Ryan Lochte is on a redemption tour no one asked for, and Bob Baffert will assuredly be next

Both Bob Baffert (l.) and Ryan Lochte are woefully undeserving of a media-driven redemption arc.
Both Bob Baffert (l.) and Ryan Lochte are woefully undeserving of a media-driven redemption arc.
Photo: Getty Images

Just two months before the Tokyo Games are scheduled to begin, the White Privilege Olympics have already started, as the baton that Tim Tebow was carrying has now been passed to his caucasian brothers “in the struggle.”

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Cheater, liar, scammer — take your pick at the labels you can slap on Ryan Lochte and Bob Baffert. In case you missed it, five years after Lochte was involved in an international scandal because he lied about being robbed at gunpoint – among a host of other things – the American swimmer is trying to rewrite the narrative that he created for himself, and Sports Illustrated eagerly lapped up his redemption tour’s kickoff.

“When the second-most-decorated men’s swimmer in Olympic history finishes those merciless final 2,700 meters, he flings his swim cap and goggles against a wall behind the starting blocks. On his way to the locker room, limping noticeably, he shuffles under a University of Florida records board that bears his name five times, though his marks read like relics (even if his 200-meter individual medley world record still stands),” wrote Brian Burnsed, continuing:

He is fixated on redemption: both the shallow sort that brands and broadcasters could sell this summer, enriching him and his family, and a more substantive kind. He is certain that if he rebounds and becomes the U.S.’s oldest-ever men’s Olympic swimmer — or even perhaps the oldest individual gold medalist — in Olympic swimming history, he will finally salvage his legacy, among both loved ones and the masses.

To be fair, the story does address Lochte’s mistakes as he attempts to overcome them, and the writer objectively casts doubt on if the swimmer can even make the Olympic team. But, who in 2021 was asking for a cover story on Ryan Lochte?

It’s not like he’s Michael Phelps. He’s just the guy that crumbled under the pressure of being next to Phelps. And that’s a story we could have held off on... forever. This is why I know that in a few years, or months, this same opportunity for “redemption” will be granted to Baffert.

“I got the biggest gut-punch in racing for something that I didn’t do,” Baffert said about Medina Spirit’s failed drug test. “And it’s disturbing. It’s an injustice to the horse... I don’t know what’s going on in racing right now, but there’s something not right. I don’t feel embarrassed. I feel like I was wronged. We’re going to do our own investigation. We’re going to be transparent with the racing commission, like we’ve always been.”

What Baffert didn’t mention is that Medina Spirit is his fifth horse to fail a drug test in the past 13 months, according to the Associated Press. Betamethasone, the drug that was found in Medina Spirit, was the same one found in Gamine, another one of Baffert’s horses.

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In this country, white men always get a second, third, and fourth chance despite the evidence against them or any proof that they’ve changed. It’s the sole reason why a guy like Urban Meyer is even in the position to give Tim Tebow a 74th opportunity at being a pro athlete.

And before anybody cries about how I’m making this about race, I’m not. White people already did that for me. Because if this wasn’t about race and there was true equality when it came to redemption, then why isn’t Barry Bonds in the Hall of Fame?

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Do you hear that silence? It gets real quiet when you realize it’s hard to come up with a rebuttal for racism. 

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 & 2020 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.