Michael Vick may start taking bids to race outside of clubs.
After making up a wild, fake robbery story at the Rio Olympics, Ryan Lochte became one of the most loathed athletes on Earth. And who could blame the public for hating his guts? He fabricated a story about his time in another country, making Americans, his temporary hosts in Brazil, and a laundry list of other people look bad in the process.
If you let Lochte tell the story of what has happened since, the public backlash to his made-up tale was enough to push him to the brink. In an interview with ESPN's Allison Glock, Lochte confided that he considered suicide in the time following the 2016 Olympics.
When Lochte arrived home in Charlotte (on what he says was a prescheduled flight), there were a dozen media vans outside his house. He watched the news, read the online comments, the searing articles outlining how “Ryan Lochte Is the Worst!” In days, he lost every sponsor. He also received death threats. At a public appearance, Reid had a glass thrown at her head.
“After Rio, I was probably the most hated person in the world,” Lochte mumbles. “There were a couple of points where I was crying, thinking, 'If I go to bed and never wake up, fine.'” Asked if that means he considered suicide, Lochte nods slowly. “I was about to hang up my entire life.”
It sounds like the swimmer was in a dark place after the controversy in Rio, and you would never wish for someone to feel like their only answer in life is to end everything. Almost everyone deserves a second chance to make good after indiscretions, and we've seen people in the sports world emerge from dark moments to inject some good into the world. Michael Vick and his post-prison activism for animal rights is a perfect example of how to take another chance a run with it.
That said, it feels a little off to be talking about Lochte as some sort of redemption story. Prior to admitting he had suicidal thoughts, he seemed to convey a lack of contrition for his actions. “People wanted a reason to hate me,” he said. A more accurate version of events would be to say people expected a 32-year-old man to know better than to completely fabricate stories, or at least to show some remorse after he was caught doing so.
If Lochte wants to win back public favor, sharing his inner turmoil with everyone is definitely the way to go. People are happy to listen when you open up and express the troubles in life you've experienced, but that has to come attached to acknowledging his own fault in the Rio debacle.
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One of the most frustrating things for professional athletes has to be when their friends and family members decide to share unpopular opinions or take shots at people on social media. The athletes themselves have absolutely nothing to do with the tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram captions that get sent out. And yet, they’re indirectly tied to them and forced to address them, even though they weren’t responsible for hitting “send” on them. Just ask Michael Vick about how bad it can get.
On Thursday night, Kevin Durant discovered what a pain it can be when his brother Tony appeared to take to Twitter to send a shot in Russell Westbrook’s direction. He never mentioned Westbrook by name, but most of the people who follow him assumed that was who he was talking about when he sent out this:
Westbrook was playing a game against the Raptors—and putting together a triple-double—when that tweet went out. And KD’s brother seemed to confirm that he was, in fact, talking about Westbrook when he responded to one of his followers with these tweets:
He also sent out this:
But then, he tried to say that he was talking about a player he was watching in an NCAA game and not Westbrook when people started calling him out for doing it:
And he later posted this:
People weren’t buying that he was actually talking about an NCAA player, though:
And KD’s brother didn’t exactly help his cause when he started responding to people who referenced KD and Westbrook's fractured relationship with tweets like this:
But Tony continued to stick to his story and said he was watching Iowa State guard Monte Morris go off during the Cyclones’ NCAA Tournament game against Nevada and not taking shots at Westbrook:
Morris did go for 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on Thursday night, which suggests KD’s brother could have really been watching the Iowa State game and not talking about Westbrook. And if that’s the case, then people were going crazy “over nothing” as he said:
But throughout the night, he continued to entertain those who thought he was taking aim at Westbrook by letting off little shots like this here and there:
And eventually, he got so many responses to his tweets that he decided to delete his Twitter account altogether:
As of Friday morning, his Twitter account has been reactivated and all of his tweets from last night are still there. So if you want, you can go and try and make sense of it all for yourself. But it certainly looks like he was, at the very least, trying to get under Thunder fans’ skin. And it's probably only going to make some of them hate KD even more than they already do, even though he didn’t have anything to do with the tweets his brother sent out.
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