Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Monday he felt personally “duped” by Aaron Hernandez, insisting they had decided prior to the tight end’s arrest on murder charges to release him if Hernandez was charged.
“Following Aaron’s arrest, I read a number of different accounts of how things transpired in our organization,” Kraft said, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “Let me be clear, we decided the week prior to Aaron’s arrest that if Aaron was arrested in connection with the [Odin] Lloyd murder case that we would cut him immediately after.
“The rationale behind that decision was that if any member of the New England Patriots organization is close enough to a murder investigation to actually get arrested — whether it be for obstruction of justice or the crime itself, it is too close to an unthinkable act for that person to be part of this organization going forward.”
Kraft said he was genuinely surprised by the news, thinking Hernandez was a “most likeable young man,” which makes sense considering he gave him a $40 million contract extension last August.
But the arrest has also caused him to take a closer look at the entire organization, and Kraft said: “You can be sure we’ll be looking at our procedures and auditing how we do things.”
He also said he they had no knowledge of what Hernandez was doing when he left work each day.
“When he was in our building, we never saw anything where he was not polite. He was always respectful to me. We only know what’s going on inside the building. We don’t put private eyes on people,” Kraft said.
Of course, if Kraft holds to his word and there are changes to his team’s procedures, it might mean more private eyes on employees before they become employees.