Jimmy Feigen Releases Statement On Rio Incident

Photo Courtesy: Brooke Wright

Jimmy Feigen, a member of the four athlete group who allegedly vandalized a gas station bathroom while in Rio for the Olympics, has issued a statement about what transpired that night.

While teammate Ryan Lochte was back on U.S. soil Feigen remained in Brazil cooperating with authorities on an investigation into what happened that night at the gas station. According to Feigen he voluntarily gave up his passport and was able to negotiate a charitable donation of $10.800.00, which is believed to have been awarded to the Instituto Reação (Reaction Institute), to regain his passport and leave the country. The organization aims to teach judo to Brazilians in an effort to create world-class athletes, but also in the hopes of initiating social change for many of the poorer citizens. Ronda Rousey is one of many athletes who has supported the Reaction Institute.

While Lochte has suffered the loss of four of his sponsors, no announcements have been made regarding whether or not Feigen will maintain his sponsors. Previously, Feigen has been supported by the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) and the Mutual of Omaha.

Read the full official statement, released by Feigen’s attorney The Hull Firm, below: 

First and foremost I would like to apologize for the serious distractions from the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, and Team USA. It was never my intent to draw attention away from the tradition of athletic competition and the symbolic cooperation of countries participating in the Olympic games. I want to thank the IOC and the people of Rio de Janeiro for their hospitality in hosting these games. I have nothing but respect for the city in undertaking the massive responsibility of hosting the Olympics and I feel their performance was exemplary.

I also apologize for the delay in this statement as I just arrived back home late Saturday evening. That being said, I would like to take the time to explain my thoughts on the events that began on August 14th.

This unfortunate incident began after leaving a celebration at the French House. We left the party at around 5:00 am in a taxi to travel back to the Athlete Village. On our way back we asked the cab driver to pull over so we could relieve ourselves. We pulled over to a gas station to use the bathroom but the door was locked. We did not force entry into the bathroom, nor did we ever enter the bathroom. We did, however, make the regrettable decision to urinate in the grass behind the building.

On our way back to the cab, Ryan Lochte pulled a poster in a metal frame off a wall. I got back into the cab and waited for the others. One of my teammates told me that a man with a gun was standing outside the cab. The man with the gun spoke with the cab driver, who got out of the cab. We then got out of the cab and I paid the driver the fare. As I walked away, the man with the gun pointed it at me and my teammate and ordered us, in Portuguese, to sit. This was the first time I have ever had a gun pointed at me and I was terrified.

I put my hands up and sat down on the curb. It became apparent that the man with the gun was telling us to pay, and I was unsure if they were affiliated with the gas station. Gunnar Bentz and I gave the man some money. We were then allowed to leave and we took another cab to the Village, arriving around 7:00 am. Later that day, a Rio police detective came to the USA House to take a statement. Since I was the only person available, I was told by a USOC official to provide a statement.

In this statement, I omitted the facts that we urinated behind the building and that Ryan Lochte pulled a poster off the wall. This statement was written by the officers in Portuguese, and I was then asked to sign the statement without seeing it translated into English. I realize that I made a mistake by omitting these facts. I was trying to protect my teammates and for this I apologize.

On the day I was scheduled to leave Rio, I was told that the police were investigating the matter and my passport was to be held until further information was provided. I was asked to stay in the country so I voluntarily provided my passport to the police and waited while the matter was investigated. I contacted lawyers in the United States and in Rio de Janeiro and awaited instruction.

I was informed by my Brazilian attorney that the police were requesting I make a follow-up statement. I provided the statement at the police station, which included the previous omissions. From there I was taken to the Brazilian court. I waited outside while my attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge met to decide what to do.

I was eventually given two options. Option one was to remain in Brazil while the police continued the investigation. This process was estimated to take at least a month and I would be required to remain in Brazil. Option two was pay a fine of R$100,000.00 ($31,250.00 USD) for the return of my passport and perform fifteen days of community service. I called my American attorneys to discuss what to do. We decided that this amount was unreasonable and due to safety concerns, this offer was also rejected. The prosecutor’s response was to increase the fine to R$150,000.00 ($46,875.00 USD).

Finally, all parties agreed to a R$35,000.00 ($10,800.00 USD) fine. This fine was to be paid within three days. If it was not paid, the fine would be increased back to R$150,000.00. I was able to contact my family in the United States along with my American attorneys and we were able to satisfy the payment of the fine the next day. My passport was returned to me after payment was received, and I was able to return home.

