With former player facing charges, Patriots announce jersey exchange

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has put the team in a tight spot. Its solution? Let fans swap his jerseys for another player’s.

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For the team’s on-field innovation, the New England Patriots have long been considered the National Football League’s pacesetter. The same might now be said of the franchise’s public relations department.

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is facing charges of murder and weapons violations. Hernandez pleaded not guilty on June 27. In response, the Patriots have announced a jersey exchange program July 6 and 7 that pledges to exchange No. 81 or No. 85 Hernandez jerseys for another Patriots jersey of comparable value.

In a press release, the organization announced the program to keep parents and their children happy with their Patriots merchandise.

“We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys, but may not understand why parents don’t want them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore,” said spokesman Stacey James. “We hope this opportunity to exchange those jerseys at the Patriots ProShop for another player’s jersey will be well received by parents.”

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