The University of Florida eliminated the last on-campus public
recognition of former tight end Aaron Hernandez on Thursday when workers took a
concrete saw to the brick recognizing his selection to the 2009 All-American
Before that, the school had removed photos of Hernandez from the locker room, football office and other team areas.
Hernandez has been charged with murder in Massachusetts and is under investigation for two other homicides. He has pled not guilty.
Police allege that Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who had dated the sister of Hernandez' fiance. According to the Boston Globe, police also believe that Lloyd may have been slain because he knew about the other killings and Hernandez thought he was about to talk to authorities.
Hernandez' brick, which had been located in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, was part of a display started by former coach Urban Meyer in 2008 to honor Gator players who were named first-team All-American. Hernandez played at Florida from 2007-2009 and was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round.
He was the first Gator tight end to be named first team All-American.
In a statement from the University Athletic Association, the school "didn't feel it was appropriate to celebrate Aaron Hernandez."
"We put together an immediate plan after the initial news broke to remove his likeness and name in various private and public areas in the facility," the statement said.
Hernandez will not be removed from the record book. He is Florida's leading career receiver among tight ends.
Florida isn't the only entity purging the image of Hernandez. The Patriots cut him on the day he was arrested and have offered fans the opportunity to exchange his jersey for that of another player. The Pro Football Hall of Fame removed a photo of Hernandez from public view and EA Sports took his likeness out of its NFL and college football video games.
Garry Smits: (904) 359-4362
(c)2013 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)
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