Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson said in a statement Sunday that he will no longer use the nickname “AR-15” as part of his personal brand because he doesn’t want to be associated with the semi-automatic rifle by the same name, which has been used in mass shootings.
An AR-15 style rifle was used in the shooting deaths of 19 children and two adults at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school in May.
“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 semi-automatic rifle that has been used in mass shootings, which I do not condone in any way or form,” Richardson said in a post to his official website. “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.”
Taking advantage of college athletes’ newfound ability to generate money from name, image and likeness deals, Richardson started an apparel line last year that included jerseys, long-sleeve shirts, wristbands and temporary tattoos.
Richardson said he will also discontinue use of the scope reticle logo.
Richardson emerged as a fan favorite and gifted playmaker as a freshman at Florida last season.
Despite backing up starting quarterback Emory Jones for most of the season and dealing with a knee injury that kept him off the field late in the year, Richardson managed nine total touchdowns — six passing and three rushing.
Jones transferred to Arizona State in the spring, clearing the way for Richardson to become the front-runner to start for the Gators this season under new coach Billy Napier.
Richardson, with only one career start, debuted at No. 13 on ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board of prospects in May.
Florida opens the season on Sept. 3 against Utah.