The support of my family, friends, and attorneys was paramount in my ability to return home. I am so sorry for the drama this has caused in everyone’s lives. I am very thankful to be home in the United States with my family and that this ordeal has come to an end.

54 Comments

54 comments

  1. avatar
    J Lucas

    Honestly, between this and the USA Today article, leaning back towards robbery (or at least a reasonable perception of one) and judicial extortion, honestly.

    • avatar
      J Lucas

      That is not to say these four respresented the USA well by any means. But that isn’t a crime. Just poor judgment.

      • avatar
        Alex

        Destruction of private property is a crime, in Brazil and in the US…

    • avatar
      Maria Luisa Bilbao

      Out of proportion all the fuss. Not such a big deal I had a restaurant and teenagers after drinking do silly things but they apologize the next day . No reason to show a gun to them for a broken poster. All around the globe we have those incidents and they don’t come in the news. they just crucified them because they are famous athletes

      • avatar
        Fred H.

        The difference is, that these are world class athletes. They are the example other will judge us by. They aren’t teenagers having some fun. I think they got what they deserved. They have done the United States a disservice by acting like idiots in another country.

      • avatar
        mic.jor

        This was a setup from the beginning and had nothing at all to do with a bunch of drunk swimmers.
        ¨ The police¨ or rent a cops or rent a psycho thug patrolling a menś bathroom at a gas station in South America is the real story here. Do not rentacops have anything better to do than to bust males for peeing in the bushes? It is clear that is their entire job in this miserable country of Brazil. What horror to have to stoop so low to make your daily bread.

      • avatar
        tom miller

        Teenagers are not 31 years old

      • avatar
        Elizabeth Williamson

        The difference is that not only are they world class athletes, Ryan Lochte is 32 years of age. These were not teenagers. These are grown young men that know differently. The difference is along with being world class athletes, Ryan Lochte chose to pull something off the wall that he had NO business touching. Most athletes in certain sports have been given an attitude of “well boys will be boys” and therefore are given a pass in their actions. We have seen this happen recently with a young swimmer at Stanford who raped a woman. Football figures who can physically abuse their wives in front of a camera. At some point there is accountability and being held to a standard. No more passes for bad behavior, just because you play sports!

  2. avatar
    H. Glesne

    My son and I have always been a fan of yours. We met you in Peoria, IL at your Fitter and Faster Clinic. My son has your autographed swim cap on his wall. I greatly appreciate hearing your perspective. This whole thing was blown out of proportion. You’re a good person. Never forget it! You have inspired my son to want to be just like you!

    • avatar
      carol

      You want your son to be a despicable person also???

      • avatar
        D Mayuiers

        Uggghhhh….. was that comment really necessary?

        As far as I can see, Feigen admitted he made mistakes and has taken responsibility for his actions. Sadly, not many others would do the same. I, for one, applaud Feigen for his honesty and his willingness to explain exactly what happened.

      • avatar
        Tim Hull

        Carol, Would please give us the names of 10 of your former college friends? We’d like to see how you skated through of your life without a stupid thing being done. Or were yours handled with the anonymous discreetness from which most of us benefit?

      • avatar
        Mitchell

        It’s hard for me to understand how you could reach the conclusion that because her son met and respects an Olympic swimmer that he too could grow up to be as you say a “despicable person”. It must be a burden being the judge and the jury of public opinion. I’m betting that if we could look in your closet of skeletons, one might find a barrage of incidents that might make you despicable as well. However, you would not receive the same attention because well, you’re not an Olympic swimmer or anyone worth reporting on in a news story. This, may be the real issue you are angry and upset with the world??

      • avatar
        Jennifer

        Carol, do you KNOW him, or Ryan Lochte or the other swimmers? If the answer is no then save your comments and judgement. I know swimmers who do know them and have nothing but good things to say about them. Yes they are world class athletes, but to become world class athletes they had to work incredibly hard, sacrifice much of the time others their age can spend making mistakes and getting inebriated without the scrutiny of the world watching! They had been training every day for months, and their events were finished, they celebrated, had too much to drink and made a bad choice, that hardly makes them “despicable people.” Makes them human!

      • avatar
        Laurel C.

        You’re awful.

      • avatar
        H. Glesne

        Jimmy’s actions do not make him a “despicable person.” He made a mistake, minor at that, and owned up to it. Judging others so harshly is not a very admirable quality.

      • avatar
        Meg marvin

        Must be nice to be perfect Carol.

      • avatar
        Joe Mattina Jr.

