Speedo has dropped U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte as an endorser after he admitted to “over-exaggerating” an armed-robbery claim made during the Rio Olympics. The company also announced it will be donating $50,000 of Lochte’s fee to Save the Children, which will direct the money toward youngsters in Brazil.
“While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” the company announced in a statement provided to The Washington Post. “We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience.”
The swimwear company and Lochte signed a reported 10-year deal in 2006, so it was set to expire this year. He also has endorsement deals with Ralph Lauren Polo and Airweave, a Japanese mattress manufacturer that has pledged to stand by him.
“I respect the athletic performance of Ryan, and as long as he is a respectable athlete, he will remain the U.S. ambassador for Airweave as long as our partnership agreement remains effective,” Airweave founder Motokuni Takaoka told Bloomberg. “We are focused on supporting Team USA and our support to them will remain the same.”
Ralph Lauren has not yet announced its future plans with Lochte, saying last week that it was reviewing the situation in concert with the U.S. Olympic Committee. It has, however, removed Lochte’s name and image from its Olympic endorser page.
Ryan Lochte’s name & image has been taken off the Olympic endorser page on Ralph Lauren’s website pic.twitter.com/NKZhTm8peU
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 21, 2016
Lochte initially claimed he and three U.S. swimming teammates were robbed at gunpoint early on the morning of Aug. 14 after a night of partying. But Brazilian authorities claim Lochte and his teammates vandalized a Rio gas station and were merely held at gunpoint by a security guard until police could arrive. The swimmers were able to secure their escape by paying off the gas station.
He apologized for the incident in an interview with NBC that aired Saturday night, admitting he was “still intoxicated” when he made the initial robbery claim during an appearance on the network the morning after the incident.
“If I had never done that, we would never be in this mess,” Lochte said. “Those guys would never be in Rio — or were in Rio. None of this would’ve happened. It was my immature behavior.”