Seeds: The months leading up to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro were filled with anxiety over Brazil’s ability to successfully host the event due to the country’s current political climate and the recent Zika outbreak. Despite these concerns, aside from a green diving pool, the Games took place with few noticeable incidents. Although the Games were largely successful, some of that success was slightly overshadowed by the alleged robbery of four American swimmers on their way back to the Olympic village.
Core: The swimmers, Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger reported that their taxi was stopped by some men posing as police officers. After the car was stopped, the swimmers stated that the men robbed them at gunpoint. The story sent shockwaves throughout the international community, until, after further investigation, it was discovered that Lochte and his teammates had “over-exaggerated” the story. In reality, on the night of the “robbery”, the swimmers were headed home after a night of partying when they vandalised the bathroom of a gas station. The security guard (not a robber) did have a gun out and the swimmers paid for the damage to the door.
Skin: The revelation of the swimmers dishonesty of the night’s events has garnered two very different reactions from the general public. Some view the actions of the swimmers as simply “boys being boys” and do not think that swimmers should face any real disciplinary action, while others believe that this type of leniency is an example of white privilege, arguing that if the swimmers were of another race, they would be labeled as thugs instead of “kids” (by the way, Lochte is 32 years old).
Leaves: All of the swimmers have now publicly apologized for their actions and one swimmer, Jimmy Feigen, has reached a deal with Brazilian police in which he will donate $11,000 to Brazilian charity in exchange for the dropping of all charges against him. However, disciplinary action for the rest of the swimmers have not yet been decided.
Food For Thought: Do you think the swimmers should face disciplinary action? Do you think the swimmers would be viewed differently if they were of a different race?