Anthony Richardson, a College of Florida quarterback often known as “AR-15” for his initials and his uniform quantity, has introduced he’s embracing a much less violent picture as he heads right into a season by which he’s projected to be one of many prime gamers in school soccer.
Richardson, who additionally sells a line of attire, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that he not wished to be related to an assault weapon utilized in mass shootings which have horrified the nation.
“It is very important me that my title and model are not related to the assault rifle that has been utilized in mass shootings, which I don’t condone,” he wrote on Twitter. The message grew to become the one content material on the house web page of his private web site.
He added that he was “transitioning” to utilizing “AR” or no nickname in any respect.
One other web site of Richardson’s, www.shopar15apparel.com, which bought T-shirts and momentary tattoos with a scope reticle, carried a message on Monday evening saying that it was “not lively.”
In an interview posted yesterday by the sports activities media group Excessive Prime Sports activities, Mr. Richardson attributed the choice to “speaking to my group” — “you already know, my administration group,” he clarified — and added, “There’s lots of stuff happening with AR-15s and taking pictures and stuff, and lots of people hit me up simply speaking about it, asking me if I used to be supporting that stuff.”
He continued, “I don’t need folks considering I’m that kind of particular person.”
This summer time alone has seen a number of mass shootings, together with at Robb Elementary College in Uvalde, Texas, the place a gunman killed 19 youngsters and two academics, and at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, the place a gunman killed 10 Black folks in a racist assault. Each gunmen used AR-15-style rifles.
In Florida, a jury is now weighing whether or not to present the demise penalty to Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded responsible to killing 17 folks and injuring 17 extra at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College. He, too, used a gun resembling an AR-15.
Representatives of Mr. Richardson didn’t instantly reply to a request for a touch upon Monday evening about whether or not something particularly had prompted his determination.
Oddsmakers think about Richardson among the many prime prospects for successful the Heisman Trophy this season, when he will likely be a sophomore. With acrobatic dexterity and a 6-foot-4, 232-pound body, he’s able to electrifying performs on the sector, equivalent to an 80-yard landing run towards South Florida final season by which he barreled by means of a security.
Richardson, who’s from Gainesville, the house of the College of Florida Gators, appeared final October in a video for the Gainesville Police Division selling a gun buy- again program. However along with selling gun-themed merchandise, Richardson additionally appeared in no less than one promotional video putting a pose by which he goals a soccer like a gun.
The truth that he has a model and administration group in any respect are capabilities to a big extent of the N.C.A.A.’s determination in June of final yr to permit school athletes to make endorsements offers and discover different alternatives to earn cash from their names, pictures of them and their likenesses.
In October, Outback Steakhouse introduced a sponsorship take care of Richardson. At across the identical time, Richardson posted an internet site whose touchdown web page emphasised his AR-15 nickname, in keeping with the Wayback Machine, an internet site that hosts an archive of the web.
“It’s a blessing for us to have the ability to generate income,” Richardson advised Forbes final October. “It teaches us how one can handle cash and perceive the enterprise side of issues. It additionally permits us to assist our households in ways in which we couldn’t earlier than.”
Richardson’s web site started directing guests to gun-themed attire round January.
Earlier this month, the Dallas Cowboys drew criticism on social media after they introduced a partnership with Black Rifle Espresso, a espresso firm whose merchandising has featured names and pictures of weapons and gun paraphernalia.
Sheelagh McNeill contributed analysis.