Ray Rice wore jersey #27 when he played for the Baltimore Ravens. In March, he was arrested for third-degree aggravated assault and suspended for two games. Earlier this month, an elevator video leaked online that showed him punching his fiancée (now wife) in the face and knocking her unconscious.
After that, no fans wanted to rep #27. His contract with the Baltimore Ravens was terminated and he was suspended indefinitely from the NFL (he has since appealed the decision).
Last week, the Ravens announced a Ray Rice jersey exchange that would take place today and tomorrow, from 8:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. Fans started lining up as early as 4:00a.m. today outside M&T Stadium.
Hundreds (“maybe thousands,” a WJZ-TV reporter on the scene says) of people waited for hours in a line that stretch around the stadium. They started calling the exchange “Purple Friday.”
"I'm a dedicated Ravens fan. I had pictures taken with it, put it on my Christmas card every year," Peggie Dietz told The Baltimore Business Journal. "He won't be on my Christmas card this year."
To qualify, the jersey must be “a) Officially licensed by the NFL b) Manufactured by Nike or Reebok c) Purchased or available for purchase at the Ravens Team Store at M&T Bank Stadium or the Ravens Official Team Store Online.”
If that checks out, the owner can exchange their #27 jersey for another players’. One per person. Specific replacements not guaranteed. All exchanges final. Ravens PR says if they run out of jerseys, they will exchange the Ray Rice jersey for a voucher.
The exchange will continue tomorrow. No official word yet on what will be done with the jerseys that were exchanged.
But we say: goodbye and good riddance.
In related news: Today, NFL League Commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference, where he said “We have seen all to much of the NFL doing wrong. That starts with me. I got it wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter. The same mistakes can never be repeated.”