Bill Belichick spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time since former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd. While most of his press conference was vintage Belichick, he showed more compassion and regret than many people expected him to.
Belichick began the news conference by expressing his condolences to the Lloyd family and calling the murder a “tragedy.”
“This is a sad day on so many levels,” Belichick said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim.”
Belichick mentioned Hernandez by name at the very beginning of his lengthy opening statement, but only referred to him as “the player” from that point on. He stated that he agreed “100%” with the comments Patriots owner Robert Kraft made about the situation earlier this offseason, and then surprised some by taking responsibility for the fact that Hernandez did not work out.
“We’ll learn from this terrible experience,” Belichick said. “This does not in any way represent the way the New England Patriots want to do things. As coach, I’m primarily responsible for people we bring into this organization. Personally, I’m challenged by decisions that affect the team on a daily basis. We always try to do what’s best for the team. We’ll continue to do this and will work to do a better job going forward.”
After his opening statement, Belichick was very vague and answered very few questions. He said he has been advised to not speak about individuals who are involved in an ongoing investigation, but did give some insight when asked if the Patriots have looked into the claim that other football players visited Hernandez’s so-called “flop house.” He said the team has “absolutely done as much as we can” to gather information on that front.
Overall, I thought Belichick handled the situation well. He put his typical arrogance aside and delivered an adequate opening statement. While saying he has been advised to not speak about individuals who are involved in an ongoing investigation will be seen as a copout, it’s smart. Regardless of how compelling the evidence is against Hernandez, his trial has yet to even begin. Saying too much could get the team into trouble.
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