        Some thoughts on those judgmental critics who have relegated these 4 Americans to criminal status… to Alex, who said destruction of private property is a crime in Brazil and the U.S., I rather doubt you’re familiar with the criminal statutes of either. That being said, during the last presidential cycle, there were numerous instances of Obama voters stealing and/or destroying Romney signs in peoples’ yards. I don’t recall that any of these “hardened criminals” were drawn down upon with firearms and extorted for $11,000. To Elizabeth Williamson, 3 of the 4 were college students, if not teenagers and you’re conflating urinating behind a gas station with rape and assault? I suppose you condone the pointing of guns at the Americans as appropriate use of force and extortion “writ large” as an acceptable practice of that Brazilian poop-hole of a city? Since you’re posing the “they should’ve known better” premise, we have a former first lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State who has compromised national security at the highest levels, knowingly violated laws to keep an illegal server in her bathroom for convenience, and willfully allowed the deaths of 4 Americans to transpire who’s currently running for the presidency… do you think SHE should’ve known better? You and your ilk are so hypocritical with your selective anger when you should be outraged about how 4 American citizens were treated by one of the larger Third World Nations during the Olympic games.

  3. avatar
    MIchael King

    It seems like a shake down, first by the security guard, and now by the judicial system of Brazil. Any man that has not pee’d behind a building, please raise your hand. The poster could not have cost more than USD10.00. Come on. Granted, Lockte should never have claimed robbery. This is just the way things work in some countries. Pay the money and move on.

    • avatar
      Kuku

      Really? Destruction of private property by drunk spoiled American grown up yet claiming to be kids is fine in your book? Ever heard of vandalism? Ohh it is a poor country and therefore laws do not apply.

      • avatar
        synth

        I’m sorry, but pulling a poster off the wall should not warrant a $30K fine. The fact that they raised the fine and then lowered the fine is even more of an indication that this was extortion pure and simple.

      • avatar
        Laurel C.

        ditto on what synth said.

  4. avatar
    Mike

    From this incident, you can see Brazil has long way to go in its justice system. A gas station security guard can act as police and courts to deal things like this. Pointing guns to people tells you that Brazil is not a safe place.

    • avatar
      John

      By that logic, Mike, would you say America is a safe place even though we have people taking their version of the law in their own hands? We have neighborhood watch and security guards killing unarmed African Americans, crazed lunatics shooting up abortion clinics because of religions beliefs, police killing children carrying toy guys within 2 seconds, is that the “safe” America you’re referring to? It seems to me that our America has a lot in common with Brazil these days.

      • avatar
        Swimterp

        Yes, we have thugs murdering police officers and their own largely African-American neighbors, but at least we don’t live in a country where a simple gas station requires ARMED security guards to patrol the property. I’ve driven in 49 of our 50 states and have never seen an armed guard at a gas station. This whole story sounds more and more like a shakedown/robbery, just as Lochte described it.

      • avatar

        I mostly agree with you that this should not have escalated, however consider the hundred thousand armed personnel hired to keep ISIS out of these Olympics. I am sure that every gas station had an armed guard 24/7 . The terrorists always hit a gas station in one way or another (France, Belgian, etc). Boring job for sure, but you see a guy taking down a poster and you have a chance to relieve the tedium! This should not have escalated, but since the world headline appeared, WE WERE ROBBED BY A FAKE POLICEMAN, a hero swimmer the victim, the Brazilian people and their judiciary were compelled to at least try to erase some of the damage done by that king-size larceny by making a noisy and angry reaction, something the would also hit front-page news. Case close. A sad event for all.

  5. avatar
    knave

    where was the damages? Here in the US, one must have damages to require the payment of a sum of $10000. Pissing on the grass is not a crime and hurt no one, it is something I would certainly do if a bathroom were nowhere to be found. Sounds like the poster couldn’t have been worth more than the $50 or so that they already paid to the man with the gun. Why did Brazil see fit to extort $10000? And I thought I might want to visit Brazil soon…..NO WAY!!!! Too much corruption in the judicial system for me to feel safe.

    • avatar
      Gina

      I agree, this is outright extortion by the Brazilian judicial system. In what country are fines “negotiated”? It’s clear this is not some statutory law that was violated, but a shakedown by government officials.

  6. avatar
    Anon

    In the US, the security/police just shoot your ass

    • avatar
      Jon H

      This is a spurious comment. Either you’ve never been to the US, or you’re a troll.

  7. avatar
    Dellie Q.

    Wow, I appreciate his through description, but is despicable that he lied to the police on his first statement. Awful to be represented internationally by these kind of people.

    • avatar
      Tim H.

      He didn’t lie. Please read the whole story next time, before commenting.

