She'll be fired within the hour.
Finally somebody at ESPN had the balls to say criticize them. I don't know who this writer is but I salute her for having the courage to swim upstream against a tide of fluff and bs that the other hack journalists have been feeding us.The New England Patriots seem to be trying to do the right thing. Now.
Now that they know Aaron Hernandez has been accused of executing an associate. Now that their star tight end is behind bars facing murder and weapons charges, denied bail and awaiting a trial that likely won't start until next year.
Hernandez is worthless to the Patriots now, and the organization is going to great lengths to disassociate itself from him. Less than two hours after his arrest last week, New England cut Hernandez and removed his jersey from its pro shop at Gillette Stadium. This weekend, the Patriots will allow fans to exchange any Hernandez jersey that was bought at the stadium for another of equal value at no charge. Out with Hernandez, and in with Tim Tebow.
But it isn't that simple and can't be that neat. New England has acted wisely and admirably in the immediate aftermath of this heinous story, but it can't be forgotten that New England was the organization that employed Hernandez. The Patriots chose Hernandez. Not once. Twice. They were the team that decided, since Hernandez had fallen into the fourth round of the 2010 draft, that the value of taking Hernandez trumped the risk of selecting a player with character issues.
They were the team that picked Hernandez 113th overall -- after 31 other teams had repeatedly passed on a player who was viewed as a first-round talent -- because he was big and strong and could catch the football and make their team better.
And the Patriots were the team that renegotiated Hernandez's rookie contract -- a deal that was laden with financial incentives geared to encourage him to behave -- two years before it was set to expire. They were the ones who gave Hernandez a five-year deal worth $37.5 million, including a $12.5 million signing bonus.
The Patriots financially rewarded Hernandez because he had produced and, with Rob Gronkowski, gave the team the most potent, productive tandem of tight ends in the National Football League.
Given what Hernandez now is accused of in a story that gets more grisly by the day, New England tarnished its brand by choosing Hernandez twice, and it will take more than a jersey exchange to wipe that tarnish away. It will take time. And better choices. And fewer risks.
The team can try to collect and burn every No. 81 jersey it has sold, but it can't erase the fact that Hernandez wore a Patriots jersey for three seasons. Hernandez was part of the Patriot Way that seems to have gone awry.
Team owner Robert Kraft is to blame. So is coach Bill Belichick. They made the choice to gamble on Hernandez, and while they could not have foreseen that one day their star tight end would be charged with murder as well as five gun-related offenses, they knew he had issues, including reported multiple failed drug tests while Hernandez was at Florida.
Kraft is one of the most respected owners in the NFL, yet his organization -- his brand -- is now indelibly tarnished. He did the right thing once Hernandez was arrested, something Dallas owner Jerry Jones hopefully noticed, given Jones' refusal to part ways with Josh Brent. But for Kraft, it was too little, too late.
NFL teams go to great lengths to investigate prospects before either drafting them or signing them. Most employ skilled, veteran security personnel. The NFL is big business. And some teams are more willing than others to employ young men who have sketchy pasts as long as the player has talent and can produce on the field.
Kraft must now make sure that his franchise doesn't select players or gamble in the draft just because the Patriots hope the value outweighs the risk. It is going to take time, but the Patriots must be more selective, more cautious.
Former Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light told the Dayton Daily News last week that he "never embraced, never believed in anything Aaron Hernandez stood for." If Light could come to that conclusion based on his interaction as a teammate of Hernandez's, certainly the Patriots' brass could have done the same, if they would have allowed themselves to not be blinded by Hernandez's talent and the relentless pursuit of another Lombardi trophy. New England can and will overcome this, but there will forever be a stain on the franchise that neither the swift release of Hernandez nor the exchange of jerseys can erase. Odin Lloyd is dead. He was buried on Saturday. Hernandez is in jail awaiting trial. There undoubtedly are more gruesome details to come.
Hernandez was part of the Patriot Way because he could catch passes and make the team more successful. The franchise, led by Kraft, needs to recalibrate and be more selective going forward, starting now.
HOW DARE HER!!!
(Don Kraftleone of the Patriot Way Organized Crime family is going to be livid)
glad to see some members of the media finally trying to poke holes in that patriot bubble
I love itAaron Hernandez saga just the latest dark cloud hovering over Pats
Fort Belichick is in disarray.
Already, the franchise that espouses the fundamental (if somewhat ambiguous) “Patriot Way” mantra had endured an unusually tumultuous offseason. And that was before tight end Aaron Hernandez, less than a year removed from signing a pricey contract extension, became a possible suspect in the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd and was released by the Patriots Wednesday.
