On August 19, U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte finally apologized for lying about he and three teammates — James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz — being robbed at a Rio de Janeiro gasoline station after a night of partying.

It should be noted that Lochte is a 32-year-old Olympic champion with 12 medals. Even more impressive, among U.S. male Olympians, he is second only to teammate Michael Phelps, who wasn’t involved in the foolishness.

Lochte, who has a reputation for being fun-loving goofball, once had a reality TV show called “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” It didn’t do well.

What makes this even more goofy is Rio Olympic spokesman Mario Andrada has downplayed the situation. According to USA Today, Andrada told reporters, “I do not expect any apologies from him or other athletes are needed. They were trying to have fun, they came here and represented their country, trained for years, competed under gigantic pressure. I understand this issue is under investigation. Let’s give these kids a break. They made a mistake. It’s part of life. Life goes on.”

Well with entitlement, mistakes like that are overlooked. They were just enjoying themselves. Boys were just being, well, boys.

However when a young African-American gymnastics and champion, Gabby Douglas, didn’t place her hand over her heart as the national anthem was being played, she was vilified, chastised, bullied and even had her patriotism questioned. When the 20-year-old Olympian tried to explain her action as not being disrespectful, it further fueled the resentment flame.

At last check, Douglas didn’t commit a crime. However, filing a false police report is a crime.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Olympic Committee apologized to Brazil for the incident. In a terse statement, the USOC said, “the behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States.”

It will be interesting to see what happens. Lochte has key sponsors such as Speedo, Ralph Lauren and mattress maker airweave. Without their funding, he wouldn’t be able to live a care-free existence as a swimming playboy.

Feigen, who has indicated he may retire after the Rio Games, is going to attend law school in Texas. He’s 26-years-old. Bentz is a 20-year-old junior majoring in business at the University of Georgia, and Conger is a 21-year-old senior majoring in corporate communication at the University of Texas.

In all probability, this will go with a slight slap on the wrist and promise to never do it again. That’s nice. Now, what would’ve happened if say USA Basketball’s Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant committed the same offense?

Talk about things that make you go hmmmm.

dbell@phillytrib.com

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