In the five-hour span Wednesday between the arrest of Aaron Hernandez and his arraignment on charges including first-degree murder, the New England Patriots did something seldom seen in sports — the team distanced itself and severed all ties with him even before the first steps of the legal process.
By releasing the talented tight end, the Patriots possibly missed a chance to recover a portion of his $12.5 million signing bonus. But they sent an unmistakable message the club wanted nothing to do with him. It was a rare departure from the way teams typically handle star athletes in serious trouble.
The Patriots removed Hernandez from the roster on their website, and the NFL stopped selling his jersey online.