Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata will replace running back Ray Rice at the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' kickoff party on Friday night for its annual March of Animals event.
An MDSPCA spokeswoman said that it was a mutual decision between the organization and Rice, because they didn't want to take the focus off the animals and the cause.
Rice was arrested and charged with simple-assault-domestic violence over the weekend after a domestic dispute with his fiancee, Janay Palmer, at the Revel casino in Atlantic City early Saturday morning.
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Rice's attorney, Andrew Alperstein, described the allegations as a “very minor physical altercation” with Palmer. Both Rice, 27, and Palmer, 26, were released on a summons to appear in court. Rice is also subject to a review by the league under the NFL personal-conduct policy, according to a league source.
Rice was scheduled to attend Friday’s event and a flier that is no longer on the MDSPCA’s website advertised that fans could have their dog’s picture taken with Rice.
The website now states that Ngata will attend the event.
On Monday, after the charge against Rice become public, a spokeswoman for the MDSPCA said that Friday’s event would go on but that the organization was unsure if Rice would still be attending after his legal issues in New Jersey.