Monday morning both Speedo and Ralph Lauren have dropped sponsorships of U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte following an incident that occurred at a Rio gas station during the Olympic Games.
BREAKING: Speedo has ended its sponsorship of Ryan Lochte.
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) August 22, 2016
BREAKING: Ralph Lauren official says company will not be renewing Ryan Lochte's contract. Lost Speedo deal this morning.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 22, 2016
Lochte became one of the biggest stories of the 2016 Olympics, but not for his performance in the pool. Following the conclusion of the swimming competition, Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers allegedly vandalized a gas station bathroom and urinated in public behind the building. In his initial telling of the events, Lochte claimed that the group was pulled over and robbed at gunpoint by people posing as police officers.
Upon further investigation, it seems that the swimmers urinated behind the station and Lochte ripped down and damaged a sign at the facility. They were detained by security guards who, according to Rio authorities, were indeed members of law enforcement. The guards demanded money from the swimmers for damages to the property, and, based on surveillance videos, did brandish guns.
Rio police have accused Lochte of filing a false police report, a crime which is punishable by fine and potential prison time. Teammate Jimmy Feigen has already paid the fine to avoid charges.
Regardless of the legal outcome of the events, Lochte has clearly brought too much attention to himself for the wrong reasons, and sponsors have decided it is no longer in their interest to have formal attachments with him. For his part, Lochte has apologized for his original exaggerated construction of the night’s events, but not for his actions that led to the incident.
Lochte, who is 32-years old, is likely near the end of his professional swimming career, which has seen him win 12 Olympic medals.