In a surprise appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show broadcast from Gillette Stadium on Friday morning, Patriots owner Robert Kraft reiterated that he was “shocked” when he learned of Aaron Hernandez’s connection to a murder investigation and said the team was trying to turn the page as training camp opened.
“We’re just sad about what potentially has happened,” Kraft told hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. “We just think we’ve got to face problems head on, make the best decision with the information we have at the time and move on.”
Kraft also discussed the process by which the team decided to break ties with Hernandez. The Patriots cut the tight end less than 2 hours after he was arrested but before he was officially charged with murdering semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
“I was overseas when this all happened,” he said. “We did what we did [discuss how to handle the Hernandez situation] by telephone conference. We were just shocked. I know our fans were shocked. … We just decided to act fast [in cutting him] and do something that would be the right thing to do under very difficult circumstances.”
Kraft had spoken about Hernandez only once previously, telling a small group of reporters he felted “duped” by the player. Friday’s remarks came two days after coach Bill Belichick talked for the first time about the situation and a day after Tom Brady and other team captains addressed it for the first time publicly.
“Let it be said that the first day I was back from overseas I spoke,” Kraft said Friday. “[Belichick] spoke, our captains spoke. There’s nothing more we can say and we’re going to focus on trying to win some football games now.”
The Patriots' image has taken a hit this offseason, both with the murder charge facing Hernandez and the arrest of cornerback Alfonzo Dennard on suspicion of drunk driving. Dennard had previously been sentenced to 30 days behind bars (to be served next March).
“I know our brand is very important to the community,” Kraft said. “It’s important to my family and we want our fans to believe in us and know that sometimes we have to do some difficult things and we’ll stand by it.”