Cough drop company signs Ryan Lochte to endorsement

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Thursday, August 25, 2016

American swimmer Ryan Lochte, who lost all of his endorsement deals on Monday, added a new deal Thursday.

Cough drop company Pine Brothers announced the partnership, saying that it hopes people forgive the 32-year-old swimmer, who was involved in a drunken incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station for which he has since apologized.

Lochte will appear in print ads and commercials, advertising that its throat drops are "forgiving on your throat."

"We all make mistakes, but they're rarely given front-page scrutiny," said Rider McDowell, CEO of the privately held company. "He's a great guy who has done incredible work with charities. I'm confident that Pine Bros. fans will support our decision to give Ryan a second chance."

It might be a quicker road to redemption than most expected, as the Pine Brothers endorsement is likely to be joined by a spot on "Dancing With The Stars." Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that Lochte was a virtual shoo-in to be named when the show's personalities are announced on Good Morning America next Tuesday.

Three of Lochte's partners -- Speedo, Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal -- all severed their dealswith the 12-time Olympic medalist Monday. Ralph Lauren, who counted Lochte as its biggest Olympic spokesperson, said their deal ended with the Olympics and they would not renew him.

On Aug. 14, the morning after the swimming competition ended at the Rio Games, Lochte and three teammates asked a cab driver to stop at a gas station so they could use the restroom. The group urinated outside the station, and Lochte damaged a promotional poster. Two security guards confronted the men, and guns were drawn during an altercation. The Americans paid about $50 before they were allowed to go.

Lochte's version of the story changed several times. In an interview with NBC on the morning of the incident, Lochte said the taxi he was in was pulled over, and he was robbed and had a gun put to his head. Three days later, he told NBC that he and the other swimmers were "victims" and that he hadn't made up the story.

On Aug. 19, Lochte apologized on Instagram, saying he "accept[ed] responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons." The next day, in an interview with "Today," he said he was intoxicated during the incident and that he "overexaggerated the story."

The three other swimmers -- Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen -- have all released statements apologizing for their role in the scandal, as well.

Lochte finished the Rio Games with only one medal -- a gold in the 4x200 relay.