Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports
Less than an hour after former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder Wednesday, his No. 81 jersey was no longer available for sale at the NFL's online store.
"We decided it was the appropriate step to take," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports.
As of 3:15 p.m. ET Wednesday - hours after the Patriots had released Hernandez after he was arrested at his home - three versions of the No. 81 jersey were still available for $99.99 on NFLshop.com. By 3:40 p.m., the links for Hernandez merchandise were defunct.
"The merchandise will no longer be available due to the current circumstances," said Meier Raivich, a spokesperson for Fanatics Inc., an online retailer that works with the NFL.
When you go to the Fanatics' NFL web site and search for the Hernandez jersey, you will see this box: "Discontinued: We are sorry but this item has been discontinued."
At the Nike NFL site, you'll see this explanation for no jersey: "Out of stock at Nike.com." FansEdge.com goes a step further: "Sorry, we could not locate the requested product in our catalog."
It was still available at other web sites, including Amazon.com.
Jeff Dupont, a manager at the Dick's Sporting Goods store in North Attleboroough, Mass., near where Hernandez lived, said he was not allowed to comment on what the store planned to do with their Hernandez jerseys. A message left with Dick's corporate communications office was not immediately returned.
At the Patriots Pro Shop, a woman who answered the phone said there were "no Hernandez jerseys" and wasn't allowed to say when that decision was made.
In April, international sports apparel company Puma signed a two-year endorsement deal with Hernandez to work with the brand's men's training initiatives. Puma spokesperson Katie Sheptyck declined to comment on Hernandez on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Cytosport, a sports nutrition company, did cut ties with Hernandez on Friday, three days after he was first mentioned in connection with the slaying of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough, Mass.
Contributing: Lindsay H. Jones