Aaron Hernandez was always a matchup problem for opponents. It turned out he was also a matchup problem for the Patriots. The team struggled to match up what it was seeing inside the walls of Gillette Stadium with the person the former Patriots tight end appears to truly be.
That person is behind bars in the Bristol County jail, charged with the murder of Dorchester’s Odin Lloyd and five gun-related violations of the law.
If the Patriots are guilty of anything it was letting Hernandez use the misguided belief that their building and their uniforms somehow build character or instill it where it doesn’t exist against them. They became intoxicated by this myth, the idea of the Patriots being more than a football team, but a way of life.
Fielding better teams than your competitors should never be confused or equated with having better human beings. That’s a dangerous and erroneous supposition. The folks at Patriot Place have learned that in painful fashion.
But the notion that the Patriots should have pegged Hernandez, who is also being investigated in relation to a double homicide in Boston last July, for an alleged criminal is grossly overestimating the oversight that an NFL team has over a player’s off-field life. It’s also piling on the Patriots while they’re down.
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