JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson said in a statement on Sunday that he will no longer use the nickname “AR-15″ because it shares similarities with the weapon often used in mass shootings.
The nickname comes from his initials and his jersey number, 15.
Richardson said he doesn’t want to be associated with the high-powered rifle that has been connected a number of mass shootings in the country. The gunman in the deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, for example, reportedly used an AR-15-style rifle.
The 21-year-old quarterback, who is expected to become the starting quarterback for the team this fall, said he also plans to rebrand a clothing line that used his now-former nickname.
Richardson tweeted a statement that read:
“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. 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. 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.”