The Patriots have been relatively quiet since Aaron Hernandez was arrested on a murder and gun charges, aside from their initial statement following the tight end's release. This may be in large part due to Pats owner Robert Kraft being out of the country.
Kraft is back in New England now and spoke with select members of the Boston media Monday, saying that the team feels "duped" by Hernandez.
“No one in our organization was aware of any of these kind of connections. If it's true, I'm just shocked,” Kraft said via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. “Our whole organization has been duped.”
The owner, who's been particularly outspoken about certain personnel decisions in recent months, emphatically reiterated that the Patriots were prepared to cut Hernandez because of the police investigation even before he was officially arrested.
“If any member of the New England Patriots organization is close enough to a murder investigation to actually get arrested -- whether it be for obstruction of justice or the crime itself -- it is too close to an unthinkable act for that person to be part of this organization going forward,” Kraft said.
The Hernandez matter is technically "behind" the Patriots, since he's no longer a member of the organization. But it's clearly not going to go anywhere, and Kraft said that he's very much concerned Hernandez will be a distraction to the team during training camp, which begins on July 25.
“Everything we don't want is happening,” he said.
But Kraft also expressed sympathy for Odin Lloyd's family, noting that for everything the Patriots and Hernandez are dealing with, it's much, much worse for Lloyd's family.
“The most sad thing is the Lloyd family lost a son, a brother,” Kraft said. “I'm really sorry, and my heart goes out to the Lloyd family.”