Aaron Hernandez pulled from Panini collection, replaced by Tim Tebow
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been pulled from Panini America’s NFL sticker collection and replaced with Tim Tebow.
According to ESPN, Panini America painstakingly removed Hernandez stickers from 500,000 of its sticker books, which were already produced but had not yet hit the shelves. The company has since produced 1 million replacement stickers with new Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow, who was a teammate of Hernandez at the University of Florida.
Hernandez’s sticker was one of 10 free stickers in the upcoming NFL Sticker Album. If customers find a Hernandez sticker in a pack, they can exchange it through Panini, reports the Boston Herald.
Panini insists that it was purely a coincidence that Hernandez was one of the 10 players chosen. The former tight end is also featured in the company’s NFL card sets made for this upcoming season. They too will be replaced with Tebow.
“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,” said Jason Howarth, Panini’s vice president of marketing.
Hernandez was arrested at his home last month in connection with the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial at a jail in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
Since the allegations surfaced his former team, the NFL and other product groups have tried to distance themselves from the former star. Earlier this month, the Patriots designated a day where they allowed fans to trade in their Hernandez jerseys for another. Electronic Arts took Hernandez out of its “Madden NFL 25″ video game and “NCAA Football 14″ product. And the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, removed an award-winning photo of the former player from public view after it received complaints from visitors.