CoverGirl issues statement after protesters alter NFL 'Game Face' ads

CoverGirl issues statement after protesters alter NFL 'Game Face' ads
Running back Ray Rice and his wife, Janay, speak to the media in May. Rice's case has prompted Cover Girl ads to be altered by those protesting a line of NFL-related products. (Rob Carr / Getty Images)

A CoverGirl ad campaign meant to draw female football fans has become the target of online protesters upset about the makeup company's ties to the NFL in the wake of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal.

Ads for the "Get Your Game Face On" campaign have been altered to make it appear that a model in a Baltimore Ravens jersey has a black eye.

The ad campaign features models made up in team colors and urges potential customers to "find your team's official game face and fanicure, purchase products for every look, and more!"

After the pages were briefly unavailable Monday night, the site again displayed the team looks, minus the Ravens' model. The omission was not noted on the website.

CoverGirl officials Tuesday acknowledged that the site was down at one point, but said no changes were made and the Ravens page remains online.

Shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, CoverGirl issued the following tweet:

And posted this statement on its Facebook page:

"As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, COVERGIRL believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans. In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence."

The statement came after hours of protesters using the altered CoverGirl ad -- several versions of which were circulating in social media -- to demand an end to the relationship between the company and the NFL. Protesters also called for the ousting of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell has been heavily criticized as initially doling out too weak a punishment to Rice, who has since been cut from the Ravens and indefinitely suspended from the league.

Working to repair his image and the league's, Goodell announced Monday that the newly created position of vice president of social responsibility would be headed by NFL executive Anna Isaacson. In addition, Goodell named three female consultants who will work with Isaacson to help shape league policies on domestic violence and sexual assault.

The altered images, posted to Facebook and Twitter, were shared so many times that the faux ads went viral with anti-NFL hashtags and messages added.

CoverGirl celebrity models include Pink, Drew Barrymore, Janelle Monáe, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Sofía Vergara and Ellen DeGeneres. As of late Monday, none had weighed in on the protests via social media.

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Sept. 16, 11:11 a.m.: This post has been updated with CoverGirl's statement that the Ravens look page remains available.

8:37 p.m.: This post has been updated with information about the NFL's newly created position of vice president of social responsibility and the addition of three female consultants to the league.

8:11 p.m.: This post was updated with information about the company's celebrity spokeswomen.

This story was originally published at 8:02 p.m.