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Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson will change ‘AR-15’ nickname

Anthony Richardson, no longer calling himself “AR-15,” throws under the watchful eyes of Eli and Peyton Manning at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La., last month (Matthew Hinton/AP)

The quarterback of the Florida Gators will no longer use the nickname “AR-15” because of its association with the semiautomatic rifle that has been used in several mass shootings, including the deaths of 19 children and two adults this spring in a Uvalde, Tex., elementary school.

Anthony Richardson, a sophomore who wears No. 15, will instead seek to rebrand his image, given college players’ ability to generate money from name, image and likeness deals.

“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 semiautomatic rifle that has been used in mass shootings, which I do not condone in any way or form,” Richardson wrote on Twitter and on his 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.”

Richardson started an apparel line last year and plans to stop using a rifle scope reticle logo.

Richardson was a backup to Emory Jones for most of last season and suffered a knee injury late in the year but passed for six touchdowns and rushed for three. With Jones having transferred to Arizona State, Richardson is the front-runner to start for Gators Coach Billy Napier in the team’s season opener Sept. 3 against Utah.