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BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke about the arrest of Aaron Hernandez on Wednesday, calling it “a sad day on so many levels.”
“I’m going to address the situation involving Aaron Hernandez. I felt that it was important enough to do that prior to the start of camp. It’s a sad day. It’s really a sad day on so many levels,” Belichick said of the former Patriot tight end’s June arrest for murder in the death of Odin Lloyd. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim and I extend my sympathy really to everyone who’s been impacted. A young man lost his life and his family has suffered a tragic loss and there’s 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. I and other members of our organization were shocked and disappointed at what we learned,” continued Belichick. “It’s a terrible thing, and after consultation with ownership we acted swiftly and decisively. Robert (Kraft), his family and I, since I got here in 2000, have always emphasized the need to represent our organization the right way both on and off the field. We’ve worked hard over the last 14 years putting together a winning team that is a pillar in the community and I believe 100-percent on that.
“This case involves an individual who happened to be a New England Patriot. We certainly do not condone unacceptable behavior,” said Belichick. “We look at every player’s history from the moment we start discussing it, going back to his family, where he grew up, what his lifestyle was like, high school and college experiences. We evaluate his performance, his intelligence, his work ethic, his motivation, his maturity, his improvement and we try to project that into our organization on a going-forward basis.
“Unfortunately, this most recent situation with the charges that are involved is not a good one on that record,” said Belichick. “We stress high character and we stress making good decisions. We’ll continue to do this and we’ll work to do a better job of it going forward. We’ll learn from this terrible experience. (Continued…)