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Scandalized Olympians remind us that we shouldn’t idolize those who play games

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Ryan Lochte's widely publicized account that he and three teammates were robbed and threatened with pistols by Rio crooks dressed as cops completely fell apart Thursday.

It turns out they had been acting up like drunken frat boys at a gas station and were confronted by security guards.

There was no robbery, no gun to the forehead. Just young American punks delivering a slap to the faces of our hosts.

Which is why we went to Barker Field to award the first-ever Olympic Brown Medal to Lochte and friends.

(Well, you have to watch the video.)

Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte

Yes, thankfully, most of our Olympians have been beautiful ambassadors for the U.S. This has been a great Summer Olympics, no doubt.

But athletes making asses out of themselves - or much worse - is hardly new.

Also Thursday, Richmond native and National Football League free safety legend Darren Sharper was sentenced to 18 years in prison for a series of drug-assisted rapes and sexual assaults.

The former millionaire awaits sentencing on other rape charges.

We all marveled at the crudeness and wanton violence from stars like Ray Rice and Michael Vick, or the amazing self-destruction of our first billionaire athlete -- Tiger Woods -- by blatant sexual appetite stupidity.

Supreme athletic ability and huge incomes do not always add up to kindness, or even common sense.

Darren Sharper (Photo by Nick Ut-Pool/Getty Images)

Darren Sharper (Photo by Nick Ut-Pool/Getty Images)

Idolizing athletes can disappoint in much smaller ways.

Michael Phelps had recovered from his previous missteps and we'd forgiven him.

But come on, brother, folks want to welcome you home, and you offered a cold shoulder. You're the most decorated Olympic athlete in known history - worth $55 million - and you can't spare a few moments for the hometown crew?

Contrast that with the homecoming grace of some of our other Olympians, such as Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky, which you can see in the video.

Yes, many athletes are absolutely wonderful, on and off their fields, serving as valuable role models for their entire careers. Our Arthur Ashe comes to mind.

Simone Manuel

Simone Manuel

But the problem is we put these athletes on such high pedestals, pay them such exorbitant salaries.

They're not curing cancer or poverty, they're playing games to entertain and distract us.

More than a few, like Lochte, are spoiled brats. Others, like Sharper, are monsters.

We could award the Brown Medal almost every day.

It's kind of scary and sad that many of our highest paid and acclaimed heroes either act for a living -- pretending to be someone they're not - or are very good at playing games.

It shouldn't surprise us when they don't act like champions.