It’ a serious thing to falsely report an incident that can spoil the reputation of a nation. That’s what appears to have happened this week at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Four, decorated, U.S. male swimmers who won medals in the Games were arrested by police after the young men left a party at France House, a restaurant and bar that was set up for the Olympics. The arrest apparently occurred at a gas station because security or employees there called in the police. The police say the men broke down a bathroom door at the gas station and that there was some damage inside it.
The young Americans had a different story. They said their vehicle in which they were driving was pulled over by thieves pretending to be police officers, and the criminals then robbed them at gunpoint. The police, and perhaps witnesses, claimed otherwise. Fernando Veloso, chief of Rio’s police, alleged at a press conference, “It seems that they lied. No robbery was committed against these athletes.”
The case went to court Wednesday. The judge viewed video surveillance of the swimmers and then seized their passports and ordered that three of them not leave the country. Somehow, the other member of the foursome, 32-year old Ryan Lochte, had earlier managed to get on an airplane and fly back to the U.S.
It then came out in the story that these men had two females with them. Were they locals? It seems the police officers either released them or they escaped the scene before the officers arrived. We can expect that details will be forthcoming. Police chief Veloso says, “We started to understand the real dynamic of what happened.”What was that? The spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee, Mario Andrada, said yesterday concerning Lochte and the other Americans, “No apologies from him or other athletes are needed. We have to understand that these kids came here to have fun. Let’s give these kids a break. Sometimes you make decisions that you later regret. They had fun. They made a mistake. Life goes on.”
That figures, coming from the International Olympic Committee that often has been tarnished with an unethical reputation. This statement appears to be an unintended recognition that police chief Veloso is telling the truth, so that the Americans are lying. Andrada’s words, “They had fun,” seems to be a euphemism for having sex. That is, it appears that one or more of these young men had sex in the gas station bathroom with one or more of the two women that had earlier accompanied them.
This incident has brought more international attention to Rio de Janeiro, which has hosted these Olympics, that can financially hurt the city. If Voloso is right, the Americans’ false story also reflects negatively on the U.S. Olympic Committee and the USA itself. So, I disagree with International Olympic spokesman Andrada; these young guys need to fess-up in order to go home.