The NFL announced today that free agent tight end Aaron Hernandez will be suspended for the first four games of the season per the league’s policy for repeat murderers. The former Patriots tight end, already in jail related to a murder charge, was indicted today for a double murder in 2012.
“We are willing to work with players if they meet us halfway,” said commissioner Roger Goodell. “One murder is a mistake. We just issue a warning to not murder again, and Aaron got that. But two or three is a pattern, and he must be held accountable. Murder someone once, shame on them. Murder multiple people, shame on you.”
Hernandez’s agent confirmed the penalty and said the league initially pushed for a 8-game suspension.
“The league claimed the double murder, in addition to the single murder, put Aaron at three total murders, which would make him a three-time offender,” said David Dunn. “But I made it clear that the double murder should only count as one, because the league’s policy specifically says ‘murderer,’ not ‘murders.’ Aaron may have three murders, but he’s only been a murderer twice. A subtle, but important distinction. And one that can get him on the field by early October.”
Some teams, however, have now expressed concern about signing Hernandez should he be released from prison.
“You want a player to be with you on the field from Week 1,” said one league executive. “He’s a very talented player. So would we sign him? No doubt. But not for the salary he’ll likely be requesting. You know, should he beat all the charges and not die in jail.”
Another GM said he worries about Hernandez’s influence on a locker room.
“Is he going to murder a teammate?” he said. “I know it may not be politically correct to say, but some people might be concerned he’s going to want to murder them.”
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