GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A 2014 University of Florida sports calendar featuring former Gators and New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez was approved before he was charged with killing three men, the school said Tuesday.
Officials approved the calendar last spring, prior to Hernandez being arrested on June 26, 2013, in the slaying of Odin Lloyd, said Florida spokesman Daniel Apple.
The calendar, which was still available for sale through Target.com, features a photograph of the former tight end for the month of July.
Apple said the calendar was not produced by the university, but a third party. Since it’s already been printed and distributed for sale, there’s not much the school can do, Apple said.
‘‘There are thousands of Gators products for approval in the pipeline at any given moment,’’ he said.
He added that the school just became aware of the situation on Monday.
Hernandez has also been indicted on two counts of first-degree murder in the drive-by shooting of two other men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and is in jail.
Apple says the school advised the calendar’s maker that Florida no longer approves of the product, but that those already printed will not be recalled.
The calendar was first reported on Deadspin.com, and the official Florida Gators football Twitter feed responded, also saying the calendar was approved before Hernandez’s legal troubles were widely known.
Hernandez, a native of Bristol, Conn., started 29 games for the Gators between 2007-2009 and caught 111 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, according to the team’s website.
He had 175 catches for nearly 2,000 yards and 18 TDs as a member of the Patriots from 2010-2012.