After releasing Aaron Hernandez Wednesday following his arrest related to an ongoing homicide investigation, the New England Patriots seem keen to erase all memory of their once-celebrated tight end.
In a statement Friday, the team offered to replace Patriots jerseys sporting Hernandez's former number, 81, for new jerseys of similar value. One caveat: The original jersey had to have been purchased at the Patriots ProShop or online at PatriotsProShop.com.
“We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys, but may not understand why parents don’t want them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore,” New England Patriots spokesperson Stacey James said in a statement. “We hope this opportunity to exchange those jerseys at the Patriots ProShop for another player’s jersey will be well received by parents.”
Complete details can be found here.
The team has been quick to distance itself from the embattled player, releasing him almost immediately after his arrest and notifying fans with this statement:
A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.
Jokes Boston Magazine, fans may very well take advantage of the offer to trade out for the jersey "of a nice, upstanding boy who didn’t maybe probably allegedly orchestrate another man’s cold-blooded execution." Perhaps even a Tim Tebow jersey.