“The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling. The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd’s family and friends.”
– official statement from the National Football League
When linebacker Ray Lewis was charged with homicide after two people were killed outside of an Atlanta nightclub in 2000, it went down very differently. The team stood by him. Brian Billick, former linebacker’s coach for the Baltimore Ravens, now a TV football analyst, told a YouWager news source, “Our support of Ray Lewis stemmed primarily from our faith in Ray Lewis as a person.”
Billick told YouWager’s source that the Ravens did not have all the facts about one of their favorite linebackers. “We had to go on kind of a leap in faith,” he said.
The New England Patriots have taken another course.
Less than two hours after Aaron Hernandez was arrested, the Patriots released him. In the team’s official statement, it says, “A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
Hernandez has been a suspect in the ongoing investigation into the death of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd’s body was found near Hernandez’s home June 17th.
Ray Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and the murder charges were dropped. It all worked out well for the team in the end. Lewis played with the Ravens until his retirement, at the end of 2012 NFL football wagering, after his team won their second Super Bowl. Obviously, the Patriots aren’t going to wait for Hernandez to go to trial.
Billick told YouWager’s source, “This clearly makes this a much easier way for the organization to move past this and not be a distraction.”
Remembering the Ray Lewis scandal, Billick offered words of caution for the police. “As I’m watching the scenes unfold here it would be well advised for the local authorities to keep in mind what has gone on before. This is all well and good to have this kind of sideshow they’re presenting now, but if it doesn’t go their way, if there isn’t a conviction, this is going to come back and embarrass the local authorities. But they chose to deal with it this way.”
Releasing Hernandez could cost the Patriots, big time.
Hernandez was supposed to count for $4.073 million against New England’s salary cap this season. His arrest may possibly void those guarantees, but because the Patriots released Hernandez after June 1st, according to YouWager’s source, the cap hit could be spread over the 2013 and 2014 NFL football wagering seasons.