Join Date: Apr 2008
Re: Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez to be Questioned
"Iím going to address the situation involving Aaron Hernandez today" Belichick said. "I thought that it was important enough to do that prior to the start of camp. Itís a sad day, really a sad day, on so many levels. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim. I send my sympathy really to everyone who has been impacted. A young man lost his life. His family has suffered a tragic loss, and thereís no way to understate that.
"When I was out of the country, I learned about the ongoing criminal investigation that involved one of our players, and I and other members of the organization were shocked and disappointed at what we had learned. Having someone in your organization thatís involved in a murder investigation is a terrible thing. After consultation with ownership, we acted swiftly and decisively. Robert and his family and I, since I got here in 2000, have always emphasized the need for our team and our players and our organization to represent the community the right way, both on and off the field. Weíve worked very hard together over the past 14 years to put together a winning team that is a pillar in the community, and I agree 100 percent with that, the comments that Robert has already made on the situation. I stand behind those as well.
"This case involves an individual who happened to be a New England Patriot. We certainly do not condone unacceptable behavior, and this does not in any way represent the way that the New England Patriots want to do things. As the coach of the team, Iím primarily responsible for the people that we bring into the football operations. Our players are generally highly motivated and gifted athletes. They come from very different backgrounds. Theyíve met many challenges along the way and have done things to get here. Sometimes, theyíve made bad or immature decisions, but we try to look at every single situation on a case-by-case basis and try to do whatís best for the football team and whatís best for the franchise. Most of those decisions have worked out, but some donít.
"Overall, Iím proud of the hundreds of players that have come through this program, but Iím personally disappointed and hurt in a situation like this. You know, as far as the whole process goes, I can tell you that we look at every playerís history from the moment we start discussing it, going back to his family, where he grew up, what his lifestyle was like, high school, college experiences. We evaluate the performance, intelligence, his work ethic, his motivation, his maturity, his improvement, and we try to project that into our organization on a going-forward basis. It combines a playerís personal history, but it also has to project what we think and how we think he will be in our environment.
"Obviously, this process is far from perfect, but itís one that weíve used from 2000 until today. And unfortunately, this most recent situation with the charges that are involved are not a good one on that record. But weíll continue to evaluate the way we do things and the way we evaluate our players. We do it on a regular basis, not just at the beginning when they come in. We do it on a regular basis. Personally, Iím challenged by the decisions that affect the team on a daily basis, and Iím not perfect on that, either, but I always try to do what I think is best for the football team.
"We spent a considerable amount of time evaluating our current players and educating them on, not only football, but many other life experiences and off-field subjects. We stress high character, and we stress making good decisions. Weíll continue to do this, and weíll work to do a better job of it as we go forward. Weíll learn from this terrible experience that weíve had. Weíll become a better team from the lessons that weíve learned. We have so many players on this team that work hard, that do the right thing, and have set a great example of being a professional and being a solid representative of this team and the community.
"I know that there are a lot of questions, fair questions, about this subject and related subjects. Iím not trying to make the story disappear, but I respect the judicial process and have been advised not to comment on ongoing legal proceedings. Iím advising our players to do the same thing. Weíve got a system in justice that deals with criminal charges, and ultimately the judge and the jury will determine the accountability. My comments are certainly not in proportion to the unfortunate and sad situation that we have here.
"Iíve been advsised to address the subject once, and itís time for the New England Patriots to move forward. Moving forward consists of what itís always been here -- to build a winning football team, be a strong pillar in the community and be a team that our fans will be proud of. Thatís where we are."