The New England Patriots and the National Football League are no longer the one’s selling it, they have even offered a recall where any Hernandez #81 jersey can be exchanged for a different jersey at no cost. However the accused murderer’s gear remains in high demand, but the question remains. Why would anyone want to purchase Aaron Hernandez gear right now?
The jersey recall will take place at the New England Patriot’s Pro Shop on July 7 and 8, and will enable fans who purchased a jersey of the budding star after his rookie season, to exchange the jersey for a player not associated with a murder. The rookie jerseys do not apply to the exchange program due to the fact that he wore a different number that season, 85 instead of 81.
Offering the exchange of all Hernandez jerseys purchased is a move that is certain to cost the Patriots a great deal of money, however it is a move that will please many parents who have young football fans at home. The team released a statement on the recall through ESPN Boston through spokeswoman Stacie James. “We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys but may not understand why parents don’t want them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore. We hope this opportunity to exchange those jerseys at the Patriots Pro Shop for another player’s jersey will be well received by parents.”
An authentic NFL jersey usually sells somewhere in the range of $100-$150, yet a peculiar theme has taken over the internet since the official murder charges have been placed against the former Patriot’s tight end. People have begun to want Aaron Hernandez gear. Jerseys are selling for far more than retail price, sometimes approaching double the initial cost. Other items such as game worn jerseys and other signed Aaron Hernandez gear is selling for several hundred dollars. The signed jersey sold for just shy of $700.
“We weren’t sure how the market would react, but we were quite sure we wanted to get rid of these items. Well, people are buying it. We’ve got hundreds of Hernandez signed items in stock. Sure enough, people have been buying them,” said Jim Dodson of Palm Beach Autographs, initially the only vendors of Hernandez merchandise following the homicide charges.
In a way, the desire for Aaron Hernandez merchandise can be explained as an extension of the spell the investigation has had much of the country under since it first emerged two weeks ago. Hernandez was a budding star in the league, on top of the world, only to see that world crumble as a result of evidence piling up and eventually murder charges.
To further illustrate the popularity of this case, simply search Twitter and view the trend that has become known as #Hernandezing. After TMZ surfaced a ‘selfie’ of Hernandez holding a gun from 2009, thousands of people from all walks of life and age groups have uploaded their version of #Hernandezing to the social media world.
Aaron Hernandez gear has been in extremely high demand since the former Patriot tight end was arrested and charged with murder. Although the lasting value of the merchandise is unlikely to hold, due to people’s tendency to forget and move on to the next major scandal as soon as it emerges, many vendors have chosen to capitalize while the demand is there. Come October, the Aaron Hernandez costume will probably be among the most popular of Halloween costumes this year.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express