Patriots fans rush to swap Aaron Hernandez jerseys


Fans of the New England Patriots rushed to trade in jerseys bearing the name of former tight end Aaron Hernandez, who is being held without bail at Bristol County Jail on charges of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors have said that Hernandez orchestrated the execution of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd – found dead near Hernandez’s home in June. The Patriots released Hernandez less than two hours after his June 26 arrest.

On Wednesday, the team issued a statement announcing that over the weekend the Pro Shop at Gillette Stadium would offer fans the opportunity to trade in the disgraced player’s jersey for that of another player on the team.

A saleswoman at the Pro Shop in Foxborough, Mass., said Saturday that the store was “very busy” with fans opting to swap their No. 81 jersey. Close to 1,200 jerseys had been traded in by the afternoon, NBC Sports reported. Jerseys for quarterback Tom Brady and nose tackle Vince Wilfork were among the most popular sought in trades, the team said.

Still, some fans view their Hernandez jersey as collectible and have chosen to auction their jersey online. On Saturday, there were more than 750 results listed on eBay for Aaron Hernandez jerseys. Some sellers were asking for up to $1,000 for a jersey with his autograph.

Peter Leventhal, a sports memorabilia dealer at Boston’s Kenmore Collectibles, says there is little value to the Hernandez jerseys.

A fan shields his head in the sun while waiting to exchange his New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez football jersey at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Saturday. Michael Dwyer / AP

“There was a small bump [in sales] when O.J. Simpson was on trial,” Leventhal said, “but that didn’t last.”

Vintage Simpson jerseys are being auctioned online for between $12 and $200 – asking prices that are similar to Simpson’s football contemporaries with untarnished reputations.

Leventhal said he would never sell a Hernandez jersey in his store, adding, “I find it distasteful.”