Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Bless you, Ryan Lochte (Updated)

While true that if you hold Ryan Lochte’s head up to your ear you can hear the ocean, the American swimmer is today a most valuable resource.

Yes, yes, he has given even ugly Americans a bad name. After the way his idiocy hijacked the last week of the Rio Olympics, he is deserving of some special, imaginative punishment: Let’s say a public Brazilian waxing, administered by a spiteful Sao Paulo cabana boy. (But certainly not a banishment that would extend through the next Olympic cycle).

All that said, there is one other thing to say.

Thank you, Ryan Lochte.

You did more to teach our kids about the corrosive properties of a stupid lie than a hundred sermons by their parents. Every adult who ever told their child, “Look, don’t lie; just tell the truth, it will go a lot easier on you,” now own a priceless piece of supporting evidence.

The words, “Look what happened to Lochte,” should be enough to scare a whole generation of would-be fibbers straight.

So, a group of U.S. swimmers go a little Brazil nuts after their Olympic competition is done. They have a little confrontation that involves some unwise urination and minor vandalism. You know what they call this “international incident” back in Gunnar Bentz’s college town of Athens? Saturday night.

But, then, inexplicably, Lochte concocted a more harrowing tale – an “over-exaggeration” as told NBC’s Matt Lauer – that put a very sensitive host country in a bad light. And all absurdity broke loose.

Whereas, if he simply had told the event as it happened – or better yet, kept shut a yap that has been overly lubricated by too much reality show experience – we at the worst would be laughing off the whole thing by now.

Instead, he wandered down a winding path of no return. And, kids, as you can clearly see, the care and feeding of a silly lie is exhausting, like trying to raise a wolverine cub. Sooner or later, it’s going to turn on you.

So, thank you, Ryan Lochte, for one of the monumental Olympic goofs. You have performed a great public service.

(Update: Speedo just dropped its sponsorship of Lochte, meaning, I guess, that when/if he swims again, he will appear in cut-off jeans. As a one time Florida Gator, that should feel quite comfortable.)

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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.