Advice to an Entitled American

Why am I not feeling appeased by Ryan Lochte's apology for his blatant lie about the details of last Sunday in Rio de janeiro? I'll tell you why: it was done on Instagram (or Twitter, or whatever the hell you call it). After issuing an ingenuous apology ("I should have been more careful and candid") he said the following: "It's traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country--with a language barrier--and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave."

That sounds to me like someone who is portraying himself as a victim rather than one who perpetrated

the problem by damaging a bathroom in a drunken stupor and by lying the next day about Brazilians cocking a gun to his forehead and stealing his money. In lying the way he did, he smeared Brazil's reputation, taking advantage of a country with a high crime rate. I applaud the Brazilian authorities for pursuing the truth and restoring a measure of integrity to their country, which has already experienced more than its fair share of criticism for its poor economy, shady politics, and public health issues.

Lochte's behavior and actions last Sunday night--and the following day during his lie-ridden interview--stink of privilege, arrogance, and entitlement. What makes it worse for me is that he fled the country, leaving his much younger friends to receive the worst of the interrogation and shame. (What a friend!) Meanwhile, in the comfort of his home, he offers an apology on Instagram. Honestly, I don't even know what Instagram is, and I don't want to know. What I do know is it's not an acceptable forum for offering an apology. Here's what I suggest to Ryan Lochte, if he wants to be genuine and proper:

He needs to get on the next plane to Brazil to show his face to the Brazilian people and make a formal apology. As an Olympian athlete, he is a cultural ambassador, representing the United States, not just himself. If he goes back to Brazil, he will accomplish two important objectives: he will help reverse the image that many Brazilians probably have of Americans as being privileged and entitled, and he will learn some humility (not to mention that he will learn old-fashioned communication skills, outside the scope of Instagram and Twitter).

If he fails to act as I suggest, he should expect that--as fast as he is able to swim--his reputation will take a dive in waters much deeper than those of which he is accustomed.

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