Amid Jalen Ramsey trade talk, sponsors rethinking commitments

Backlash grows from ticket holders, sponsors after Jaguars CB speaks to media

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Just 24 hours after what some described as a bizarre news conference held by Jalen Ramsey following reports of the cornerback requesting a trade from the Jaguars, the backlash continued to grow from fans, ticket holders and sponsors who might have to rethink their commitments.

News4Jax has learned local companies that used Ramsey as a spokesperson are already making plans to stop running their ads, such as Nimnicht Chevrolet, where a spokesman said they've canceled all their advertisements featuring him until they know if he's staying. Ramsey has been featured nationally in NFL commercials and locally to promote real estate companies, which are now rethinking if he should be their frontman.

Ramsey made it clear in Tuesday's news conference that he doesn't want to be a distraction to his team ahead of Thursday's matchup against the Tennessee Titans, arguably Jacksonville's biggest rival. But with every word, and every curse word said, it made it impossible not to focus on him.

"I love Duval. The city embraced me. Fans embraced me since I've been here. I mean, s***, just last night I was in Ruth's Chris. They were showing hella love," Ramsey told reporters Tuesday.

There has been a mixed reaction from fans, with some coming to Ramsey's defense and others saying the Jaguars have a real problem now.

"I really think these guys need to realize they are on a team and, mentally, they can make it happen, emotionally, whatever is going down," Jaguars fan Robert Penn said. "I don't know if they need a team psychologist or a better one, it just seems like the people are manifesting their frustrations and it's affecting the team."

According to News4Jax sports analyst Mark Brunell, Ramsey is the best cornerback in the NFL. But at the same time, Brunell said, the two-time Pro Bowl player is also one of the most selfish players in the league. Brunell said Ramsey's words during the news conference had a rippling effect on the organization that put him front and center. 

"No one player is bigger than the team, ever. That's one of the best things about football. It's a team game," Brunell said. "In my opinion, I think Ramsey is acting immature and he's acting selfish and there's no room for that on a football team."

In spite of what Ramsey said, he's become a huge distraction -- one that is likely in the back of his teammates' heads, affecting them on and off the field. 

The Associated Press reported that two teammates, linebacker Myles Jack and cornerback Josh Robinson, stood in the back of the room to support Ramsey during Tuesday's 16-minute interview. Two other teammates, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the conversations, reportedly said the trade request had as much to do with the direction of the franchise than anything else.

And some fans are seemingly embarrassed by Ramsey's behavior, such as one person who took to a Swip Swap Facebook group to sell Ramsey's signed jersey for $600.  

"He's done in Jacksonville. So disrespectful to his team, his coach and his fans … Bye Felicia," one comment reads.

Another commenter wrote, "Better sell the jersey before he leaves and takes all his whiny drama to New England."

Some fans said Ramsey’s words and actions are part of a bigger problem, which could affect season ticket holders' commitment to the team. 

"Fans (are) saying if they trade him, they’ll walk away," Jaguars fan John Cicchinel said. "I think trading a key player is going to ... make a lot of fans angry."

On Wednesday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone put to rest speculation that the team could sit him for Thursday night's primetime game, saying Ramsey will be in the lineup.

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