Jailed former NFL star Aaron Hernandez is being replaced by Tim Tebow in sticker books by Panini America, a sports memorabilia company, which is producing more than a million Tebow stickers for potential trade with fans.
Hernandez had already appeared in two of Panini's NFL card sets made for this upcoming season. He will be replaced by Tebow, his former teammate at the University of Florida, in future card sets, reported ESPN
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"We felt strongly that making these changes was the right thing to do, for Panini and our products but, more importantly, for our fans and collectors," Jason Howarth, Panini's vice president of marketing, told ESPN this week.
Hernandez has been charged with murder
in connection with the June 17 shooting death of acquaintance and former semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, 27, less than a mile from Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Mass.
Panini America joins a growing list of companies that have created distance between them and Hernandez since his connection with Lloyd's murder. The Patriots released him after he was arrested for the murder on June 26.
Going a step farther, the Patriots allowed fans to exchange more than 2,500 Hernandez jerseys and another Patriots jersey of the fan's choice. The team said it lost at least $200,000 from the gesture, reported ESPN.
Electronic Arts told ESPN that it took Hernandez out of its "Madden NFL 25" video game and its "NCAA Football 14" game. The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, recently removed an award-winning photo of Hernandez from public view after it received complaints from visitors, ESPN said.
Hernandez is currently awaiting trial at the Bristol County House of Corrections in Dartmouth, Mass., ESPN said.
Hernandez is separated from the regular prison population in a "special management unit" because of his high profile, Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson told the Boston Globe. For one hour a day, Hernandez is allowed outside and has been evaluated for mental health concerns, the Boston Globe stated
Tebow was released by the New York Jets in April.
He was a man without a team until the New England Patriots picked him up June 10, a week before Hernandez's troubles began, stated the Bleacher Report
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