Thursday, August 29, 2013

NFL: Kraft explains why Patriots refuse Hernandez bonus

 FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) – The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance to help murder suspect Aaron Hernandez collect an $82,000 workout bonus.

Hernandez’ contract provided for him to receive that amount if the star tight end participated in 90 percent of the New England Patriots’ voluntary offseason workouts.

“On behalf of all players, it is our responsibility to protect the rights in the collective bargaining agreement,” the union said in a statement. “We are not tone-deaf to what the allegations are in this case, but for the benefit of all players, there are important precedents here we must protect.”

The Patriots cut Hernandez after he was arrested on June 26 and before he was charged with murder later that day. He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a friend whose body was found June 17 near Hernandez’ house. The union believes Hernandez earned the bonus before his arrest.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft indicated he disagreed.

“It’s simple,” he said Tuesday. “You can look at our history. We honor all our contracts, and we expect the people who sign them to honor their part of the contract.”

Asked if he felt Hernandez didn’t do that, Kraft said, “We honor our contracts, and we expect the people on the other side to do the same.”

Last year, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract extension through the 2018 season. The contract, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, includes an $82,000 bonus if Hernandez “successfully completes” at least 90 percent of the possible offseason workouts at the team’s facility. The bonus would have been paid “on or about” Aug. 1.

The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement allows teams to recoup bonus money when a player is incarcerated. The Patriots cut Hernandez before the bonus, if earned, was due.

Hernandez was indicted last Thursday on first-degree murder and weapons charges in the death of Lloyd, whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park.

Prosecutors say Hernandez orchestrated Lloyd’s killing because he was upset at him for talking to people Hernandez had problems with at a nightclub days earlier.

Kraft said that since he bought the Patriots before the 1994 season, “we’ve had probably over 2,000 people playing here and I think, by and large, we’ve done a pretty good job. If you look at the last four years I don’t think we had any off-field incidents. So we’re as diligent as we can be.

“We know what we want to achieve, yet, when people go outside this building, it’s like those of you who have children,” Kraft told reporters. “Once they get to a certain age, you can’t control all their activities.”

The Patriots are “a microcosm of the world,” he said. “All kinds of things are going to happen. We do our best to hope that (players) understand they’re in a unique place. Playing in the NFL is a privilege and we hope they’re wise and mature enough to make sure they know how to take advantage of that.”

Report: Aaron Hernandez used PCP, hung around gangsters

(PhatzRadio / AP) — Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was a frequent user of angel dust and carried a gun with him at all times because he was paranoid, according to a story published on Rolling Stone‘s website.

The full story will appear in the next issue of the magazine and it will detail Hernandez’s life from high school to now being a murder suspect.

Among the revelations in the story:

Hernandez hung around with a cohort of gangsters, and cut himself off from his family and teammates. He also so infuriated his head coach Bill Belichick with missed practices and thug-life stunts that he was one step away from being released.

The story also claimed that his former college coach at the University of Florida, Urban Meyer, may have helped cover up failed drug tests, along with two violent incidents — an assault and a drive-by shootout outside a local bar.

Hernandez is behind bars awaiting trail after prosecutors say he had a role in the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd He pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge and five other gun charges.
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