Anthony Richardson, a quarterback for the University of Florida, has decided to change his nickname and give up the moniker “AR-15” due to its association with gun violence.
“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,” the Gators player said in a statement published to his Twitter.
As per CNN, Richardson announced that he will quit using the nickname and his branding would no longer include a logo with a scope reticle after giving it some serious thought and discussing it with friends and family.
“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,” he added.
Richardson, a redshirt freshman who shared playing time with Emory Jones in 2018, passed for 529 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions in seven games. Given that Jones transferred to Arizona State earlier this year, Richardson is anticipated to start for Florida this season.
When contacted for comment by CNN, Rick Hurtado, the Florida Gators’ director of football communications, pointed them to Richardson’s statement.
An alarming increase in mass shootings, including those at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, has once again called attention to America’s problem with gun violence.
Some of the deadliest shootings in the US have involved AR-style weapons, including those that occurred in Uvalde, Tulsa, El Paso, Parkland, San Bernardino, and Newtown.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 352 mass shootings in the US so far this year. A mass shooting is one in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter, according to the archive and CNN.