Questions Surround Status of Ray Rice Sports Drink Sponsorship
Updated: Tuesday, February 25 2014, 06:52 PM EST
A marketing marriage nearly a year and a half old may have come to an end after the highly publicized arrest of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice and his fiance are each facing assault charges after an incident at an Atlantic City casino earlier this month.
All images of Rice on the website for BODYARMOR SuperDrink had been removed by Tuesday afternoon. Rice has endorsed the drink since before the team became Super Bowl champions. He was one of four NFL players to endorse the product, but this week Rob Gronkowski, LeSean McCoy and Andrew Luck were the only three to remain on the company's website.
"There's a legal side of this and, there's a marketing side." Auburn Bell, Loyola marketing professor noted. "There's going to be some that elect to cut the ties immediately. There's going to be some that elect to see how it plays out."
Auburn added, "It's probably important for, first of all, Ray to be really up front about what happened."
PR Expert John Maroon, of Maroon PR thinks Rice should speak publicly.
"We've got to hear from Ray," Maroon said. "He's got to get out there and start explaining what happened and put his best foot forward and do a mea culpa."
Rice has still yet to speak publicly.
FOX45 reached out to BODYARMOR SuperDrink to see whether they had officially cut ties with Rice, or whether the athlete had been temporarily removed. By Tuesday evening the company had not responded.
Several other sponsors sent emailed statements to FOX45 regarding the matter last week. FOX45 received several statements Friday.
M&T Bank said; "We don't have enough information to comment right now, but we are evaluating information as it comes in to us."
Vertimax's president has decided to keep Rice on board---at least for now. Saying in part; "We will continue to monitor and evaluate this situation. At this time, Ray Rice is still part of the Vertimax family."
Carbiz is proving to be the most passionate. Its statement said in part; "We understand there are some individuals out there trying to sensationalize and capitalize from what is at best, an inconclusive video. We know Ray to have a high moral character and stand by him."