It was reported that as Ortiz took the selfie with Obama, a teammate blurted, "Cha-ching." Oakley is among marketers said to have paid endorser athletes bonuses for getting its sunglasses on TV or in print. So in the social media zeitgeist, it's entirely logical that Ortiz has a similar pact with Samsung.
"It reflects the sophistication of the Samsung agreement with Ortiz," suggested Rick Burton, a professor of sports management at Syracuse University.
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The White House mildly balked at "selfie-gate," but Ortiz suffered no big blowback. The marathon could be different.
"You only need one person to say, 'I accuse you of profiting off of last year's horror' to then have a huge population turn against you," Burton said. "Usually, PR blunders are just because no one has actually stopped and said, 'Could someone be offended by this?' If I'm his agent, I pull him off of this."
—By Bob Woods, Special to CNBC.com.