Florida's Anthony Richardson explains dropping 'AR-15' nickname: 'It was pretty much a business decision'

Richardson announced the rebrand over the weekend. He said at the time he did not want to be associated with a weapon used in mass shootings. He told reporters he is “just trying to rebrand myself and become a better person” and was thinking of the “future” when he made the decision.

“I’m not going to be able to play football for the rest of my life,” the Gators quarterback said. “I feel it was pretty much a business decision. There’s a lot going on and that kind of played a part in it. Just trying to understand like who I am as a person.

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Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson speaks during NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Atlanta. 

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson speaks during NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Atlanta.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“AR-15 doesn’t necessarily describe who I am. I’m Anthony Richardson and that’s who I’ve been since I was born.”

Richardson went by “AR-15” because of the initials in his name and the number he wears on the football field. He changed his number from the 2020 season to the 2021 season. He was No. 2 during his first year with Florida and last year he was No. 15.

The initial statement was posted on his website.

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Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson, #15, makes a pass attempt during the Florida Spring football game on Thursday, April 14, 2022 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field in Gainesville, FL.

Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson, #15, makes a pass attempt during the Florida Spring football game on Thursday, April 14, 2022 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field in Gainesville, FL. (Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“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. 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,” he wrote on the site. 

“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 is entering his third season at Florida. He played seven games last season, had 529 passing yards and six touchdown passes.

Florida will be entering the 2022 season under new head coach Billy Napier.

Anthony Richardson, #15 of the Florida Gators, reacts against the LSU Tigers during a game at Tiger Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Anthony Richardson, #15 of the Florida Gators, reacts against the LSU Tigers during a game at Tiger Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Richardson is not a shoo-in to begin the year as the starting quarterback. He is competing with Ohio State transfer Jack Miller for the job. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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