      • avatar
        BO

        when you’ve knownly omitting facts ..to a police report…it was not a lie…do you live in Mars?

    • avatar
      MAL

      His main lie was he was asleep/didn’t see anything during the altercation with the security guards. He didn’t want his teammates to get into trouble. Which is mainly Ryan getting into trouble, as the other two never gave statements before being removed from the plane.

      This whole situation stinks. Extortion at it’s finest. $46,000 for what would be considered by Brazilian lawyers as a misdemeanor. What country removes citizens of another country off a plane because they’re witnesses to a misdemeanor offense and then makes them do the perp walk with 100 cameras shoved in their faces. Brazil wanted to embarrass them and to make them look guilty.

      • avatar

        boy you are just as dumb as the lying swimmer!!! You must be a good swimmer! Listen up, the Brazilians spent a fortune on security and cops,, something that was visible to all. Just look at the marathon! They were ogling the crowd everywhere to prevent another Boston marathon bomber. To tell the world press that a man wearing the look of a cop took their money is one of the most damaging thing that could hurt the country in its tourist trade, the next Mardi Gras, the hundred of samba schools from the favelas, one of the only income for the poors living there. A place where crooks wear cops uniform to rob you is enough to discourage enough tourists really hurt. That lie angered the world and the reaction of the judicial was warranted, be it to attract enough attention to tell every one: “This athlete lied and was arrested and fined by a security guard for vandalism. This was NOT what he described”. Of course this athlete was not a criminal, but what he said was criminal in that national context that is hard to perceive for …dumb self-centered people not capable of real empathy.” The so-called fine was negociated down to $10,000 after Brazilians felt that the front-page lie had been erased to a good degree. Tourism is safe. Brazil ended up smelling sh*t to some swimmers but smelling like a rose to the normal people of the world. Do some research.

  8. avatar
    Zeke

    Sounds like bribery

  9. avatar
    M. Baker

    Not a crime.. It’s actually 3 crimes.. Public Urination, Vandalism/Defacing property and giving a false statement to police.. All while being a famous athletic representative of the United States.. Criminal and embarrassing, to them and the U.S., on a worldwide level.. They are grown men that acted like hooligans in a place that hosted them to display their talents. Let’s not make them feel entitled to this behavior for any reason. They should be held accountable, without any excuses from anyone.

    • avatar
      BO

      I was embrassed …..being an American Citizen…

    • avatar
      Swim Mom

      Did you actually watch any of the videos? I did not see 4 men acting like hooligans. I saw 4 men go to the back of the building where they apparently pulled down a sign and peed in the grass. They were not hooting and hollering. They were not peeing in the parking lot in front of other people. I just don’t see them acting like hooligans.

  10. avatar
    Jeff H

    I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion – reflecting Brazilian inferiority, judicial extortion, and didn’t quite live up to the reputation of an Olympic host country. How many country as host nation would have normal security guards waving their guns around their guests when the nation itself has a violent reputation despite all the natural beauty and hospitality culture. Knowing that youngsters from all over the world will be there and partying hard, unforeseen situation will occur. As a host nation, they need to either step up their plates with training the society or step up their attitude with a larger heart. These Olympians live under extreme pressure for years to win and when let lose under such global partying condition after a race, it is expected that some things will happen. It takes a special heart and major finances to be host country to host the world largest sport party. It’s not just sport… it’s a whole cultural package.

  11. avatar

    A robbery with robbers holding a gun disguised as policemen, this headline is enough to cost the country millions of dollars in tourism revenues. The fine of $10,000 does not begin to erase that shortfall in a country like Brazil that needs this income. This guard or cop did the right thing and so did the judicial system, be it to defuse this big lie that could have cost so much. I live in Baja when a few years ago cops took money from tourists driving south. When that piece of news spread in San Diego headlines, the tourist traffic shrank massively for years, not yet fully restored. I saw the misery and unemployment created with the peaceful and friendly locals. This is not a little white lie but a major black eye on a country that needs our support. I am greatful that the press followed this story to its denouement, happy that sponsors pulled out from the guilty swimmer.

    • avatar
      M. Baker

      Great point on the ramifications of their irresponsible and criminal. A lot of people don’t see the big picture. Too busy making excuses for grown men.

      • avatar
        M. Baker

        Great point on the ramifications of their irresponsible and criminal actions. A lot of people don’t see the big picture. Too busy making excuses for grown men.

