Florida QB Anthony Richardson disassociates from ‘AR-15’ nickname due to gun violence

By OnlyGators.com Staff
July 17, 2022
Florida QB Anthony Richardson disassociates from ‘AR-15’ nickname due to gun violence

Image Credit: @GatorsFB on Twitter

Florida Gators redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson announced Sunday that he will no longer be utilizing “AR-15” as a nickname or brand due to the rise in gun violence across the United States. Richardson said the decision came after extensive discussion and thought with his family.

“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,” Richardson said in a statement. “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.”

Richardson will instead use his full name and his initials, “AR,” as his branding going forward. It is not known whether he plans to change his jersey number, though given he did not mention any such alterations, he will likely continue wearing No. 15 for the Gators next season. He previously wore No. 2.

Changing his nickname continues a trend with Richardson as Florida’s starting quarterback has taken a stand against gun violence throughout his college career. Last fall, he served as a spokesman for the Gainesville Police Department’s gun buy-back program.

Richardson has spent most of the offseason rehabilitating from knee surgery. He battled through the injury during his redshirt freshman season in 2021 and flashed immense skill when healthy enough to take the field. The Gators and new head coach Billy Napier are hoping that potential translates into a full season of production, and reports from spring practice were that Richardson had improved both on the field and off of it as a leader.

A bump in the road came in April when Richardson was stopped by local police for speeding. He was clocked travelling at 105 mph with Florida handling the punishment internally. Both Napier and Richardson stated the signal caller had learned and grown from the mistake.

Richardson will be one of three players representing the Gators at the 2022 SEC Media Days this week in Atlanta. The timing of his rebranding is not accidental as it likely helps him avoid such questions at the media days while simultaneously providing a platform for him to speak out against gun violence.

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