It wasn’t possible to halt the delivery of the first batches, but Panini America announced Thursday that it had destroyed a half million Aaron Hernandez stickers from its 2013 NFL Sticker Collection product. The stickers were part of a group of ten rising stars that were inserted into albums as part of a starter kit for the newly released product.
Panini says it’s replacing Hernandez in the Patriots’ team set with newly acquired Tim Tebow, printing more than one million special oversized Tebow stickers to replace Hernandez in the sticker album. Tebow is #40 in the set.
Fans and collectors can download the replacement Tebow sticker for free at iCollectPanini.com, pick one up at various Panini promotional appearances including the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, at various NFL stadiums and other locations.
Panini says fans and collectors are “encouraged” to swap their unwanted Hernandez stickers for the new Tebow stickers through a sticker exchange directly with Panini America by sending the sticker and a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to: Panini America, Tim Tebow Sticker Swap, 5325 FAA Blvd., Suite 100, Irving, Texas 75061.
It’s not known how many Hernandez stickers have made it to the marketplace. There are 488 different stickers in the set with boxes are currently available on eBay for around $40.
Hernandez has several cards in the recently released Panini Prestige trading card set, which was already on its way to the market when Hernandez was charged. He also appears in 2013 Score Football which arrived several weeks ago.
The Texas-based card maker has replaced Hernandez with Tebow in future trading card products scheduled for release from now through next winter.
"We felt strongly that making these changes was the right thing to do, for Panini and our products but, more importantly, for our fans and collectors," said Jason Howarth, Panini’s Vice President of Marketing.