*Well, lyin’ Ryan Lochte can start saying goodbye to his endorsements. That’s because his mea culpa to Matt Lauer or as he put it, his “over-exaggeration” of what went down in Rio at the gas station, wasn’t enough to keep Speedo from cutting him loose today.
The athletic wear company issued a statement saying it was not at all happy with his behavior in Rio and hopes the incident is a teachable moment for him. Speedo also said it will donate $50K of his endorsement fee to charity.
Lauer, in his interview with Lochte, which aired Saturday and this morning on “Today,” accurately predicted that the swimmer, having taken a pee pee in some bushes outside a gas station and trashing a metal framed poster on the wall “could cost you a lot of money.”
“It could,” Lochte agreed, adding that it’s something he would have to live with. But, he argued to Lauer while presumably hoping sponsors were listening, “I know what I did was wrong, and I learned my lesson, and all I can do now is…make sure this kind of stuff never happens again.”
If you missed it, the gold medal winning swimmer’s trouble began when he told NBC’s Billy Bush that he his taxi was pulled over while in Rio, and he was robbed by a man who’d put a gun to his head. He later told Lauer the gun was pointed in his general direction and also changed details to say the taxi was stopped and the driver had refused to drive away around the time he was robbed. Rio police, however, held a news conference to say Lochte was not a victim, but a vandal, having urinated outside a gas station and ripped a poster off the wall, then got loud, aggressive and angry when a security guard told him he could not leave without paying for the damage and the guard pulled his gun.
You can pretty much bet that other sponsors are going to give him the heave ho as well. But the other problem he’s anticipating is what the US Olympics committee has in mind him in the way of punishment.
Already, with an eye on the upcoming Tokyo Summer Games, he’s be begging for mercy. He’s his message to sponsors via the interview with Lauer:
“I know I can turn this around and become that role model for little kids. I don’t want little kids to look at me for what I just did, for that one night. Or the whole United States, or the entire world, for that matter.”
Lochte, 32, added that he did not want to be thought of as “a drunk frat boy”: “I want to be a role model for those little kids and I know I can change that.”