Florida star Anthony Richardson drops ‘AR-15’ nickname after mass shootings

College football star Anthony Richardson has announced he is dropping his ‘AR-15’ nickname after the recent wave of mass shootings in the US.

The Florida quarterback was given the nickname as a reference to an assault rifle which has been used in a number of recent shootings. The 21-year-old made the announcement he was dropping the name in a statement on his website.

“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. 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 wrote.

“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.”

Joe Biden called for a ban on assault rifles earlier this month in the wake of several mass shootings, including the killing of children at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

“We are living in a country awash in weapons of war,” the US president said. “Weapons that are designed to hunt are not being used [in massacres], weapons they are purchasing are designed as weapons of war, to take out an enemy. What is the rationale for these weapons outside war zones?”

Florida are one of the most popular college football teams in the US, and Richardson is expected to compete with Jack Miller for the role of starting quarterback for the coming season.