Ryan Lochte’s alcohol-binge-fueled “Shenanigans” could see him Jailed

Ryan Lochte’s alcohol-binge-fueled “Shenanigans” could see him Jailed

We all see athletes as being the embodiment of clean living and glowing good health, but the recent Olympic scandal reveals a darker side to sport and shows that alcohol can get anyone into trouble with the law. Briefly, the entire debacle revolves around Lochte’s claim that he and his team mates were mugged at a filling station as they returned to the Olympic village after an evening out.

Security camera footage tells a different story. The men confronted security guards after vandalizing a restroom at the filling station. They were forced to pay for the damages, and the matter might have ended there had they not later come up with a wildly exaggerated tale of being robbed at gunpoint.

Lochte faces charges in Brazil

Brazilian authorities have not taken the matter lightly. Lochte faces charges of filing a false crime report and could be sentenced to a maximum of 18 months in prison. If he fails to appear in court, he will be tried and sentenced in absentia. Brazil and the US have an extradition treaty, but since Brazil has already breached this treaty, it is unclear whether the US will comply if Lochte is sentenced to a jail term.

Lochte has already lost four major sponsors representing elite brands as a result of the incident, but has gained one in the form of a cough drops brand. A spokesperson for the company suggests that the public should be “more understanding”.

Admission of extreme intoxication

Lochte and team-mate Jimmy Feigen have admitted that they were extremely drunk at the time of the incident, and Lochte admits that the group’s behavior led to the gas station confrontation. It is unclear why Lochte felt it necessary to fabricate the complicated robbery tale, but it is possible that the appearance of the story in the media after Lochte had told his mother that he had been mugged, caused the athletes to stick to their guns when questioned by the police regarding the debacle.

Conventional wisdom corroborated by events

Binge drinking is a dangerous form of alcohol abuse that can even prove fatal. In this case, it has resulted in another common problem associated with intoxication: trouble with the police. It could be argued that besides owing Brazilian police an apology, the swimmers should be thinking seriously about their relationship with alcohol. So-called “youthful indiscretions” such as this can lead to serious trouble, and this particular incident could have turned out even worse than it did.

Although there was initially lack of clarity about a gun being pulled during the confrontation, it has subsequently been confirmed that the men were, indeed, held at gunpoint when they refused to co-operate regarding the vandalism incident. Fortunately, the sight of the firearm must have been at least somewhat sobering, since they subsequently paid for the damages caused, and were allowed to leave.

Another typical symptom of alcohol-related issues is lying and cover-ups. Although in this case, the results were spectacular, these lies generally have the desired effect, and are used by those ashamed of their conduct. There are even times when people begin to believe their own lies, and it is even possible that in this case, foggy memories of the evening may have led the athletes to believe their own exaggerated tale. Unfortunately for them, the swimmers’ story could not stand examination in the cold light of reality, and they were later forced to admit that they had been in the wrong.

Another piece of conventional wisdom that is confirmed by this incident, is the fact that alcohol abuse affects one’s work and one’s reputation. Gold-medal winner Lochte, instead of being hailed as a shining example after his sterling performance, is now seen as something of an embarrassment. Elite brands don’t want to be associated with the swimmer, and he has to resort to a cough drop sponsorship instead.

Worrying signs of alcohol abuse to be aware of

When should you be worried about alcohol abuse? When danger signs appear, it is time to take a close look at how alcohol is affecting your life. For Lochte, that time has certainly come. To sum up, we are seeing a graphic illustration of the following symptoms that should tell anyone that it’s time to get thier drinking under control or stop altogether.

  • Unpleasant incidents and legal trouble.
  • Lying to cover up bad behavior.
  • Damage to career and reputation.

Should we be “more understanding”?

There is no doubt that Lochte is still an incredible sportsman with many wonderful achievements behind him. It’s more than likely that when sober, he is a responsible and pleasant young man. Despite the immense damage that he has done to his career through this incident, there is every chance that he can redeem his image in the eyes of the world – provided that there are no further drunken incidents.

However, trying to laugh off an incident like this one won’t be helpful to Lochte. He needs to take responsibility for his actions. Feigen, his team mate, has shown maturity by publically apologizing for his role in the incident, and by taking positive steps to make amends for the unnecessary trouble caused. He has confronted his legal situation, and has paid a hefty fine, assuring the press that there will be no repetition of such incidents in the future.

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