Ryan Lochte issues half-hearted apology via Twitter

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Graham Watson
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Ryan Lochte had said he was robbed at gunpoint by people impersonating police officers. (Reuters)
Ryan Lochte had said he was robbed at gunpoint by people impersonating police officers. (Reuters)

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Team USA swimmer Ryan Lochte broke his silence on Friday morning and issued a half-hearted apology via Twitter saying he’s sorry for the behavior that led to an altercation with security guards at a gas station, but he doesn’t apologize or take responsibility for embellishing — or fabricating — the story that made the entire situation worse.

“I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend — for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics. I waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my teammates would be arriving home safely.

“It’s traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country – with a language barrier – and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave, but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that I am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors and the hosts of this great event. I am very proud to represent my country in Olympic competition and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.

“I am grateful for my USA Swimming teammates and the USOC and appreciate all of the efforts of the IOC, the RIo ’16 Host Committee and the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure that these Olympic Games provided a lifetime of great new memories. There has already been too much said and too many valuable resources dedicated to what happened last weekend, so I hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes.”

The entire saga began when Lochte and fellow swimmers Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger claimed they were robbed at gunpoint following a night of drinking. However, the story quickly began to unravel when video surfaced of the four men vandalizing a gas station. According to Brazilian police, the swimmers stopped at the gas station, urinated on the wall and vandalized the property while intoxicated. Two private security guards pulled their guns on the swimmers and demanded payment before letting them leave.

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Lochte left the country before Brazilian officials could detain him, but Feigen, Bentz and Conger were not so lucky. Bentz and Conger were pulled off their plane, detained and questioned before finally being allowed to leave. Feigen’s lawyer said he would donate $10,800 to a Brazilian charity for his actions.

Lochte, apparently, gets off with a weak apology tweet that doesn’t actually apologize for creating the embellished story in the first place, which led to the trouble and ultimately the unwanted publicity for the USOC.

This tweet is just damage control for a situation that already is well beyond repair.

Still, the Brazilian Olympic Committee accepted Lochte’s apology, apparently wanting to get on with focusing on the Games just like the rest of us.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!