RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 12: Ryan Lochte of the United States attends a press conference in the Main Press Center on Day 7 of the Rio Olympics on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Cox Media Group National Content Desk
After an investigation launched regarding allegations that American swimmers Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint by civilians posing as police officers, Lochte has spoken out again.
"I'm taking full responsibility," Lochte said Saturday during an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer. "I over-exaggerated that story. If I hadn't done that we wouldn't be in this mess. None of this would have happened. It was my immature behavior."
The 32-year-old swimmer described the incident in detail for Lauer:
"Whether you call it a robbery or extortion or us paying just for the damages, we don't know," Lochte said. "All we know is there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money. There was a gun pointed in our direction. We were frightened. We gave them money, and we got out."
Lochte also said he felt like he let his team down.
Lochte's mother first broke the news of the alleged robbery on Aug. 14 while speaking with Fox Sports.
Lochte detailed the incident on NBC's the "Today" show later that day:
"We got pulled over in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns. They told the other swimmers to get down on the ground. They got down on the ground. I refused, I was like, 'We didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not getting down on the ground.'
"And then the guy pulled out his gun. He cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, 'Get down,' and I put my hands up. I was like, 'Whatever.' He took our money. He took my wallet. He left my cell phone. He left my credentials."
But in a phone interview with Lauer on Wednesday, Lauer asked Lochte about skepticism that his story may have been fabricated.
"He strongly denied that -- said it's absolutely not the case,” Lauer said. "I wouldn’t make up a story like this nor would the others -- as a matter of fact we all feel it makes us look bad," Lauer said, quoting Lochte. "We're victims in this and we're happy that we're safe."
During his phone call with Lauer, Lochte changed some of the details of his original story.
He told Lauer that the assailant had pointed the gun in his "general direction," "Today" reported.
Lochte also told Lauer that the taxi he was in was not forced off the road, but rather he and his teammates had stopped at a gas station to use the men's restroom when they were robbed.
"I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend -- for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning ... It's traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country ... and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave, but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been more more responsible in how I handled myself and for that, (I) am sorry."