SBD/February 18, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Losing His Charm? Ray Rice's Image Could Suffer Following Alleged Domestic Dispute

Rice is scheduled to appear at the Maryland SPCA's March for the Animals Kickoff Party
Ravens RB Ray Rice is among the team's "most visible players" off the field, from his community outreach to his anti-bullying activities to a "myriad of profitable endorsements," according to a front-page piece by Mike Klingaman of the Baltimore SUN. But an alleged domestic dispute this weekend between Rice and his fiancee at an Atlantic City casino "could jeopardize much of that and tarnish the image that he has built." Baltimore-based TBC Advertising Exec VP & Managing Dir Howe Burch said, "I think it clearly undermines the image he has crafted with the Ravens as one who gives back to the community. It's clearly a blemish on him and something he'll have to overcome." The Ravens yesterday afternoon were "still gathering details about the incident." Former Ravens K Matt Stover: "If I'm (Owner) Steve (Bisciotti) or [GM Ozzie Newsome], you shake your head and you say, 'I wonder what happened,' and then you say, 'Let's all get together.' As human beings, we all have our issues; we all have things. Sometimes they come to public light." Klingaman notes besides "charitable work, Rice is one of the Ravens' most active pitchmen." He has endorsed M&T Bank, Gillette, Sheets energy strips, used-car business Carbiz and BodyArmor SuperDrink. Carbiz Owner Evan Berney said, "It's impossible for me to know what happened at this time. I know (Rice), and he's a really great individual and it would be hard for me to think it all wasn't just a misunderstanding." Rice is "scheduled to appear at the Maryland SPCA's March for the Animals Kickoff Party on Friday in Baltimore." Burch said, "We need to wait and see what the real story is. But even if there is some small [kernel] of truth that he assaulted her, it will take a lot of time to repair his image" (Baltimore SUN, 2/18).

NOT SO CHARMING: In Baltimore, Mike Preston writes few pro athletes "have fallen out of favor so quickly" in the city as Rice. Preston: "Once a Baltimore golden boy, he just keeps falling and falling and falling. ... Is the real Ray Rice the one we have seen in the last year?" (Baltimore SUN, 2/18).
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