Any American who has ever traveled to a non-English-speaking third-world craphole knows one simple fact: the locals are always trying to shake you down for some of that sweet sweet cash you're carrying. Always. There's always a scam in the offing, always a cabbie looking to take you for a literal and figurative ride. You have to be on the lookout, because foreigners know that Americans would rather throw money at a problem to make it go away than get involved with local authorities.
Enter Ryan Lochte, six-time gold medalist swimmer for the United States of America. Now, look: I've long been skeptical of Lochte, a favorite of past Free Beacon employees such as Robert Charette. When I describe the Fast and Furious films as "James Bond flicks for the Ryan Lochte set," it's not a compliment. He's a bro's bro, a jeah-spewing duderino.
But goddammit he's our duderino. An American hero of a duderino, even, racking up medal after medal in four straight Olympics.
So, needless to say, I was skeptical when news started to trickle out of Brazil that Lochte had lied to the cops about a boys-will-be-boys moment at a local gas station. Sounded to me like a classic third world shakedown.
And, sure enough:
But a narrative of the night’s events – constructed by USA TODAY Sports from witness statements, official investigations, surveillance videos and media reports – supports Lochte’s later account in which he said he thought the swimmers were being robbed when they were approached at a gas station by armed men who flashed badges, pointed guns at them and demanded money.
It didn't help that Lochte was in no state to discuss the evening's events when he offered his first comments on the developing situation:
Ryan Lochte says he lied to NBC about being robbed because he was still drunk from the night before: https://t.co/3r27eW8JMr
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) August 22, 2016
But it sounds pretty obvious what happened: Ryan Lochte misbehaved a bit, possibly due to language barriers, locals looking for cash took advantage, and then the noted dumb-dumb either lied or exaggerated about what happened because he was still drunk and didn't want to get in trouble with his mom. Even the judges in Brazil aren't sure that the scumbag security guards weren't robbing the Americans:
A Brazilian judge says police might have been hasty in determining the security guards, by how they dealt with the swimmers, did not commit a robbery. A lawyer who has practiced in Brazil for 25 years says she does not think the actions of Lochte and teammate Jimmy Feigen constitute the filing of a false police report as defined under Brazilian law.
Which office does Ryan Lochte go to get his reputation back?
Frankly, this is an assault on the American national character. And a nation in America's position cannot afford to look foolish. My only remaining question is a simple one: When do the bombing runs on Brazil start?