Shortly after parting ways with tight end Aaron Hernandez on Wednesday, the New England Patriots stopped offering his No. 81 jersey for sale on their website as well as their team store at Gillette Stadium.
On Friday, the Patriots announced that fans who have purchased a No. 81 jersey — from either Reebok or Nike — from the team's pro shop at Gillette Stadium or through the team's website will have a two-day window to exchange the jersey for a new, in-stock Patriots jersey of comparable value.
"We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys, but may not understand why parents don’t want them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore," said Patriots spokesperson Stacey James. "We hope this opportunity to exchange those jerseys at the Patriots ProShop for another player’s jersey will be well received by parents."
The free jersey exchange will be available exclusively at the Patriots ProShop from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 6 and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 7.
Many have applauded the team's decision to release Hernandez, a move that potentially hinders their attempt to recoup the $12.5 million signing bonus Hernandez received from the team last August. Surely many more, including parents who have recently purchased a No. 81 jersey for their child, will applaud the team's decision to replace those jerseys. The praise is deserved as the Patriots continue to show through their actions that there are more important things than their own bottom line.