After news broke Wednesday morning that former New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez had killed himself in a Massachusetts prison cell, people from around the NFL reacted in stunned disbelief.
The Patriots themselves did not have much to say about Hernandez’s death in a statement given to the Boston Globe:
“We are aware of the reports, but I don’t anticipate that we will be commenting today,” spokeswoman Stacey James said. New England was scheduled to visit the White House to celebrate its Super Bowl win on Wednesday.
In comments to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Patriots tight end Dan Gronkowski called the entire Hernandez situation unfortunate:
“When I was on the team with (Aaron Hernandez) it was Rob (Gronkowski), myself and (him). We all got along and had a good time. We didn’t have any issues with Aaron ever. So I mean, that was all just a side thing that no one knew what was going on. We didn’t even know that that was even happening. It wasn’t even like we thought something like that was going on. So, it’s just sad to hear that, knowing that you (knew) somebody that has gone through that stuff and chose that route. …“It’s just unfortunate that this whole thing has come about.”
Another former Patriots teammate, this one unnamed, told Anderson that he was skeptical about Hernandez’s death:
Another former teammate of Aaron Hernandez I spoke with this am having a hard time believing he took his own life: "I am not buying it."— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 19, 2017
That former Pats teammate added: "I'll never believe (Aaron Hernandez) went out that way. Yes he has emotions, but he's not wired like that"— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 19, 2017
Hernandez’s former agent, Brian Murphy, echoed that sentiment:
Absolutely no chance he took his own life. Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life.— Brian Murphy (@A1Murph) April 19, 2017