No One Should Believe A Word Robert Kraft Said About Aaron Hernandez (Patriots Rant)
Via USAToday: “Here was have 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. He was the most likable young man. This is all sad to me. Very sad.”
As part of Kraft’s 40-minute media session, the owner produced a copy of a letter Hernandez wrote to the team prior to the 2010 NFL Draft in which Hernandez offered to be drug tested every other week and have any guaranteed money in his rookie contract tied to passing each of those tests.
The Patriots drafted Hernandez in the fourth round of that draft, and after he excelled on the field in his first two seasons, the team gave him long-term extension.
Here’s the Letter that Kraft produced:
Dear Mr. Caserio,
I am writing in regards to some of the feedback I am receiving from my agents, Florida coaches, and other personnel. These sources have indicated that NFL teams have questions about my alleged use of marijuana. I personally answered these questions during the pre-draft process, but understand that NFL teams want to conduct thorough due diligence before making the significant financial investment inherent in a high draft pick. I have no issue with these questions being asked, but thought that it made the most sense to communicate with you directly regarding this issue so you would not have to rely upon second-hand information.
Any information I volunteer to you about my past will be looked at with great skepticism as I am trying to get drafted as high as possible by an NFL team. As such, I thought that the best way to answer your questions and your concerns was to make a very simple proposition. If you draft me as a member of the New England Patriots, I will willfully submit to a bi-weekly drug test throughout my rookie season (8 drug tests during the 2010 regular season). In addition, I will tie any guaranteed portion of my 2010 compensation to these drug tests and reimburse the team a pro-rata amount for any failed drug test. My agents have explained that a direct forfeiture provision in my contract along these lines would violate the CBA rules. However, I have instructed them to be creative in finding a contract structure that would work on in the worst case scenario, I would donate the pro-rata portion of any guaranteed money to the team’s choice of charities. My point is simple — if I fail a drug test, I do not deserve that portion of the money.
I realize that this offer is somewhat unorthodox, but it is also the only way I could think of to let you know how serious I am about reaching my potential in the NFL. My coaches have told you that nobody on our Florida team worked harder than me in terms of workouts, practices or games. You have your own evaluation as to the type of impact I can have on your offense. The only X-factor, according to the reports I have heard, is concerns about my use of recreational drugs. To address that concern, I am literally putting my money where my mouth is and taking the financial risk away from the team and putting it directly on my back where it belongs.
In closing, I ask you to trust me when I say you have absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to me and the use of recreational drugs. I have set very high goals for myself in the NFL and am focused 100% on achieving those goals. So, test me all you want during my rookie year … all of the results will be negative while I am having an overwhelmingly positive impact on the field.
Good luck with your preparations for the NFL Draft and feel free to contact me or my agency (Athletes First/David Dunn) with any questions.
University of Florida
Now that we’ve got that all out of the way, I’d like to ask Mr. Kraft to stop talking. Just leave it alone. Admit, privately, that you made a huge mistake, but stop trying to act like you and the organization were “duped” by Aaron Hernandez. No one should believe that you and Patriots, who pride themselves on this fictitious “Patriot’s Way” were dumbfounded to find out that Aaron Hernandez was a cold-blooded killer. In fact, you should be made a meal of for signing a guy to a contract extension a month after he killed two people (allegedly.) What you did was try to give a guy a reason to stop screwing around. In fact, you gave him $40 million reasons to stop, he just wasn’t smart enough to realize it. I hate how the Patriots have been claiming they had no idea Aaron Hernandez was a bad egg. Hell, every story that has come out has stated that the reason he fell to the 4th round was because of character issues. You, the Patriots, knew what you were getting into. You knew he had issues, and for some reason you thought that because you were the vaunted New England Patriots organization, that you could fix, hide, deflect whatever bad behavior would come from Hernandez. Now, you look foolish and your angle is to play dumb. For your owner, who I respect the hell out of, to come out and say he was duped. Really? You mean when the player writes a letter, personally, to you trying to sell you on himself not screwing up, you didn’t take notice. When, in the letter, the player is effectively trying to sell you on himself being a model athlete EVEN after he’d been in trouble at the University of Florida, you still were surprised when all of this went down? Do you even live in this world, bro? In the letter above, Hernandez asked the Patriots to give him one year of cleanliness to prove his worth. 2010 and that’s all. If Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and the rest of the organization fell for that letter above, then that’s too bad. You weren’t duped, you made a cold, calculated decision and now it’s blowing up in your face. Don’t try to prove to everyone that you’ve been completely caught off guard by this because no one believes you; well, except for maybe your delusional fan base who continues to think that you allowing them to exchange their Aaron Hernandez jersey for a whatever jersey they want is somehow and act of god. It’s time to admit you screwed up and shut up about the whole thing.
This past week I spent a ton of time in New England and talked about this with a lot of fans. It’s amazing how many Patriots fans truly think their team operates on differently principles than the rest of the NFL. I mean, they simply choose to forget how many times the Patriots have been caught by the NFL for violating rules (Spygate for example) while praising Kraft and staff for releasing Hernandez after he was arrested. They’ve decided to completely ignore the fact that the team gave Hernandez a $40 million dollar contract ONE MONTH after he allegedly killed 2 people. Even if he didn’t pull the trigger, he was in the car during the murders. That alone should have been enough for the Patriots to back off. And that, finally, brings me to my point. The Patriots, like every other team in the NFL, are trying to win a Super Bowl. They’ve been good for a long time and there’s a certain pressure to win while you’re good. Belichick has his reputation to uphold as one of the better coaches, Brady needs to win again after winning early, new players want to be part of the Patriot success. All of this leads to the eventual gray area of the NFL. Where you knowingly take chances on players with sketchy backgrounds because in the end, talent and the opportunity to win Super Bowls outweighs everything else. Everyone knows it, but somehow during this horrific story, the Patriots have tried to make you believe they operate a different way.
Side Rant: It’s almost comical to look back a the Wes Welker negotiations now and how the Patriots treated a guy, who by all accounts, didn’t kill anyone or have the public image that Gronk has had in his short career. All Welker did was lead the league in catches year after year. How did the Patriots repay him? By stringing him along every year and eventually lowballing him and then, after he left for Denver, tried to smear him in the media. Patriot’s Way huh? Meanwhile, they handed out over $90 million to two tight ends who couldn’t stay on the field because of injuries and now won’t be on the field for multiple reasons. For an organization that supposedly does things the right way all the time…boy was that dumb!
So, Mr. Kraft and the rest of the organization, could you please stop trying to act like the innocent bystanders. Can’t you stop pretending you didn’t know Hernandez was a bum and finally admit you made a mistake. And to the loyal, delusional fans, let it go. Football season is a few months away and before you know it you’ll have forgotten about Hernandez because some other player with a potentially checkered past will be helping your team win football games.