Ryan Lochte Speaks Out About 'Dancing With the Stars' Protest

"I am dedicated to my new family," he said of the show's cast and crew.

ByABC News
September 14, 2016, 3:45 PM

— -- Ryan Lochte is feeling thankful days after after protesters interrupted his debut on the season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars."

The Olympic swimmer released a statement on his Instagram page, in which he thanked his family, friends and fans for their support.

He also spoke out about how the incident has influenced the way he feels about the ABC reality TV show.

"When I was asked to do the show, the one thing that I kept hearing was that it was like joining a big family. After Monday's incident, I now know what that means," he wrote. "I have gotten so much love from everyone on the show, including my partner Cheryl [Burke], my fellow competitors, the producers, the security team and its fans. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the show, and more than ever, I am dedicated to my new family and to working hard to do my best."

On Monday night, two men, Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi, allegedly took to the stage during Carrie Ann Inaba's critique of Lochte's performance, screaming, "Liar!" in reference to the swimmer's claim that he was robbed at gunpoint during the Rio Summer Olympics. Lochte said later that he "overexaggerated," and the United States Olympic Committee has banned him for 10 months.

Sotoodeh and Soroudi were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing and released from jail on Tuesday. They have not yet entered a plea and are due back in court next month. They told ABC News that they never meant to hurt Lochte, but wanted to express their feelings about the Olympian's involvement with the show.

"Everyone deserves a second chance, but we had to say our protest, as well," Soroudi said.

A representative for "Dancing With the Stars" also told ABC News that the show is conducting "a full evaluation of security procedures" and will make any necessary changes.

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