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Ex-Fans Line Up To Exchange Hernandez Jerseys

Fans line up behind a barrier to exchange their New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez football jerseys at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Saturday. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
Fans line up behind a barrier to exchange their New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez football jerseys at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Saturday. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Hundreds of one-time fans are trading in their Aaron Hernandez jerseys.

The New England Patriots are letting fans trade in their No. 81 jerseys for a different one on Saturday and Sunday.

The ex-Patriots tight end has been charged with the murder in the death of 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. He has pleaded not guilty. The Patriots released Hernandez shortly after he was arrested on June 26.

On Saturday, a total of 1,200 jerseys were exchanged at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Paula Lopes was returning a shirt for her 12-year-old son.

"He just doesn't want to wear it anymore," Lopes said. "Hernandez is not a good role model. We still love the Patriots, but it's a shame what he did."

Many fans said that even if Hernandez turns out not to be guilty, he has already hurt his reputation — and they don't want his name on their jerseys.

"He kind of seems like he's against the Patriot way," Greg Butler said. "I wouldn't want him on my team."

Team spokesman Stacey James said children love wearing Patriots gear but may not understand why their parents don't want them wearing Hernandez's jersey.

But Pam Haru said she had to explain the murder case to her sons, who are 4 and 7 years old, because the story was all over the news.

"We weren't ready to talk to our children about murder," Haru said. "But this forced us to have a conversation well before I think they should have to realize there's people capable of doing that."

In order to be returned, the jerseys must have been purchased at the team shop at Gillette Stadium or its online store.

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press.

This program aired on July 6, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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