Anthony Richardson, a University of Florida quarterback often known as “AR-15” for his initials and his uniform number, has announced he’s embracing a less violent image as he heads right into a season by which he’s projected to be certainly one of the highest players in college football.
Richardson, who also sells a line of apparel, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that he now not desired to be related to an assault weapon utilized in mass shootings which have horrified the nation.
“It is necessary to me that my name and brand are not any longer related to the assault rifle that has been utilized in mass shootings, which I don’t condone,” he wrote on Twitter. The message became the one content on the home page of his personal website.
He added that he was “transitioning” to using “AR” or no nickname in any respect.
One other site of Richardson’s, www.shopar15apparel.com, which sold T-shirts and temporary tattoos with a scope reticle, carried a message on Monday night saying that it was “now not lively.”
In an interview posted yesterday by the sports media group High Top Sports, Mr. Richardson attributed the choice to “talking to my team” — “you realize, my management team,” he clarified — and added, “There’s a variety of stuff occurring with AR-15s and shooting and stuff, and a variety of people hit me up just talking about it, asking me if I used to be supporting that stuff.”
He continued, “I don’t want people pondering I’m that variety of person.”
This summer alone has seen several mass shootings, including at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers, and at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, where a gunman killed 10 Black people in a racist attack. Each gunmen used AR-15-style rifles.
In Florida, a jury is now weighing whether to provide the death penalty to Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded guilty to killing 17 people and injuring 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He, too, used a gun resembling an AR-15.
Representatives of Mr. Richardson didn’t immediately reply to a request for a comment on Monday night about whether anything particularly had prompted his decision.
Oddsmakers consider Richardson among the many top prospects for winning the Heisman Trophy this season, when he will probably be a sophomore. With acrobatic dexterity and a 6-foot-4, 232-pound frame, he’s able to electrifying plays on the sector, similar to an 80-yard touchdown run against South Florida last season by which he barreled through a security.
Richardson, who’s from Gainesville, the house of the University of Florida Gators, appeared last October in a video for the Gainesville Police Department promoting a gun buy- back program. But along with promoting gun-themed merchandise, Richardson also appeared in no less than one promotional video striking a pose by which he goals a football like a gun.
The indisputable fact that he has a brand and management team is a function, to a big extent, of the N.C.A.A.’s decision in June of last yr to permit college athletes to make endorsements deals and find other opportunities to earn money from their names, images of them and their likenesses.
In October, Outback Steakhouse announced a sponsorship cope with Richardson. At around the identical time, Richardson posted a web site whose landing page emphasized his AR-15 nickname, in response to the Wayback Machine, a web site that hosts an archive of the web.
“It’s a blessing for us to find a way to generate income,” Richardson told Forbes last October. “It teaches us how you can manage money and understand the business aspect of things. It also allows us to assist our families in ways in which we couldn’t before.”
Richardson’s site began directing visitors to gun-themed apparel around January.
Earlier this month, the Dallas Cowboys drew criticism on social media after they announced a partnership with Black Rifle Coffee, a coffee company whose merchandising has featured names and pictures of guns and gun paraphernalia.
Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.