by Dr. T
Is truth absolute? Is a lie just the opposite of the truth or can it be a gradation of the truth in shades of grey, just a little bit true or a little bit false? U.S. Olympic Champion Ryan Lochte admits now that he exaggerated his story and omitted other important details, when he told a reporter for MSNBC that he and 3 of his teammates were robbed at gunpoint after a raucous night out celebrating the incredibly successful competition that the U.S. Swim Team had at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro Brazil last month. Ryan Lochte’s insatiable need for attention and a portion of the international “spotlight”, a large percentage of which had just been showered on his teammate Michael Phelps and the historic 26 Olympic medals won–of which 23 were gold–over a storied career, may have clouded his judgment when Lochte told a tall tale of a roadside robbery at gunpoint and embellished the details. Lochte has always come up short in the shadow of Phelps and, this time, in Rio he had an opportunity to become an international news story in his own right albeit away from the swimming pool.
Unfortunately, the “story” did not play out as expected when the Brazilian Police began to investigate the charges being leveled by Lochte, especially the claims that the perpetrators were flashing police badges and that the victims had been held up at gunpoint and made to lay down on the ground. Upon investigation, the Brazilian authorities found huge holes in Lochte’s story and held an international press conference to expose the fraud. Lochte indeed became an international news sensation and sent social media into a virtual firestorm. The attention he sought was not the kind of attention he was receiving. By the time the story was sent around the world, Lochte had left Brazil and his teammates behind to face the police and the press. Given his age of 32, and the younger athletes he left behind to ultimately face charges and pay fines in excess of 10,000 USD, Ryan Lochte’s character and integrity have been under extreme scrutiny. He has lost lucrative sponsorships and is facing possible criminal charges and sanctions by the U.S. Olympic governing body.
It seems lying is not only overtly creating story lines that are not true, but also stretching; embellishing and slanting the story you are telling in order to produce a new version of said story fraught with falsehood. Lying is also omitting key elements of the story that, ultimately, render the whole story untrue. Most people don’t usually excuse liars out of hand or believe that all truth is “relative.” But in Ryan Lochte’s case, many people jumped out to defend him and explain away the situation he’s in by not telling the truth and intentionally misleading media and government authorities. The whole incident was “poo poo’d” as just some kids out for some fun, celebrating the Olympics. Ah… the privilege, to be considered “just a kid” when you are 32-years-old, not to mention this is not your first Olympic games. Let’s just consider the characterizations made of 12-year-old Tamir Rice when he was gunned down within 3 seconds of police arriving at his neighborhood playground because the police deemed him to be an adult male armed and dangerous, or 17- year- old Trayvon Martin unarmed walking in his neighborhood wearing a hoodie, or 17-year-old Jordan Davis massacred in the backseat of a friend’s car for playing his music too loud. All of these young males were Black and according to the people who killed them, they presented a very real perception of danger. They did not have the privilege to be perceived as the children that they actually were, but Ryan Lochte at 32 is considered “just a kid” having a fun night out? That is the biggest LIE.