Ryan Lochte‘s attorney says he will let the public decide whether or not Lochte was treated fairly by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in the aftermath of the gas station incident in Rio. According to the USOC, Lochte has agreed to a 10-month suspension from USA Swimming and will also be ineligible for the 2017 World Championships. In addition, he will have to return all funding from the USOC and USA swimming for the gold medal he won in the 4×200 free relay in Rio. Other sanctions include no monthly stipend from USOC or access to their facilities for the duration of the suspension.
Though Lochte has accepted his sanctions and is working toward moving past the incident, his lawyer Jeff Ostrow believes that this punishment is unnecessarily harsh. “That said, in my opinion, while the collective sanctions appear to be harsh when considering what actually happened that day – Ryan did not commit a crime, he did not put the public safety at risk, and he did not cheat in his sport – we will leave it to others to evaluate the appropriateness of the penalties.” Ostrow said according to USA Today (see full article here).
After Lochte embellished details about the incident, Rio police met with the swimmers and conducted an investigation. Rio authorities initially stated that the swimmers had filed a false police report. Later, authorities reported that of the four swimmers, only Lochte and Jimmy Feigen issued any false statements though Lochte’s legal team denies this claim.
Though Lochte is receiving a 10 month suspension, by comparison, the other swimmers involved in the incident will be suspended from competition for four months. Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen will also lose their monthly stipends as well as access to USOC facilities. All four of the athletes will not be allowed to visit the white house with the rest of Team USA and will be barred from attending USA Swimming’s 2016 Golden Goggle Awards.