A University of Florida football player found himself in the news cycle after announcing that he will no longer use the nickname “AR-15,” due to the association with mass shooting.
Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson — who wears the number 15 — posted a statement on Twitter saying he would no longer capitalize on what was an ill-advised nickname to begin with — after all, the Washington Bullets NBA team changed their name in 1995 because of the associated violent overtones.
“After discussions with my family and much thought, I have decided to no longer use the nickname ‘AR-15’ and the current apparel line logo, which features a scope reticle, as part of my branding,” the statement said.
“While a nickname is only a nickname and ‘AR-15’ was simply a representation of my initials combined with my jersey number, it is important to me that my name and brand are no longer associated with the assault rifle that has been used in mass shootings, which I do not condone in any way or form,” the player continued. “My representatives and I are currently working on rebranding, which includes the creation of a new logo and transitioning to simply using ‘AR’ and my name, Anthony Richardson.”
— Anthony Richardson † (@GVOaant) July 17, 2022
Richardson, a sophomore, also took down a website that sold AR-15 merchandise with that logo.
A screen grab of the website’s home page can be seen here:
The NCAA announced in June 2021 that college athletes will have the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness, with the decision coming on the heels of the Supreme Court ruling 9-0 to affirm a lower court ruling that found that antitrust law prevented the NCAA from restricting payments to athletes for items such as musical instruments or as compensation for an internship, according to CNBC.
While it’s not clear if Richardson was pressured by those on the left to drop the branding, they certainly celebrated his decision:
BREAKING: University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson abandons his gun-themed nickname “AR-15” because he doesn’t want to be “associated with the assault rifle that has been used in mass shootings.” RT IF YOU THINK THAT HE MADE A GREAT DECISION!
— Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) July 18, 2022
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