TMZ - Ryan Lochte is going to get punished by the USOC ... but sources connected with the 4 swimmers don't think it's fair for the organization to annihilate them to appease those who are out for blood.
Michael Phelps' punishment for his 2 DUIs is unquestionably relevant. The reality is ... but for the grace of God, Phelps could have killed an innocent person while driving drunk. After his second DUI in 2014, the USOC imposed a 6-month suspension.
The org did not strip Phelps of his medals or keep him from competing in the 2016 Olympics.
As for Lochte and crew, they were drunk as well, but none got behind the wheel. Our sources say worst-case scenario ... Lochte damaged a sign outside a gas station bathroom and peed on the grass.
Bottom line ... sources connected with the 4 swimmers say a 6-month suspension would be harsh given Phelps' punishment, but could still be justified. Anything more, they say, is just vengeance to appease the media and the public.