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James Feigen, one of Ryan Lochte’s teammates involved in the robbery story in Rio, later found to be fabricated, has issued an apology.
Writing on the website of his attorneys Mark Hull and Daniel Wannamaker of The Hull Firm, Feigen says, “First and foremost I would like to apologize for the serious distractions from the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, and Team USA. It was never my intent to draw attention away from the tradition of athletic competition and the symbolic cooperation of countries participating in the Olympic games.”
Feigen goes on to apologize to the people of Rio and thank them for their hospitality, adding that his statement has been delayed because he only now arrived home to the U.S.
He tells the full story of the incident at the gas station, saying he was waiting in the cab for the others when a man pulled a gun on them: “As I walked away, the man with the gun pointed it at me and my teammate and ordered us, in Portuguese, to sit. This was the first time I have ever had a gun pointed at me and I was terrified.”
He later admits that he “omitted the facts” in his initial statement to Rio police “that we urinated behind the building and that Ryan Lochte pulled a poster off the wall. This statement was written by the officers in Portuguese, and I was then asked to sign the statement without seeing it translated into English. I realize that I made a mistake by omitting these facts. I was trying to protect my teammates and for this I apologize.”
Feigen also says in the statement that he had to pay a fine of $10,800 in order to retrieve his passport and be able to return home.
Initially, Lochte’s story was that he and fellow swimmers Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were robbed at gunpoint on the morning of Aug. 14. Brazilian police said that the swimmers actually got in a fight with security guards at a gas station after vandalizing it. The International Olympic Committee set up a panel to investigate the incident with the four swimmers. The IOC hasn’t handed down any official punishment yet for Lochte, but disciplinary action is expected.
So far, the 12-time Olympic medalist has been ousted from his endorsement deals with athletic swimwear maker Speedo, designer Ralph Lauren, beauty product maker Syneron-Candela and Japanese mattress maker Airweave. The companies all withdrew their endorsements Monday, making separate statements.
Lochte has said he was intoxicated at the time he made the claims about the robbery and has apologized to Brazilian authorities. “I was coming from the France house, I was highly intoxicated, and I made immature accusations,” Lochte said in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer. “If I had not done that, none of this would’ve happened.”
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