ERIN BAKER; Online Copy Editor; bakeree@plu.edu

Last week, celebrities took the stage on ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars” to prove that they can dance in various ballroom styles. One particular competitor is one of America’s favorite athletes right now: Ryan Lochte. Because of an unfortunate incident involving Lochte this past summer, drama soon followed.

Lochte, a humble and law-abiding contestant, recently competed as a swimmer in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. After representing the United States in front of the entire world, Lochte decided to have a fun night out with friends, drinking and celebrating. However, during this night full of innocent fun, Lochte and his teammates were robbed and threatened at gunpoint.  Thank goodness they weren’t harmed, right?

Except none of that actually happened. Perhaps Lochte’s white-privilege-tinted glasses made the details of that night a bit hazy, but he and his friends weren’t exactly robbed and threatened at gunpoint. Instead, they had a little too much fun at a gas station, where they proceeded to completely destroy a bathroom. The swimmers were gone by the time the police arrived. In subsequent interviews, Lochte claimed he “over-exaggerated” his story, and that is why there is so much attention focused on him.

Yeah. Because claiming to be a victim of a crime rather than taking responsibility for vandalism is obviously just an over-exaggeration.
Like most of America, ABC must have felt sorry for Lochte and his inability to tell the truth. So, they did what any decent network would do: offer him a spot on “Dancing with the Stars.” Besides, the diversity he offers the show as a swimmer gives the show some flavor. But the real spice of the show came after his first performance.

After Lochte’s dance, two men began to heckle him and attempted to tackle him on stage. Though security guards were quick to stop the hecklers from physically harming Lochte, the emotional damage was already done.

Lochte said he felt upset about being targeted when he only came on stage to do something he was “completely not comfortable with.” Let’s all take a moment to feel sympathy for the poor soul, who, despite causing damage to a Brazilian gas station, blaming Brazilian people for harassment and damaging international relations between two countries, went on TV to do a two-minute dance. Must be tough.

When you’re watching “Dancing with the Stars,” remember Lochte is trying his best. An “over-exaggerated” story shouldn’t cause so many people to be upset. As one news source put it, “Boys will be boys.”

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