NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday morning that the Aaron Hernandez case should prompt all NFL teams to examine how they scrutinize players before signing or drafting them.
“All clubs are going to have to re-evaluate how they evaluate players,” Goodell said on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show. "They have to look at their prior history, their experience, to make sure they are bringing the kind of people in to represent the teams and the NFL in a positive way.”
Goodell’s sentiment echoes what the New England Patriots have relayed in the past few weeks. Both owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick have said the team will look at how it vets players before bringing them onto the team in the wake of a murder charge against Hernandez. Belichick explained that process in his first news conference of training camp.
“I can tell you that we look at every player’s history from the moment we start discussing it, going back to his family, where he grew up, what his lifestyle was like, high school, college experiences -- we evaluate his performance, his intelligence, his work ethic, his motivation, his maturity, his improvement, and we try to project that into our organization on a going-forward basis,” Belichick explained. “It combines a player’s personal history, but it also has to project what we think, and how we think, he will be in our environment. Obviously this process is far from perfect, but it’s one that we’ve used from 2000 until today.”
Less than two hours after Hernandez was arrested on June 26, the Patriots released the tight end. Shortly thereafter, Hernandez was officially charged in the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd.
“To think that anyone involved with the National Football League, whether it be a player or anybody else, could be involved in these circumstances is deeply troubling and does have an impact on the shield,” Goodell said Thursday. “That’s why I am proud the Patriots took decisive action. It is now a matter for the courts for the criminal activity.”