Now that I'm back - and, given the possibility of Tropical Storm Hermine affecting New Jersey this Labor Day weekend, I might not be back for long but hopefully won't be away for even longer - I have to tend to unfinished business. And no one is done with the spectacularly dumb Ryan Lochte just yet.
The Olympic swimmer has suffered some well-deserved fallout for getting drunk and vandalizing a gasoline station in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics and trying to cover it up by lying about it and saying he was robbed. Four companies Lochte has had endorsement deals with have dropped him, and United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, who is eager to have his organization join the Olympic movement in spirit as well as in name, is having a thorough investigation conducted, with the promise of disciplinary action. I've heard it said that Lochte acted like he could get away with characterizing Brazil as a lawless place (a so-called lawless place that just convicted and removed its president from office, because no one is above the law in Brazil), because of a sense of white male privilege, but it's clear that Lochte's privilege, if he ever had any, has just been revoked.
So why is he appearing on ABC's celebrity contest show "Dancing With the Stars?"
That's the latest about Lochte. And I'm dead serious. Before you write this off as just an appearance on a cheesy reality show, bear in mind that "Dancing With the Stars," with its emphasis on glamour, class, and sophistication - you need all of those if you're going to dance - is the favorite reality show of everyone who hates reality shows. It's the Cadillac of the genre. Ryan Lochte obviously doesn't deserve to be on a show like this. He belongs on a celebrity reality show in which he gets locked up with bikers, professional circus clowns, or, better yet, other celebrities . . . preferably those with lesser reputations than his own.
No matter. Although he's vowed to work his way back to competitive swimming, and even though he hopes to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Games - when he's 35 - the odds are against him. So far, Lochte has found no supporters for his redemption . . . save one. Olympic swimming champion and TV swimming commentator Rowdy Gaines has come to his defense, explaining that Lochte is "really good guy," and added that while what Lochte did was "amazingly stupid," he hopes that America is a "where something like this can be forgiven . . .. A lot of people have done a lot worse. It doesn't make it right, it just makes it forgivable."
Well, if we're going to forgive Ryan Lochte, let's start forgiving athletes of color for similar behavior, otherwise we don't forgive Lochte. And football player Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem? He has nothing to apologize for.