By: Steve Balestrieri
And it feels right this time
On this crash course with the big time
Pay no mind to the distant thunder
New day fills his head with wonder, boy………
Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel
Is just a freight train coming your way
“No Leaf Clover” – Metallica
This one has been coming for a long time, so no one can say they are surprised. Many members of the media have been waiting for an opportunity to finally emerge and they got their chance, taking Patriots owner Robert Kraft to the woodshed for crimes real or imagined in the aftermath of the Aaron Hernandez murder investigation and arrest.
Kraft should have listened to his lawyers on this one and just remained quiet and let the process play out. But instead he reached out, trying to explain the betrayal that he and the organization felt in the entire Hernandez fiasco.
And in turn, the media by and large turned on Kraft for “not doing enough”, not knowing what Hernandez was turning into”…etc. And most of all, they turned on Kraft for not saying anything after an initial statement upon Hernandez’s arrest, saying “it was the right thing to do”.
The media should be placing blame here on Hernandez rather than Robert Kraft. (FILE:USPresswire)
“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 on Monday. “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.”
The media turned on Kraft for two misplaced reasons. One, they (media) were as “duped” as the team was and have lashed out at Kraft and the team for being embarrassed at buying the entire Hernandez reclamation story. Rather than blame themselves for buying a bill of goods, they are lashing out in embarrassment at Kraft as if he misled them.
Part of this reason ties into the media’s frustration with Bill Belichick and his refusal to tell them anything of note for years. This is payback in a big way.
The other is that this entire mythical “Patriot Way” that was concocted by the media in the first place and while the team and Kraft certainly embraced it, the media has been waiting in the wings to smash it down.
This is an abrupt turnaround for Kraft who was hailed as a hero less than two years ago.
And it isn’t just the media jumping on the Kraft bashing. One former GM, Bill Polian who could scarcely contain his glee stated about the Hernandez draft, “There were questions there, which is why a guy of that talent lasted until the fourth round,” Polian said.
“We were not in the Hernandez business,” Polian added smugly. What he failed to mention is that he once spent a first round draft pick on a player (Rae Carruth) that was convicted of conspiring to his kill his pregnant girlfriend, but Polian’s bias against all things New England is well known.
The most intriguing comments were from Mike Brown Owner/GM of the Cincinnati Bengals who said that, “That one is no secret. We just stayed away from Hernandez,” Brown said. “We didn’t question the playing ability. But we went for Gresham.”
This one really qualifies as piling on, since the Bengals roster has been the one most closely aligned with a police line-up. In one 17 month period, the Bengals had 17 players arrested. So please, don’t cast stones about character issues.
Kraft doesn’t have to answer for a damned thing….there, said it. Like we said here more than 10 days ago Kraft and the Patriots were conned (duped in his words) as were the media. Never saw one word printed that the Patriots were making a big mistake in giving a contract extension to Hernandez because of character concerns.
He is an owner of a big franchise and his responsibility is to provide a winning team. Kraft said that they didn’t follow any of their players around to keep tabs on them. This may change in the future but just imagine the media outcry if Kraft did this prior to this entire Hernandez murder scenario unfolding.
Could the Patriots and Kraft have done a better job of delving into Hernandez’s background regarding his friends and associates? Of course, but hindsight is always 20/20.
All that was ever written about Hernandez was that he failed multiple drug tests at Florida for testing positive for marijuana. And the tests that said he scored a “1” on a maturity level? While certainly a red flag, he was only 20 years old at the time.
Who knows or were immature themselves at the age of 20? Add in an entitled atmosphere at a major football program at Florida and his maturity level wasn’t going to be where it should be.
Kraft gave Hernandez every opportunity and every advantage to live a long, productive and wealthy life with his fiancée and daughter. Hernandez made a decision to turn away from that and follow a very different path. A path that ended with him awaiting a murder trial in jail.
Hernandez made a decision that ultimately his street cred was more important than his football career and his family. And he was the one who ultimately will pay for this in the future.
Kraft is a victim here as well, not anywhere close to the Lloyd family, but he was victimized here, just as the league, the fans and yes the media were. He lost millions of dollars that has already been paid to Hernandez, another estimated $250,000 in jersey returns and an indelible stain on his franchise and brand that will never go away.
Everyone bought a bill of goods from Hernandez and everyone wanted to believe in the great story about a kid who rose above it all.
He didn’t, he didn’t rise above it all, and he chose to be involved in this entire Odin Lloyd murder. How involved he was is a matter for the courts now. Hernandez is an adult and made his own decisions and personal responsibility is one thing that is sadly missing from our society today.
But Hernandez deserves your rebuke, not Kraft. He did the right thing in releasing him when he did. Perhaps instead of blaming Kraft, the media should place the blame where it belongs….on Hernandez.