Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson to no longer use 'AR-15' moniker

Andrew Caplan
The Gainesville Sun

Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson says he will no longer use his nickname "AR-15" due to having similarities with the weapon often used in mass shootings.

In a statement released Sunday, the Gainesville native said he doesn't want to be associated with the assault rifle used in shootings, which he doesn't condone in any way.

Richardson, 21, who is expected to become the Gators starting QB for the upcoming season, recently launched a clothing line under the same moniker. He said he plans to rebrand that as well.

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Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Channing Tindall (41) brings down Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) during the first half Oct. 30, 2021 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

“After discussions with my family and much thought, 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. “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. 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.”

The decision follows the Uvalde, Texas shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary School in May, where a lone gunman killed 19 students and two teachers with an AR-15 style rifle.

In June, Gainesville resident Sam Collins joined the call of locals asking that Richardson change his nickname.

Richardson grew up in Gainesville, playing football at Eastside High School. He is expected to be on the upcoming season of Netflix's QB1, which follows high school players as they transition into college. On Monday, Richardson was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, the Maxwell Football Club announced. The Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937, and Florida has had three winners, including Tim Tebow (2008-2009).