Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick head one of the classiest organizations in all of football
Over the passed few weeks I have read many articles from reporters around the country stating that the Aaron Hernandez situation is seen as a black mark on the Patriots organization. They say the normally straight and narrow "Patriots Way" is a thing of the passed, and Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick have lost their edge when evaluating character.
Although this is obviously a difficult situation, and what Hernandez allegedly did is despicable, I disagree with the media when it comes to this. The Patriots showed they are still one of the classiest organizations in all of football with their decisiveness to cut ties with Hernandez immediately following his arrest.
The Patriots reportedly made the decision to cut him if he got arrested a week prior to his actual arrest. When New England formally announced that decision following his arrest, they did so without knowing anything that he was going to be charged with. The goal as an organization was to immediately dissociate themselves with someone who had any connection whatsoever to a case of this magnitude, and they accomplished that swiftly.
The Pats were able to further themselves from anything Hernandez related by offering a trade in option for anyone who owned an 81 Hernandez jersey. Fans were able to trade in that jersey and receive another one of equal or lesser value for any other player on the team of their choosing. Hernandez is also no longer listed as an active player in the NFL on nfl.com.
The handling of this issue separates New England as an organization from others like Dallas and their handling of the Josh Brent saga. Late last season, when Brent was charged with killing another from drunk driving, the Cowboys did not do a lot to make a statement about what they stood for as an organization. He was allowed to walk the sidelines for a game just days after that took place. Although public outcry called for Dallas to ban him from the team, they did not move like the Patriots did to separate themselves from a troubled player.
Just weeks ago, Brent failed his second drug test for marijuana in less than a month and is now, like Hernandez, in a jail cell. His charge of intoxicated manslaughter is still waiting trail, but if he is convicted he faces up to 20 years in jail. Yet for some reason the Cowboys still are hanging onto him. Why, you ask? I have no idea.
Brent is nowhere near as talented or accomplished on the football field as Hernandez was, and plays a position that the Cowboys have depth at. He is not even the starting defensive tackle on their team. It would be easy for Dallas to cut him and wash their hands of the whole situation, yet for some reason they are holding onto their 2010 7th round supplemental draft choice.
The Patriots separate themselves from the majority of other teams both on the field and off. The contrast between how the Cowboys handled their troubled player and how the Patriots are handling theirs is eye opening. Regardless of if these charges stick or not, the Patriots showed the nation that they are still one of the classiest organizations in the entire NFL.