In its efforts to clean up the thoroughly strange mess that is Aaron Hernandez and his murder charge, the New England Patriots are encouraging fans to trade in their now-inappropriate Hernandez jerseys for those of another Patriots star. Apparently, though, the Patriots don't consider Tim Tebow to be one of those stars.
Hernandez (and two alleged accomplices) remains behind bars after being charged with the murder of 27-year old Odin Lloyd. Media scrutiny has dug up the tight end's violent history, including links to a shooting in Florida in 2007 and inquiries into a double homicide in Boston last year. In full-on PR mode, the Patriots released the tight end just before he was officially charged and are attempting to void the guaranteed parts of his 5-year, $40-million deal.
The jersey exchange program is part of that PR effort, allowing Pats fans to freely trade in a Hernandez jersey for another player's. The newly-signed Tebow — the all-American, take-him-home-to-mom quarterback — seemed a great choice for exchange. However, the fine print of the jersey exchange program only allows fans to trade for one of 11 Patriots players, ranging from quarterback Tom Brady to backup running back Shane Vereen. And none of those 11 is the former Broncos and Jets quarterback known for his wholesome public image (you know, of the kind that the Patriots desperately need right now). As the foil to Hernandez's folly, Tebow even broke up a bar fight between Hernandez and a club bouncer back in 2007 when they were teammates at the University of Florida.