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SBD/July 8, 2013/Franchises
Patriots' ProShop Exchanges About 1,200 Hernandez Jerseys On First Day Of Swap Offer
Published July 8, 2013
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HERNANDEZ KEPT WORK, PRIVATE LIFE SEPARATE: In Boston, Ben Volin cited a source as saying that Hernandez "did everything Bill Belichick asked of him football-wise" while he was on the team. However, when it "came to Hernandez’s off-field activities, he would tune out and occasionally become angry when a coach or employee suggested he stop hanging out with some of his old friends from Connecticut." The Patriots "knew he was hanging out with unsavory people," but Volin asked how much can a team "really dictate what a player does off the field?" A former operations exec for NFL teams said, "Teams don’t follow their players around or anything like that. Teams focus on giving guys the information and tools to protect themselves" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/7). Also in Boston, Christopher Gasper wrote, "If the Patriots are guilty of anything it was letting Hernandez use the misguided belief that their building and their uniforms somehow build character or instill it where it doesn’t exist against them." They "became intoxicated by this myth, the idea of the Patriots being more than a football team, but a way of life." The "flogging of the Patriots for not knowing they had an alleged murderer in their midst has been unfair." Hernandez is "very bright, and he duped the Patriots -- hard" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/7).
PATS EXECS STILL KEEPING QUIET: In Boston, Eric Wilbur reported no member of the Patriots organization has "yet to speak about the matter publicly and shed some light on how an organization that preaches righteousness swung and missed." It is "only logical to wonder how much the Patriots knew, and how much they ignored." The more we "learn about Hernandez’s past, the more the Patriots owe us all an explanation." Wilbur wrote the future "won’t include a Patriots apology or admittance of fault," as that is "not the Patriot Way, of course." Wilbur: "Then again, as we’re rapidly discovering, the Patriots Way is a bogus load of tripe. And we continue to wait, as an exposed institution shows its true, cowardly colors" (BOSTON.com, 7/3). But St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell asked, “Didn’t we essentially hear from Robert Kraft ... when they opened the doors to the stadium shop and said if you have an Aaron Hernandez jersey you can turn it in and replace it and we’ll destroy the Hernandez jerseys? They’re washing their hands of him like he didn’t exist.” N.Y. Times columnist William Rhoden said, “This entire hypocrisy of this franchise is amazing. Here’s a franchise who’s whole brand is built on the Patriot Way” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 7/7). Meanwhile, in L.A., Sam Farmer noted Hernandez' arrest has "sparked a debate within the NFL: When is a risky pick too risky?" Fox' Jimmy Johnson said, "Without question, the owners are talking to their general managers as soon as this happened, saying, 'Let's make sure this doesn't happen to us.'" But NBC's Tony Dungy said, "You're going to get enough people to overlook it. ... Talent is the overriding factor in the NFL. Has been for a long time" (L.A. TIMES, 7/7).
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