BALTIMORE — More than 7,000 fans showed up to exchange their Ray Rice jerseys for those of other Ravens players during a two-day event at Baltimore’s stadium on Sept. 20.
The Ravens handed out 5,595 new jerseys before running out before middayay, then issued more than 2,400 vouchers for fans to pick up their jerseys once new shipments arrive in October.
Rice, the face of the team, had his contract terminated and was suspended indefinitely by the NFL this month for domestic violence.
Team spokesman Kevin Byrne said the Ravens spent “six figures” on the trade-in. He declined to disclose an exact figure.
“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.”
Byrne said the jerseys collected by the NFL team will be given to companies that deal in scrap materials.
“The NFL licensed jerseys are not recyclable because of certain materials in parts of the jersey, so what we’re going to do is offer them to companies who deal in scrap,” Byrne said. “We’re not getting paid for it. We’ll just give it to them, and they can do with it as they please.”
Approximately 15 percent of those who showed up had their jerseys rejected because either they were not officially licensed by the NFL or hadn’t been available through the team’s online or stadium store. The team offered them token gifts in exchange.
“It’s clearly an unusual time for the franchise,” Byrne said. “The one thing that we’ve tried to be is transparent. So this is new territory for us. We’re learning as we go.”
Fans began lining up as early as 4 a.m. on the first day of the exchange on Sept. 19. By the time gates opened at 8 a.m, there were estimated to be more than 1,000 people in a line that stretched at least halfway around the stadium.
The most requested jerseys, according to the team, were those of quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Torrey Smith. Five other player jerseys also were available.