- The Rio robbery story which Ryan Lochte allegedly fabricated might now rob him of the chance to get more endorsement deals that usually await the Olympians returning to the US.
The 32-year-old Olympian is facing allegations over fabricating a story about himself and three other teammates being robbed at gunpoint by men disguising as police officers over the weekend. However, the veracity of their story was undermined by a video footage recorded the morning they were allegedly robbed. The footage was acquired from a Rio gas station, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to the head of Rio’s state investigative police, Ryan Lochte and fellow gold medallists James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were held by the security guards at a gas station on Sunday morning to pay for the damages they caused to the property. He said that Lochte’s account of being robbed is still being investigated.
However, the Rio robbery scandal has raised questions about the 12-time Olympic medallist’s chances of winning sonsors following the incident. According to Bob Williams, chief executive of Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, if Lochte’s accounts prove to be a lie that it will virtually erode the possibilities of future endorsements for him.
“Advertisers have become far less tolerant of controversial behavior of any type, and this is yet another type of controversial behavior that doesn’t reflect well on a brand,” he said.
Lochte is currently endorsed by Polo Ralph Lauren, Speedo and Airweave. Following the incident, Speedo released a formal statement declaring its policy of not commenting on the ongoing investigation.
“Speedo is a sponsor of Ryan Lochte (USA). Speedo is following the situation, and has a policy not to comment on ongoing legal investigations. We suggest you contact his team for additional information,” the statement said as quoted by the CNN Money.
Michael Phelps’ return at the Rio Olympics and the probability of it being his last, may have hampered Lochte’s endorsement deals. But if Phelps is indeed to retire after the Rio Olympics, it would open the avenue for Ryan Lochte. But the Rio robbery scandal may diminish his chances of winning sponsorships since a clean image is one of the most important pre-requisites that every potential sponsor look for.