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After about a month of silence from head coach Bill Belichick, he finally took to the podium to speak about Aaron Hernandez. In the usual stoic tone the Belichick conveys, he was very sympathetic sending his condolences to the victim and his family. He claimed it was a “very sad” time for the New England Patriots. He also explained the “far from perfect” process of drafting players has been the same since 2000, and it will stay that way. However, he went on to say it will be partially modified.
Belichick reiterated he could not elaborate about Aaron Hernandez in respect for the judicial process. He did say he was caught off guard when he heard the news about the arrest later last month while he was out of the country. Belichick also stated the Patriots are not perfect and each player is evaluated on a “case-by-case basis” and he felt as though at the time the Patriots signed the best player they could in order to succeed referring to drafting Hernandez in the fourth round of the draft in 2010.
This is a learning experience for the organization and it is time to move forward as the year progresses into the beginning of training camp.
The press conference was an excellent display of sympathy from Belichick but he also withheld speaking on the current judicial process and investigation. Clearly, the Patriot system or “Patriot Way” is not perfect but there have been excellent players to come through Foxboro in Belichick’s career in New England. Clearly the Public Relations team put in overtime to clear up the situation simply by viewing this press conference. Many members of the media believed Belichick would dodge questions but he took responsibility and showed disappointment through this Hernandez debacle. It was a great demonstration of leadership and why he is the head coach of the New England Patriots.
No one saw this coming despite the red flags and, The Patriot way is real and hopefully we will continue to see this in the future.
This issue is finally behind the Patriots as they enter training camp this week.