FOX Sports Exclusive
Gators remove Hernandez brick
While the Florida Gators continue to distance themselves from one-time standout Aaron Hernandez, Hernandez’s former NFL team seems to be unintentionally featuring the incarcerated tight end in their season-ticket promotional materials.
In Gainesville, his alma matter had already taken steps to remove any Hernandez imagery from around the stadium and football complex, and on Thursday, the school took it a step further, removing Hernandez’s All-American brick commemorating his 2009 season:
Aaron Hernandez All-American brick coming down. pic.twitter.com/gCflaDAXjS— Ted Spiker (@ProfSpiker) July 25, 2013
Here's what's left of the Aaron Hernandez brick- contractor was told to take it back to their plant in Lake City. pic.twitter.com/UZvvMdjoE7— Julie Quittner (@JQuittner) July 25, 2013
And it's a blank spot now, like Hernandez brick was never there... pic.twitter.com/cUUVoalTaw— Julie Quittner (@JQuittner) July 25, 2013
In a statement, the University Athletic Association explained the decision, saying:
"We didn't feel it was appropriate to celebrate Aaron Hernandez. We put together an immediate plan after the initial news broke to remove his likeness and name in various private and public areas in the facility, such as the South Endzone team area, locker room, football offices, Heavener Complex Kornblau Lobby and the brick display entrance to the football facility.
"We are able to implement some of the changes immediately and this (brick removal) was a more complex process to complete with our vendors.
"The plan was to have everything completed before the end of July."
Meanwhile, in Foxboro, season tickets have been mailed out to the Patriots faithful, and the first ticket in the book, to a season ticket holder event, features Hernandez, apparently shouting in the background:
— CJ (@WeVols) July 25, 2013
It’s probably safe to assume that the season tickets and their packaging were in production long before Hernandez was accused of murder, and the team has gone to great lengths to distance itself from the former star.
Previously, the team held a jersey exchange day, at which fans could swap out their Hernandez jerseys for one featuring another player’s name and number. In addition, quarterback Tom Brady (who was also featured on the ticket) has spoken about moving on from Hernandez, as has head coach Bill Belichick.
But still, it’s somewhat amusing to see Hernandez’s face pop up on an official Patriots promotion — a fate that also met EA Sports in its latest NCAA Football offering — especially when Hernandez’s college team is, quite literally, moving the earth to rid itself of his memory.