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College Football Player Bows to Woke Mob, Ditches ‘AR-15’ Nickname

One of the coolest nicknames in college football is no more after the woke mob once again ruined something fun. Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson announced his intentions to drop his “AR-15” nickname on Sunday. “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,” Richardson wrote on his website. “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 said. “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.” To be clear, Richardson has every right to make his own decisions and drop the nickname if he wants to. However, it would be naive to pretend the decision was not influenced by the woke leftists who attempted to shame the sophomore quarterback. In a column last week, the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi not-so-subtly called on Richardson to can the nickname, which matches the name of a popular rifle. He cited various mass shootings in which a killer used an AR-15. “Not that Anthony Richardson’s nickname had anything to do with any of these shootings, but when millions of college football fans know you simply as ‘AR-15’ then your nickname itself becomes a constant reminder of the bloody carnage,” Bianchi wrote. “It’s why Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson — who used to be nicknamed ‘AR-15’ — changed his jersey number (from 15 to 12), his Twitter handle and his nickname four years ago. He simply did not want his name associated with school shootings and the raging debate over gun control in this country.” This suggestion is obviously ridiculous on multiple fronts. First of all, as Bianchi admitted, the nickname literally stands for “Anthony Richardson 15,” which is the player’s name and jersey number. If anti-gun activists want to make a massive leap and connect the nickname to completely unrelated shootings, that is their prerogative. But the nickname itself is not tied to these horrific incidents, and any outrage over it comes from articles like this one attempting to make the connection. Second, the implication that AR-15s are inherently bad and synonymous with “bloody carnage” is also ridiculous. While the semiautomatic rifles have been used in mass shootings, they have also been used to save lives and prevent further violence. In a viral story from 2019, for example, Florida resident Jeremy King told Bay News 9 that two masked men broke into his home, attacked him and grabbed his 11-year-old daughter. King’s wife, who was eight months pregnant at the time, grabbed the family’s AR-15 to defend herself and the rest of the family. She fatally shot one of the men in self-defense, and the other ran off and did not harm the family. “Them guys came in with two normal pistols and my AR stopped it,” King said. “[My wife] evened the playing field and kept them from killing me.” Richardson’s nickname could just as easily be associated with that AR-15 — the one used to save an innocent family. But that would not fit the left’s narrative, so woke writers fail to mention this story or others like it. Instead, Bianchi simply regurgitated the ill-founded opinions of people who agree with him. He cited a letter to the editor published last month in The Gainesville Sun. “Why would a young man of good character and intellect choose to market himself in such an insensitive manner?” Gainesville resident Sam Collins wrote. “But more importantly, why would his coaches and athletic department allow it? I can almost give him a pass. At his age, he is considered by many to be somewhat immature and prone to such mistakes. “But his coaches and administrators at the University of Florida should know better, and coach him into more intelligent decision making. If his on-field decisions were as poor as this one is, he would spend most of his time on the bench. Now it’s time to bench his nickname.” Bianchi followed that by saying, “I agree that it’s time for the nickname to go and I believe UF officials agree.” A week later, Richardson announced he was dropping “AR-15,” as Collins and Bianchi demanded — a move that Bianchi unsurprisingly applauded. You see, when a young man makes a decision that pleases leftists, they praise him “for doing what he thinks is right.” If conservatives criticize that decision, we are told to be quiet because it “does not affect you in any way, shape or form.” Just a few days ago, leftists were demanding that UF administrators “coach him into more intelligent decision making.” This is not an issue of personal choice, but rather a case of the woke mob guilt-tripping a young man into fitting the mold they created. In the eyes of the left, there is no possible choice other than the one they agree with. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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