The Olympian will appear in a series of print ads and a commercial for Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops with a theme of forgiveness. Lochte will shoot the ads that boast the drops are “forgiving on your throat” in Los Angeles in the next few weeks.
Pine Bros. CEO Rider McDowell reached out to Lochte after he was embroiled in an international scandal over his claim that he and three other Team USA Swimmers were robbed at gunpoint in Rio. Brazilian police refuted Lochte’s account of the incident and alleged that he had vandalized a gas station bathroom – and that a security guard, who held the four at gunpoint, was simply trying to recoup their losses.
McDowell said he hoped the public would be more understanding – and forgiving – of the 32-year-old athlete.
“People make mistakes,” McDowell tells PEOPLE. “The corporate culture underestimates the forgiving nature of most Americans. I really believe this.”
“We all screw up,” he continues. “Ryan’s led a relatively exemplary life for someone in the public eye, and his contribution to charity is commendable.”
Earlier this week, Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren announced that they would end their sponsorship of Lochte.
“While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” Speedo USA said in a statement. “We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience.”
When asked what he thought about other sponsors dropping Lochte, McDowell said, “I think it’s an overreaction.”
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE on Sunday, Lochte said he was untruthful when he detailed the incident as a “robbery” in his interview.
“I made that up,” Lochte tells PEOPLE. “The part I made up was saying that it was a robbery. I think the word ‘robbery’ shocked a lot of people, and the story went viral after that. A gun was pulled, and we had to give them cash. If I didn’t say ‘robbery,’ none of this would have happened.”
Lochte also said that he was far from finished making apologies.
“I’m sorry if what I did caused any problems in [Brazil],” he says. “I hope that they’ll accept my apology because I am truly sorry. I wish I could change it.”