willing to completely own up to it.
At this point, few people really care about the swimmer’s reputations or what happens to them — they need to do the right thing on behalf of their country. It’s an opportunity to show the world that they are winners and not cowards.
Lochte has played second fiddle to Michael Phelps his entire career. Phelps was able to successfully rally back from a career threatening mistake. He owned his errors and seems to have become a better person for having endured. Lochte has the chance to again follow in Phelps footsteps. We will if he is man enough to do so.