The timeline of Ryan Lochte’s robbery fabrication is both incredible and incredulous. Lochte lied about the events that transpired from beginning to end. Lochte and and the three other U.S. swimmers were not robbed at gunpoint by armed men posing as police officers as Lochte claimed. When the story became a media sensation U.S. State Department officials told Lochte and the others to stay silent on the matter, upon which advice Lochte walked across the street and spoke to NBC. He subsequently lied in an interview with Matt Lauer.
When Brazilian authorities questioned the accounts of Lochte and the other swimmers search and seizure warrants were issued. Two of the swimmers were pulled off a plane. But Lochte was already back in the United States, where he stood by his original story. That is until the other swimmers involved in the incident issued statements outlining the actual events of that night and saying they stood by Lochte’s statement originally based on a desire to support him.
In reality the swimmers went to a party, stopped at a gas station on their way back to the Olympic Village, Lochte vandalized an advertisement at the gas station and then the swimmers were forced to pay money to two armed men who were supposedly security guards in order that the swimmers were allowed to go back to the Village. In response to this undercovering of events Lochte apologized for not being “not being more careful and candid”. And now Brazil wants Lochte back to testify over his robbery claim.
While Brazilian authorities are not blameless in this string of events, with their initial take of events itself called into question and seemingly blackmailing the swimmers into paying to leave the country, but it is hard to argue Ryan Lochte is not responsible for what has become an international incident.
But responsibility that has become a flashpoint at NBC. Last week on the TODAY show Al Roker and Billy Bush debated the blame placed on Lochte:
While the majority of Americans side with Roker, apparently NBC does not. According to a source,
“There were several producers and talent who were left trying to explain Al’s over-the-top behavior…Several insiders found themselves wanting to distance themselves from his response…It was a great thing to watch online, but a lot of NBC staff thought that he took it way too far for something that, while it was certainly a legitimate issue and certainly bad behavior by Lochte, outrage to that level just wasn’t justified.”
Roker argued that Lochte lied. Which he did, repeatedly. How is that taking it “way too far”? Even if NBC’s reaction is based more on Roker’s delivery rather than his contentm why would NBC need to distance themselves from his argument? The answer appears to be that NBC is concerned about its relationship with the International Olympic Committee and athletes.
In other words, NBC is more concerned with how their coverage reflects on their business relationships than how its coverage reflects the truth. Even after the Olympics end NBC cannot stop screwing up the Olympics.