Panini and Topps are the latest companies to distance themselves from Aaron Hernandez. Both are taking steps to remove the former New England Patriots tight end from their products after he was charged with several offenses including first degree murder.
Panini formerly announced that Tim Tebow is replacing Hernandez in products, starting with 2013 Panini Rookies & Stars Football. They also announced a program for collectors to swap out Hernandez stickers they might find in the 2013 Panini NFL Sticker Collection. Panini created a replacement Tim Tebow sticker that can be downloaded from their iCollectPanini site. It will also be given away during Panini promotional events this season at places like the Hall of Fame and at NFL stadiums. Replacement Tebow stickers will also be on 300,000 sheets distributed at Learning Express in the fall.
For collectors who can't make it to these appearances, they can also trade any Hernandez stickers for the Tebow one by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Panini America - Tim Tebow Sticker Swap
5325 FAA Blvd.
Irving, Texas 75061
Full details on Panini's sticker swap can be read on their blog.
Although they didn't make a formal announcement, it appears as though they've cut Hernandez from their products as well. When 2013 Topps Inception Football was first announced, Hernandez was #11 on the preliminary base set checklist. The final checklist is missing #11, leaving a gap. Hernandez was also listed on the early checklists for several other 2013 Topps football sets.