Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, now a murder suspect, has been pulled from yet another group of products.
A representative with trading card and memorabilia company Panini confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday morning that the company painstakingly removed Hernandez stickers from 500,000 of its sticker books, which were already produced but had yet to hit the shelves.
Although the stickers come in packs, the company places 10 stickers directly into the books to get a collector started. It was purely coincidence that Hernandez was one of the 10 players chosen.
The company has produced one million stickers of new Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow, who happened to play with Hernandez at the University of Florida, to fill the spot. The Tebow replacement stickers will be handed out at events or given to customers who received Hernandez in a pack and send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the company. The company is also allowing sticker collectors to download the Tebow sticker image from its website.
Hernandez, who has already appeared in two of Panini's NFL card sets made for this upcoming season, also will be replaced by Tebow in future card sets.
"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.