The Patriots’ mystique may be waning, and not just because of the potentially serious legal issues facing Hernandez and his subsequent release. This offseason has been unusually tumultuous for one of the league’s more sure-footed franchises.
New England entered its offseason earlier than expected, following a humbling playoff home loss to the Ravens — the Patriots’ eighth consecutive postseason trip that ended without a Super Bowl ring and their third time in the past four years falling on their home turf. Then, Wes Welker bolted for rival Denver, Alfonzo Dennard was sentenced to 30 days in jail for assaulting a police officer and Rob Gronkowski became a frequent guest of the surgical community.
All of that (and the questions about New England’s 2013 prospects that followed) occurred before Hernandez’s home landed front and center in a murder investigation. That Hernandez’s dreadful situation has happened less than a year after he signed a pricey contract extension will make the front office even more uneasy.
There are more pressing matters at hand, particularly in regards to Hernandez, but football minds can ask with the Patriots a month away from reconvening for camp: Is this team ready for a fall?
BURKE: What’s next for Patriots after Hernandez’s release?
The rest of the AFC East certainly hopes so, having watched New England roll to back-to-back-to-back-to-back division crowns. Miami spent big money to chase a playoff berth; Buffalo switched coaching staffs and landed a QB, E.J. Manuel, it hopes finally can be a franchise guy at that position; the Jets, though with myriad issues of their own, did the same by drafting Geno Smith.
Those three teams should feel that the door to first place has propped open, if only because the Patriots’ own title window might have closed a bit.
The Patriots will have to fight that perception, at least, as they start the coming season with questions at wide receiver and tight end (if Rob Gronkowski isn’t on the field in Week 1, the Patriots will open the season without their five leading receivers from last year), cornerback (where the team only added third-rounder Logan Ryan to a group that finished 29th against the pass last year) and off the field.
New England has the type of leadership to weather the storm — Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork and others provide necessarily steady hands. Still, there is enough for the Patriots to be concerned about on the field, especially after cutting their talented tight end.
What must Brady think of his team’s recent news? The future Hall of Famer has survived, sometimes even thrived, with an underwhelming cast of characters around him — like the 2004 Super Bowl run, with David Givens and David Patten as the team’s leading receivers.
That was a decade ago, though. The soon-to-be 36-year-old QB has proven he has plenty left in the tank, and yet the latest incarnation of the Patriots’ offense was designed around Welker’s capabilities in the slot, Hernandez’s versatility and Gronkowski’s elite abilities as a combo pass-catcher/blocker. What happens if Brady has to enter the season without any of those players available to him? (No, Tim Tebow’s not about to dominate as a tight end.)
Admittedly, asking the question “Who will catch Tom Brady’s passes?” is a gross simplification of New England’s situation. Belichick has never shied away from rolling the dice on red-flagged players. Plenty of those gambles have paid off, too, but maybe there’s a more fundamental issue at play.
Maybe the Patriots, by turning a blind eye to Hernandez’s sketchy past, set themselves up for some of these problems.
New England likely will head into the 2013 season as the favorite again within the AFC East, if not one of the expected contenders in the conference. The outlook in Foxboro, however, is far from sunny.
If there is still exists a “Patriot Way,” now would be the ideal time to rediscover it.
ASHLEY FOX FOR VP OF ESPATSN!!!
Skip Baseless doesn't like.
I'm no Pats fan, but this article is the stupidest thing I've read in months. Thanks for wasting the three minutes of my life it took to read it, and the 45 seconds to type this message that I'm never getting back, Ashley....
and 1000s of others....lolollolsuman_1980
i hate pats as a team but how in the world a team owner or coach can even think about this kind of behavior from a player. is the writer out of her mind?
Last edited by ReincarnatedBob; 07-01-2013 at 10:44 PM.
thanks for the update, Vinny....
is she a "crazed lunatic jealous of the Cheaters, too"
or do you save your namecalling only for respected JI posters
Bravo. Maybe the dam is starting to break.
It's a horrible feeling when writers, and not Wilk, are getting after the Pasts*.
Where were all these 'reporters' calling foul after Spygate? Where were they on draft day saying what a huge mistake they made? Of course it's a lot easier denouncing a possible murder. What a bunch of p*ssies. Every team has at least 3 dudes with a background as bad as Hernandez's.
That being said, with all the c-cksucking the media has dished out that past decade, watching them being whipped at the stake is gratifying.
Last edited by RaoulDuke; 07-02-2013 at 01:21 PM.