In addition to having the worst hair ever, Ryan Lochte is now embroiled in a complicated scandal with Brazilian authorities over whether he and his teammates were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Wait, did we say complicated? Because, though we don't know for sure, the truth appears pretty simple: they definitely weren't!
Unfortunately for Lochte and his crew, they kept saying that they were. And then their story kept changing. And then it changed again. And then Brazil got extremely angry and now the whole thing has gone bananas, and that's before you get into discussions of white, male, American privilege and the geopolitical implications and—well, let's just take you through what's actually been going on.
August 14 (The Probably Fake Story Is Launched)
Reports surface that Lochte and three other members of Team USA—Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz—were robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro.
Lochte's mother confirms the story to USA Today, but an International Olympic Committee spokesman denies it, saying, "I can tell you the story is absolutely not true." (Hmmm…..)
Later in the day, Lochte himself describes the alleged incident in detail to NBC News.
"We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over," Lochte said. "They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn't do anything wrong, so — I'm not getting down on the ground.
"And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, 'Get down,' and I put my hands up, I was like 'whatever.' He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials."
"OMG scary Brazil of course this happened!" many people probably think. The IOC eventually retracts its denial and everyone is on the same page.
August 15 (The Probable Lies Continue)
A spokesman for the Olympics gives an official apology to Lochte and his fellow swimmers.
“We regret the violence has got so close to the athletes,” Mario Andrada says during a press conference. “We apologize to those involved and regret that violence is an issue in these Games.”
Others aren't quite so sure. A Rio police official tells the Wall Street Journal that the crime was never reported to police by Lochte or Olympic officials. (Hmmmmm….)
August 16 (Things Start To Unravel)
Lochte explains that he and his colleagues didn't report the crime because they were worried they might get in trouble. (Hmmmmm…..) Unfortunately for them, the trouble is just beginning.
Police officials now say they can't find any evidence supporting that the robbery took place at all, telling The Associated Press that the swimmers could not provide key details when interviewed.
Lochte's attorney Jeff Ostrow says that there was no question the robbery took place, and that the swimmer signed a statement on Monday confirming the facts he provided.
August 17 (Yeah, This Didn't Happen)
Lochte, perhaps sensing that things are getting a little complicated on the ground, gets on a plane back to the U.S. (Hmmmm….) His fellow swimmers aren't quite so lucky.
A Brazilian judge issues an order to seize the passports of the swimmers involved so that they remain in Brazil while the investigation into the robbery is ongoing.
Specifically, police are concerned about differences between Lochte and teammate Jimmy Feigen's accounts. Security footage showed them leaving a club at a different time than they reported, and cameras at the Olympic Village showed them arriving calm and unconcerned. Almost as if nothing had really happened at all!
Swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz are taken off their planes by local authorities to prevent them from leaving the country. Feigen is also questioned by police.
Lochte defends his account in an interview with NBC, but changes some details. The robbery is now depicted as taking place at a gas station the men stopped at to use the bathroom.
August 18 (So Many Lies!)
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Chief of Civil Police Fernando Veloso tells reporters that one of the swimmers has confirmed to them that Lochte's story was fabricated.
"There was no robbery. There’s no way," Veloso says. "They were not victims of the criminal actions that they claim they were."
Veloso 's account of events is similar to information released earlier in the day. The athletes vandalized a gas station bathroom and got in an altercation with staff. The swimmers attempted to leave the gas station in their taxi but were stopped by security guards.
When asked if a gun was involved in the situation, Veloso says one of the guards was intimidated by the athlete's size and may have taken out a "weapon," but there was no violence at any point. After a third-party offered to translate between the athletes and guards, the swimmers paid $20 and 100 in Brazilian reals, and were allowed to leave.
Veloso says the investigation has not concluded yet and no decisions on criminal charges have been made.
Then, surveillance footage is released showing what appear to be the band of bros at the gas station in question.
Lochte remains in the U.S. Jimmy Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz remain in Brazil, where ESPN's SportsCenter reports they now say the robbery story was fabricated by Lochte. Sorry, Ryan! Your buds are squealing on you.
August 19 (Lochte comes clean (sort of))
Lochte has a very busy morning.
The swimmer starts the day off by posting an image of a lengthy apology to all his social media channels. It alludes to not being more "careful" and "candid," but doesn't outright say "yeah [or is it "jeah"] I lied." He also repeats the story of having guns drawn on him "in a foreign country."
If that statement seems a bit different from Lochte's usual social media fare, it might be because he hired the services of crisis PR consultant Matthew Hiltzik. Hiltzik's previous clients include Justin Bieber and Alec Baldwin, so he knows a thing or two about getting wealthy white guys out of a jam.
Lochte's statement that he is coming clean due to the legal situation being resolved matches reports that at least one of his fellow swimmers has dodged legal charges. The Wall Street Journal cites a police official as saying James Feigen will pay $10,000 to a charity and be allowed to leave the country.
A Rio 2016 spokesman says that they are satisfied with Lochte's apology and are ready to move on. You know who isn't ready to move on? Every tabloid newspaper in the world.
August 20 - (Truth …)
Lochte goes back to the NBC well once more, this time for another interview with an apparently socks-less Matt Lauer some describe as "emotional" in the sense that Lochte appears to display emotion. The swimmer says he "over-exaggerated" his original account and that he is sorry.
"They put on a great Games. They did everything," Lochte says. "And my immature, intoxicated behavior tarnished that a little."
But the swimmer was not entirely contrite, still trying to paint himself as an aggrieved party, blaming the security guards for pointing a gun at him.
"Whether you call it a robbery or whether you call it extortion or us paying just for the damages. We don't know," Lochte says. "All we know is there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money."
Not everyone at NBC is impressed. Al Roker (socks status unknown) took the opportunity during an on-air segment on Saturday to point out all the times Lochte has lied this week (for more info, scroll up). He did not appreciate being told to "calm down" by his colleague.
August 21 (… and consequences)
U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun tells NBC that there will be disciplinary action from the committee against Lochte and his fellow swimmers. He does not seem amused.
"They let down our athletes," Blackmun says to NBC. "They let down Americans."
What will happen next? Stay tuned…