Michael Phelps offers sympathy to Ryan Lochte: 'I've been through it before'

After two weeks of apologies, things got even worse for Ryan Lochte when he was recently charged with providing a false robbery report to Brazilian police.

The charge came after Lochte was dropped by all four of his major sponsors the day after the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics, and if convicted he could face up to 18 months in jail.

Things may look bleak, but an old friend is offering some words of wisdom.

On Monday Michael Phelps gave encouragement to Lochte in an interview with the "Today" show, saying that he knows what Lochte is going through.

"It's always hard to see a friend and competitor go through a hard time like this. I know what it feels like and I've been through it before," he said. "Hopefully, he can come out of this a better person. I've reached out to him a couple of times. I think he understands a lot and he will be able to grow from this."

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Michael Phelps offered some sympathetic words to Ryan Lochte after the Olympics. USATSI

Phelps has dealt with his own legal issues in the past, having twice been arrested for DUI violations. His first arrest came in 2004 and his second in 2014, after which he received a six-month suspension from USA Swimming.

The most decorated Olympian of all time also dealt with massive backlash after a photo was released in 2009 that appeared to show Phelps smoking marijuana. In the aftermath he lost his Kellogg sponsorship and was suspended for three months by USA Swimming.

"Michael's most recent behavior is not consistent with the image of Kellogg," the company said in 2009. "His contract expires at the end of February and we have made a decision not to extend his contract."

The language is strikingly similar to that of the brands that dropped Lochte early last week, so Phelps isn't lying when he says he's been through it before.

Phelps, of course, not only bounced back in the pool, but also regained the trust of his sponsors, USA Swimming and the nation.

We'll have to wait and see if the same can be said for Lochte.

Wink of the CBS eye to TIME

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