The Florida Gators on Thursday decided to publicly erase former tight end Aaron Hernandez from their past when they removed his All-American brick from the front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and later announced other reminders of Hernandez have already been taken down throughout the team’s facilities.
Hernandez, currently jailed in Massachusetts and awaiting trial on six charges including first-degree murder for the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press in 2009 after leading the Gators with 68 receptions for 850 yards and five touchdowns that season.
He also won the John Mackey Award, handed out to the nation’s best tight end, for his efforts during that campaign.
Florida’s University Athletic Association released the following statement on Thursday:
We 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, such as the South Endzone team area, locker room, football offices, Heavener Complex Kornblau Lobby and the brick display entrance to the football facility.
We were able to implement some of the changes immediately and this (brick removal) was a more complex process to complete with our vendors.
The plan was to have everything completed before the end of July.
What do you think? Did the school act too soon or was the brick removal appropriate?