Almost a year ago, after signing a $40 million dollar contract, Aaron Hernandez wrote the Patriots owner’s late wife a check for $50,000.00. Myra Kraft, wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, died in July 2011. Aaron Hernandez had donated the money to the charity of the late Myra Kraft.
“I’ve been duped, and our whole organization has been duped,” said Kraft. He had grown to like the guy he said in a statement to reporters. Kraft on return from vacationing in Europe, had not spoken publicly about the Hernandez incident since the player’s arrest. Kraft told reporters it had been decided to release the tight end if he was arrested on murder charges.
Kraft showed the media a copy of a letter written by Hernandez before the 2010 NFL Draft. It was a declaration by Hernandez to be tested almost weekly and to tie any guaranteed money in his contract to passing the tests. “He was the most likeable young man. This is all sad to me. Very sad,” said Kraft of Hernandez.
“The only thing I ever heard on Aaron Hernandez was he was very young, immature and potentially had problems presented in this letter,” Kraft said to reporters. “Never saw signs of anything else.”
Hernandez was in the fourth round of the draft and he excelled on the field in the first two seasons with the team. After he was given his long term extension, Aaron Hernandez wrote a check for $50,000.00 to the charity foundation of the Patriots owner’s late wife. Kraft said he knew little of Hernandez’s social life outside of football.
“We paid for performance. Obviously, it wasn’t the correct decision,” Kraft said. “We’re just so sorry for what the Lloyd family has to go through. They lost a son, a brother. It’s sad. I don’t understand why things happen like that. I got duped, to be honest.”
Hernandez had been squeaky clean during his first three years in the NFL. He had no arrests or suspensions before being arrested for murder. Consequently, Hernandez was sued in a U.S. District Court in Florida by a man saying he was shot in the face by the athlete. The allegations came on the heels of his arrest in Boston. In addition, police are investigating a double-homicide which could possibly be linked to Hernandez.
“Here was a guy who, man, it looks like had the world by the tail. He said to me he wanted to be a role model to the Hispanic community,” Kraft said. “He said we’d given him a second chance, and I believed him.” Kraft said the team was aware that Hernandez exhibited immature tendencies but didn’t realize his off field activities would lead to murder.
Kraft gave a 40 minute interview to reporters and stipulated that he was limited in what he could say due to ongoing legal issues related to the case. He and team leaders had been watching the incident closely while he vacationed overseas. The DA has yet to name Hernandez as the actual shooter in the case.
By Thomas Barr