Say what you want about social media, but it does give you an instant read about the mass opinions on just about any major headline. Social media is where you can see you aren’t the only one feeling a certain way about an event. Sometimes that feeling is elation, and other times it may be feeling appalled and infuriated
For instance, Last week the US swim teams – men and women – had winning a ton of gold medals & breaking records. We Americans were proud of our swim teams. Then 32-year-old, four time Olympian, Ryan Lochte, announced he’d been robbed at gunpoint.
The entire world believed it. After all the run up to the games focused heavily on the city’s crime and environmental issues. Australia teams had things stolen from Olympic village. A British Athlete was robbed at gunpoint that Tuesday. On the face of it, the story was in the realm of possibility. Only it wasn’t true. Ryan Lochte lied – and not just a little.
The Ryan Lochte Scandal
We’ve all been following this. Here’s Lochte talking to NBC’s Billy Bush about the “robbery”
Meanwhile, the Brazilian authorities were wondering how Ryan Lochte was still alive and in possession of his watch. From their experience thieves would have just shot Lochte – and he certainly wouldn’t still have his watch. In their quest to find the truth they pulled the other two Olympic swimmers that were with Ryan Lochte that night off of their flights back to the US.
People magazine reported the account given by the teammates about what actually happened. Lochte’s story was about thieves dressed as policemen robbing him and fellow teammates at gunpoint. The truth is that they stopped at a gas station and peed on the wall by the locked bathroom. Lochte then “punched and damaged an advertisement in a metal frame.” The gas station’s security – who had guns in their belts – stopped them from leaving and said they needed to pay for damages. The Brazilian authorities also provided a security video from the gas station that backs up this version.
The Today Show with Al Roker – What A Difference a Day Makes!
Did Ryan Lochte come clean when his teammates were pulled off the plane? No! He sticks to his story during a phone interview with Matt Lauer and just softens some details. That Thursday morning the Today Show seemed willing to go along with this idea Bush, along with co-hosts Natalie Morales and Al Roker are discussing the situation.
You can see that Bush is intent on making this not a big deal. Morales notes that there some things were murky, and that Brazilian authorities had to have “compelling evidence” in order to pull the other American swimmers off of their flight. Roker points out that the story, “embarrassed the host country of the Olympics.” Nevertheless, it’s clear they’re all wanting to put the best spin possible on the situation.
As more details came out things went from bad to worse. On Tuesday the Rio Olympics spokesman Mario Andrada had apologized profusely for what happened to the swimmers. Upon learning that it wasn’t quite that way Andrada said the following:
Let’s give these kids a break,” Andrada said. “Sometimes you take actions that you later regret. Lochte is one of the best swimmers of all time. They had fun. They made a mistake. Life goes on.
Lochte then issues a lame “apology” on Instagram – which set off the internet and got #LochMess to trend. The next morning on Today, had Morales and Roker clearly disgusted.
Bush: He certainly lied about some details –
Roker & Morales: Some details?!
However, it’s Roker that then rips into Bush with what a whole lot of people have been feeling!
Al Roker is not having it!
We love the usually calm Al Roker forcing Bush to listen to all of the ways Lochte lied, and how the guy even left his teammates out to dry. It was cathartic! It’s an emperor’s new clothes moment, only Bush is the only one that can’t see the naked truth. There is no excusing Lochte’s actions!
Social media allows the everyday person to have their say. However, there’s nothing like having someone in the national spotlight saying exactly what you’ve been thinking! In the US, Twitter has been trending Al Roker on and off for the last 36 hour. It’s trending on Facebook as well. The video of his take down of Bush going viral, has made his comments the voice of many people. It’s even been picked up overseas!
The Uncrossed Line
The unspoken part of Roker’s actions was voiced by many on twitter. However, at that point, nobody had nailed the gravitas of the situation more than Nick Wright on the Fox Sports show The Herd. His rant hits a ton of sentiments that were flying around.
It’s hard to believe this is from Fox. My personal favorite line is this:
If this were our basketball team, the President would have to comment on it.
The international perspective has picked up on the same thing. At one point this piece from Britain’s the Guardian sarcastically says that Lochte will be diagnosed with “Affluenza” to excuse his behavior. It gets even clearer with this:
I hardly presume to say that the antics of Lochte and his more junior swim team buddies is what white privilege looks like, being similarly blessed myself, but there doesn’t seem to be any possible other explanation. And for that reason, we just know Ryan is going to get away with it. To watch the outraged commentators attempting to lay a glove on him is to imagine them doggy-paddling in the wake of his best freestyle time.
Roker never says the words “white privilege” – but Bush’s continuing defense of the 32-year-old Lockte screams it. The most pathetic moment is when he says, “there was a gun.”
Yes, there was a gun. The security people had them. Should security not have guns? Maybe only American security is supposed to have them? Then there’s the fact that Lochte was caught actually doing something by security. Back in 2012 all Travon Martin did was go buy a pack of Skittles.
Al Roker didn’t go there verbally, but watching him stir his drink, and biting his tongue, many on social media got the sense that he was thinking it.
The Wrap Up
Not that is any big surprise, but after Lauer’s second interview with Lochte, it’s clear the swimmer still doesn’t get it.
“We just wanted to get out of there. I mean there was a gun pointed in our direction.”
Lochte looks like he still may be hung over. He still can’t admit he’s done anything wrong, but “he’s taking full responsibility for it.” Lauer is talking to Lochte like the guy’s a five-year-old in trying to walk him to doing the right thing. Even with the softball questions where all Lochte had to do was say, “Yes, I see that now.” he couldn’t do it. …Now Matt Lauer is trending on twitter, and I’m ready to join Al Roker in a drink.