University of Florida Quarterback Anthony Richardson recently announced he would no longer use the nickname “AR-15.” The athlete claimed a desire to disassociate himself with the image of any “assault rifle.” He referenced to their use in recent mass shootings in his decision.
Florida QB Anthony Richardson Drops AR-15 Nickname
Some of you are no doubt asking, “Who?” We’re not talking Tim Tebow here, a past Gator QB with two national chips and a Heisman Trophy. Anthony Richardson split time last season at QB on a 6-7 Gators team that racked up losses to Kentucky, South Carolina, Missouri and UCF. The season ended with Coach Dan Mullen fired and the starting QB, Emory Jones, hitting the transfer portal. Richardson, meanwhile, owns one career collegiate start on his resume.
OK, fine, none of this matters. Yes, we’re just throwing a little shade. We actually have some big-time football fans in the building, and Richardson is fun to watch. The dude can ball. But you know what else doesn’t matter: celebrity and athlete opinions on firearms. Yet, the rifle-armed quarterback formally known as AR-15 is getting headlines across the country today. From Sports Illustrated (Gator QB Anthony Richardson Discontinues “AR-15” Branding) to ESPN (Florida Gators QB Anthony Richardson distancing from ‘AR-15 nickname, branding), major outlets quickly reported about the AR getting bounced.
Sidelining the AR-15
Of course, Richardson did reap the benefits of associating with the AR-15, via the NCAA’s new NIL rules. He used a scope reticle in the logo, clearly referencing the evil AR-15 to push some swag. But no more. Darren Rovell, Action Network, reported the announcement via Twitter:
“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 semi-automatic rifle that has been used in mass shootings, which I do not condone in any way or form,” Richardson said in a post to his official website. “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.”
Of note: Rovell referred to the rifle type as an Assault Rifle, despite the recent Associated Press update in style. The update removed politicized language, instead calling for semi-automatic rifle, the correct nomenclature.
Here’s our take on the situation: If Richardson doesn’t want to be associated with America’s rifle, fine. Good luck to him, no ill will. But when you’re a gun-slinging quarterback with the right initials, AR-15 is an awfully cool nickname to lose.