Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson announced that he will no longer use the nickname “AR-15” in his personal branding.
In a statement on his personal website, Richardson explained he doesn’t want to be associated with the semi-automatic rifle AR-15, which has been used in mass shootings, “which I do not condone in any way or form.”
In May, an AR-15 was used in the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting that led to the deaths of 19 children and two adults.
The nickname AR-15 was a combination of Richardson’s initials and his jersey number.
Richardson started an apparel line last year in a way to generate revenue as part of college students’ ability now to sign name, image and likeness deals, according to ESPN.
“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,” Richardson said in the statement.
“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,” Richardson 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.”
Richardson is the front-runner to be the Gators’ starting quarterback this season, after he backed up Emory Jones in 2021.
As a freshman last season, Richardson threw for more than 500 yards and six touchdowns, while adding three rushing touchdowns.
Now, Jones is gone, having transferred to Arizona State.
Even with limited college experience, this summer Richardson is being touted as a potential high NFL draft pick next year.
Richardson and the Gators open the 2022 season hosting Utah on Sept. 3.