  12. avatar
    BO

    I read through a few site and i was suprised how peoples are..if some brazilan comes to the US did the same thing the 4 guys did…you guys must be crying to cut tie with Brazil….they were stupid but if the case moved forward to the court…isn’t perjury a crime…maybe not in Brazil…dude..in the US..it is…

  13. avatar
    Hung C La

    The world brazil aND the US media have blown this way out of proportion the usa athletes embarrassed brazil and the world by being the best athletes winning the most medals, they have to put a minor incident that involved us swimmers into the public eye to shame the us for being the best weren’t there other incidences of other countries athletes being sent home for doing exactly what our us swimmers did, but no that was not putin the front of the news

  14. avatar
    David

    Public Urination – $50 ticket
    Making false statements to an officer – Up to 3 months in jail and not more than $500 fine
    (Misdemeanor Class B)
    Intentional destruction of property – Up to 6 months in jail and not more than $1000 fine
    (Misdemeanor Class A)

    W(here)TF does Brazil get off extorting R$35,000.00 ($10,800.00 USD)?

    This says nothing about the other Olympic athelets

  15. avatar
    sw-917

    This guy is lying in his statement when he said he was in the cab at the time Ryan tore something off the wall. They all enter the cab around the same time, watched the video.

    These guys vandalize that gas station bathroom the video showed them coming out from the back after Ryan was ripping something all the wall – he and his legal team had over a week to put this together and still lied.
    The guard, cop, employee, or store owner was in the right to hold them at gun point when someone was acting violent on the premise. They were committing vandalism and trespassing at that point.

    TOTAL DISGRACE –

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2016/aug/18/cctv-ryan-lochte-rio-2016-robbery-video

  16. avatar
    fishinggriff

    Judgement is best done when looking in the mirror. Forgiveness is best when looking at someone else.

  17. avatar
    Luv Brazil, hate its coruption

    I’m American and have lived in Rio for the last 30 years. During Carnaval/mardi gras men urinate in public regularly, and so do many women. The reason is there are not enough public bathrooms for such large beer infused crowds. And the rest of the year its not uncommon to see a man relieve himself late at night into a bush. The fact that this swimmer was forced to pay such a high fine is absolutely absurd and the real crime, judicial extorsion. I love Brazil but its judicial system and many if its corrupt politicians are a sad joke played on the otherwise good and honest people of Brazial.

  18. avatar
    Don

    I live in LatinAmerica, Nicaragua, and these abuses in authotity are true, but in Rio extreme. I, for one, belive his story.

  19. avatar
    Chris

    ryan lochte lied. he did not just lie to police, he went on tv and used the airwaves to use this situation to get publicity for himself. he did not care that it would cast bad light on Team USA, he did not care about the other swimmers. All he cared about was getting his face on TV because Phelps was the clear winner this Olympics and Ryan was an afterthought. He used this situation and lied about it! there is no excuse for his actions at all. And if he really was robbed, then he should have reported it right when he could. Instead he went back to the village and was still laughing and acting like nothing happened. Also he never even gave up any money…so how was he robbed!!! He was not pulled over by people acting as though they were police. He was acting a fool in their country. But that’s not the real issue…the real issue is the fact that he lied on national tv to get publicity at the expense of everyone else. The other swimmers paid the security guards. Ryan just took the “credit” for getting robbed!!! shameful.

  20. avatar
    CA

    USA Sports editor David Meeks has done an outstanding job of investigating this incident. Listen or read about this at USA Sports then decide.
    PS tearing down a poster will never be as bad as rape or violence. In the rape case mention, the Judge and court failed that victim! When drunk, people make bad decisions regardless of their age. I have seen plenty of adults do wrong when drinking and then wish they could a do over or take it all back.

  21. avatar
    Lea M

    It was a regrettable, regrettable incident, but they are human, and humans make mistakes. Feigen has apologized for his mistakes, made the necessary reparations to the Rio police and people, and that needs to be enough. We need to move on.

  22. avatar
    ConnieNorton

    When you represent your country in an event, of any sort, you are a guest
    in that country. This country operates in the same way. Ryan Locate
    is the reason all four got into trouble . He is the ONLY one who has
    not corrected himself. He lied! He has taken responsibility, but has
    not admitted to this lie. Ryan has had a troubled past and simply
    has not grown up. The other three have told the truth – Feign had signed,
    along with Lochte ,an affidavit giving false claims. The other two told
    the truth immediately. Feign t eventually told the truth- thus the fine. Ryan Locate
    should do the same. He will be punished by the swimming association
    and not allowed to compete for a period of time. He should apologize to
    all the athletes who competed in various fields so well and represented the
    USA as they did. We are all proud of them.

Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Circulation and Operations Manager at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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