Ray Rice Jersey Exchange Draws More Than 7,000 Fans
Ray Rice jerseys are now an endangered species in Baltimore after more than 7,000 fans showed up to trade in jerseys of the disgraced player.
This week the Baltimore Ravens held a two-day event that allowed fans to bring in their Ray Rice jerseys and exchange them for another player. The team handed out 5,595 new jerseys before finally running out on Saturday, and gave more than 2,400 vouchers for the rest of the fans who waited in line for more than an hour.
About 15 percent of fans had their jerseys rejected because they were not official NFL licensed merchandise.
Rice was accused of domestic abuse earlier this year after he was caught on video dragging his unconscious fiance from an Atlantic City casino elevator. The NFL ultimately suspended Rice for two games and he was allowed to enter a diversion program rather than go to trial, but earlier this month video emerged from inside the elevator showing Rice striking then-fiancee Janay Palmer inside the elevator, knocking her out.
The new footage led the NFL to suspend Rice indefinitely and the team to cut him.
Team officials said the most popular jerseys were quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Torrey Smith.
The Baltimore Ravens are apparently to pay for their mistake. Team spokesman Kevin Byrne said the team spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Ray Rice jersey trade-in.
“We anticipated over the two days getting about 5,000 people, so we got about 2,000 more,” Byrne said. “We just felt it was the right thing to do, and that’s why we did it.”
But the gesture might not be enough to absolve the team from all blame. A new report from ESPN found that Ravens officials were aware of the elevator footage and lobbied the NFL for a more lenient suspension for Rice.
The Ray Rice jerseys exchanged this week will now be sent to companies that deal in scrap metals. The Ravens said they will not profit from the exchange.
[Image via NewsLocker.com]