The developments surrounding the murder case of former New England Patriots‘ tight end Aaron Hernandez sure have taken a turn for the worse. With Hernandez arrested and charged with murder and five gun-related charges, his future in the NFL has certainly been put into serious question. Hernandez was a young player with an extremely bright future with the Patriots and Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, but his choices have seemingly caught up with him and may prematurely end a once promising career.
Although Hernandez was released by the Patriots, hours after being arrested, I believe that the Patriots did not “do the right thing” by getting rid of the accused tight end.
I want to preface my analysis by saying that by no means do I intend to offend the family of Odin Lloyd, the deceased semi-pro football player Hernandez is accused of murdering, nor do I support the actions that Hernandez is accused of committing. Instead, I want to extend my condolences to the Lloyd family.
With that being said, while I understand why the Patriots decided to release Hernandez, I still do not think it is necessarily “the right thing to do” based off the information available currently and the lack of a verdict or trial. Too often in the media and the United States, it is the public opinion that becomes a person’s ultimate verdict. The idea of “innocent until proven guilty” no longer applies; instead, “guilty until proven innocent” is more applicable. In Hernandez’s case, the information certainly leads to the conclusion that he played a major role in the murder of Odin. However, he has yet to be convicted and has yet to have his time in court which he is entitled to; thus, he should be treated as innocent and should have kept his roster spot with the Patriots.
There is no telling what the trial will produce when Hernandez finally gets his day in court and it isn’t like he has had a lot of issues and problems since he has been with the Patriots that we know about. Certainly, behind closed doors, Hernandez could have had many problems that we don’t know about or it’s possible the Patriots know something that we do not; but unless that is the case, Hernandez rightfully should still have his job.
Just think if the Baltimore Ravens would have cut Ray Lewis right after the charges about his involvement in a murder case came out. They would have lost out on one of the greatest linebackers of all-time based on an instantaneous reaction before an innocent verdict was reached. Now the fact that both players are immensely talented doesn’t matter in this case. What matters is that until a person is proven guilty, anything can happen and there is still a chance they didn’t do it, had nothing to do with it and are being wrongfully accused. By reacting in such a swift manner, you are being unfair to the client and unfair to your team by possibly costing them an immensely talented player without a concrete decision.
Again, I am not saying that Hernandez isn’t guilty or deserves to be punished for his reported actions. All I am saying is that the team should reserve judgment, unless they have incriminating evidence and knowledge unaware to the media, until the law has had it’s chance to go through the entire process.
Players are given multiple second chances in this league and the sports profession and there is still a chance that Hernandez will be innocent when it’s all said and done. With that in mind, the Patriots did not “do the right thing” by releasing Hernandez today and instead have jeopardized their team’s future. Although all signs point to Hernandez being guilty, he is still innocent until proven guilty and his professional career should have been handled under that notion; unfortunately, it wasn’t.