Anthony Richardson could be dropping his AR-15 nickname

·2 min read

Before Anthony Richardson was the starting quarterback at the University of Florida, he was just another Gainesville kid wearing the same No. 15 as one of the greatest to ever put on the orange and blue — Tim Tebow. It didn’t take long for the “AR-15” nickname to set in considering Richardson’s explosive arm and it quickly turned into his brand.

The problem is that Richardson no longer wishes to share a nickname with the type of semi-automatic rifle that has been used in several mass shootings across the country in recent years, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi. Richardson’s NIL marketing representative Deiric Jackson spoke with Bianchi on Friday about the potential shift.

“We are in discussions right now about what to do,” Jackson said. “Anthony does not want his name to be associated with gun violence in any way.”

That’s not a new position from Richardson either. Bianchi mentions that Richardson was the public face of the Gainesville Police Department’s gun buy-back program in the fall. Here’s a YouTube video the student-athlete appeared in last year:

Changing the nickname isn’t as simple as it sounds, though. It’s one of the more recognizable brands on the team, and maybe even across the SEC, right now. It’s also plastered across his clothing apparel complete with a scope sight logo on each shoulder. All of that could change, according to Jackson.

“We are thinking about changing the clothing brand,” he said. “We don’t want Anthony’s name associated with assault rifles. In fact, Anthony has been very active in trying to get guns off the streets in Gainesville.”

It’s hard not to think of the weapon when you say the nickname, but it’s also hard to think of Anthony Richardson without the moniker. It’s not the easiest or typical problem most athletes deal with, but it has been done before. Bianchi uses the example of Allen Robinson switching his number from 15 to 12 in 2018 to avoid the same association.

It doesn’t seem like Richardson will drop Tebow’s number just yet, but he will look to distance himself from AR-15 nickname by whatever means necessary.

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