For two days only (or, in other words, roughly the same amount of time it took Aaron Hernandez to tumble from grace) the New England Patriots are offering free exchanges on any any all Hernandez No. 81 jerseys for a different uniform of equal value.
Any jersey purchased through the team’s official outlet can be returned for a new player’s number on Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7.
The Patriots announced the adept PR move on the team’s website:
The New England Patriots ProShop will offer a free jersey exchange of any #81 Hernandez jersey purchased at the Patriots ProShop or online at PatriotsProShop.com for a new Patriots jersey of comparable value. The free jersey exchange will be available exclusively at the Patriots ProShop the weekend of Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7.
A New England spokesperson made it abundantly clear that the Hernandez jerseys were simply not family-friendly anymore.
“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 New England Patriots spokesperson 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.”
The site would go on to provide further details of the exchange dates, times and limitations.
This opportunity for a free exchange of jerseys is limited to the weekend of July 6-7 and is available only at the Patriots ProShop located at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The hours of operation are from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 6 and from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. The exchange is for jerseys available in the Patriots ProShop only and is limited to one per person.
There is no fault in a marketing move of this kind on the part of the Patriots organization. A player that was cut immediately following a charge of first-degree murder is being further disassociated with what was long been understood to be one of the classiest organizations in the NFL.
In fact, this is a brilliant decision in that it pleases literally everyone involved. Fans do not have to throw away their Hernandez jerseys – which could have literally set them back $50-100 or maybe more – and at the same time, the team still gets the free branding when that fan walks out of his or her house in the Pats colors.
It’s really a win-win.
Except for the fact that everyone would much rather Hernandez simply enjoyed his millions of dollars and been an upstanding citizen in the first place.