It Is Not About White Privilege; It Is About Athlete Privilege
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It Is Not About White Privilege; It Is About Athlete Privilege

No matter who you are or what you've won, it is not acceptable.

It Is Not About White Privilege; It Is About Athlete Privilege

If you've been paying any attention to the Olympics, then you have probably heard about the idiocy that has been labeled "LochteGate."

If not, then here is your short rundown. Ryan Lochte and three other swimmers representing the United States in the Olympics got insanely drunk. They went to a gas station near the Olympic Village in Rio, broke the bathroom door, urinated on it and were just generally obnoxious and disrespectful.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, they then lied about it. Lochte alleged that the athletes had been stopped in a taxi by Brazilian police officers, and then forced onto the ground at gunpoint before being robbed in the street. All of which was proved incorrect by security camera footage from the gas station the athletes vandalized.

Since then, logical and reasonable people everywhere have spoken out about how unacceptable the athletes' actions are, and about how shameful it is that those are some of the people representing the U.S. in a foreign country.

But others across the country have spoken out to make excuses for the athletes. The drama has centered on Lochte, the most prominent of the four, and many are claiming that he is "just a kid having a good time," and that we need to "cut him some slack." Right, let's cut that 32-year-old "kid" some slack for acting like a child on the world stage for everyone to see.

In the collective uproar resulting from the situation itself and the people defending the athletes' reprehensible behavior, many on social media are calling white privilege, claiming that the athletes' race is the reason behind their actions, and the reason that many are claiming that they should be excused for said actions.

And I don't disagree that these guys have more than their fair share of white privilege. There's no doubt about it. But I think that to say that this broader problem of athletes and their unacceptable behavior is limited to one race would be unfair.

I think that more than white privilege, this was a prime example of athlete privilege, and one that, regardless of how unacceptable, is comparatively benign when compared to other examples.

When American athletes act out, or commit crimes, they're not held to the same standard as regular people who do the same. And there are plenty of examples of this from athletes who are white and black.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was caught on video smoking marijuana, a crime that many people in the U.S. are currently serving time in prison for, and was simply banned from competition for three months before returning to the spotlight.

Mike Tyson, one of the most well-known boxers of all time, was convicted of rape in 1992. He was 25-years-old and served three years of his six-year sentence in a youth prison. Not to mention the less than sportsmanlike way he bit part of one opponent's ear off. He also owned a pet tiger, a well-known fact that would've been unacceptable for any other normal American.

Craig MacTavish, a hockey player who has drafted in the '70s, drove drunk one night, killing a 26-year-old woman. He pled guilty to vehicular manslaughter and was given one year in prison. During that year, he was approached by multiple teams in the AHL.

Ray Lewis, a well-known football player, was in a fight that resulted in the death of two young men in Atlanta. Lewis testified against two of the other men in the fight, paid a fine to the NFL, reached settlements with the families of the two men and returned to football without missing a game.

All of these athletes did horrible things, or at least things that wouldn't be acceptable for any other normal American, and we move on and let them pass because they're talented athletes. For some reason, we have decided that these athletes, who are looked up to by millions of children in the U.S. and internationally, can be held to a lower standard instead of a higher one.

Many claim that if Lochte weren't white, there would be a greater uproar. But after looking through the records upon records of athletes who have done far worse and been excused with little to no punishment, I'm not sure that any athlete would have gotten any different here. The swimmers' behavior in Rio is unacceptable and there is no excuse for what they did. And as much as white privilege undoubtedly shapes their lives as white men, this episode is an example of a larger problem that is better defined as athlete privilege.

Regardless of their race, we need to start demanding more of these athletes, and showing the children and the adults that look up to and idolize them that this behavior is never OK, especially when you're representing your country and all eyes are on you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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