Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Ryan Lochte justice joke

This just in. Ryan Lochte has finally been punished for his post-Olympic antics. You remember, he and three teammates made up a story about getting robbed at gunpoint that proved to be just that -- a story. A lie.

So now Lochte has been suspended for 10 months by the swimming powers that be in the USA. That would seem to raise a question.

Suspended from WHAT? With the Olympics in the books and the next world championships a year and a half out, just what, pray tell, do the fish people have to do?

Train? They can hardly keep Lochte out of pools to train is he wishes to. And let's face it. Water is water, unless you live in Flint, Michigan. Ahem.

Back in Brazil, the scene of the crime(s), the authorities weren't too happy with Lochte and Co. After vandalizing a public place, compounding it with making up a bogus robbery story (filing a false police report) did not go over well. Warrants were issued for their arrests.

But Lochte had already escaped on an early flight back to the states. The other three were rounded up and eventually allowed to leave. Apparently, after several thousand dollars had changed hands in what appears to be a bribe.

If convicted of the charges, Lochte could have faced up to 18 months in prison. But the only way that happens is if he returns, or is extradited to Brazil. The chances of that happening? About the same as Hillary being hauled off in irons for her email snafu. In other words -- it won't. This story, and case, will die.

In the meantime, some of Lochte's former sponsors have jumped ship. They don't want to be associated with somebody of his, shall we say, dubious character. Yet others have replaced them. Maybe they think any publicity is good publicity and having a controversial figure hawking their products will work to their advantage. They could well be right.

In the end, it all turned out to be a joke of justice. Lochte and friends committed crimes in a foreign country yet they will suffer not one whit of real punishment. To "suspend" him at this point is somewhere between laughable and pathetic.

If an ordinary person had done the same, chances are good they'd be run through the criminal justice system in Brazil and likely jailed while the outcome was pending. In a fair world, a crime is a crime, and one should do the time. But it's not fair. An Olympian is going to get special treatment. It's almost like diplomatic immunity, when a foreign national can commit a horrible crime, but the worst that can happen to him/her is being sent back to their own country. It's not right.

In a few weeks or months, this will all fade away and be forgotten like it never happened. But it did happen. For the US authorities to say they are "punishing" Lochte is a slap in the face to an objective person. Better they do nothing than offer up some non-sentence and claim justice has been done.

So what does Lochte do now? When he's not in a pool somewhere, he'll be practicing for his next bit on Dancing With The Stars. Or making commercials for his new sponsors. The money will continue to roll in.

Any lingering charges in Brazil will likely be quietly disposed of through back channels of both governments. This is not exactly a big deal in their world. This is something both publics will likely never hear about. The media hounds will move on to whatever their next stories are.

In sum, Lochte and his pals. though guilty -- they admitted as much later -- will skate.

And it's not right.

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