Is Boston.com Ever Going To Address The Eric Wilbur Embarrassment?

It worked, Eric.

By calling this site out, you’re getting the attention you so pathetically crave. OK, lets go over your column from Wednesday and see what we can take from it.

Still waiting. Silence from Patriot Place.

This is the REAL crime that has been committed here.

Oh, yes, the New England Patriots have acted and released Aaron Hernandez in the wake of his murder allegations, describing the process as “the right thing to do,” but no member has yet to speak about the matter publicly and shed some light on how an organization that preaches righteousness swung and missed like Mark Bellhorn when it came to determining their tight end’s character. A week ago, the transaction seemed logical. But with every hour producing a new tale of just how messed up Hernandez is, it’s only logical to wonder how much the Patriots knew, and how much they ignored.

So was releasing him immediately and cutting off any future payments NOT the right thing to do? I’m confused. The Mark Bellhorn reference is outstanding. And timely.

I mean, you don’t just deliver $40 million contracts out of faith.

No, sometimes you hire private investigators, follow the subject around, gauge his fitness for the market, and still hand out $142 million contracts.

Instead, we know what we’ll get. Bill Belichick will take the podium later this month at the dawn of training camp and dodge every question tossed his way with regards to “what’s best for the team,” the same way he deftly handled the New Hampshire political reporters and whatever other ratings-grabbing brigade was sent to Foxborough on the first day of Tim Tebow coverage. It’s what Bill does best, after all. And it’s tired.

Again. We’re on to the REAL crime. “Bill doesn’t tell us anything. Whah!

“It is what it is” ain’t what it was in this particular case. The more we learn about Hernandez’s past, the more the Patriots owe us all an explanation. How exactly was their judgment clouded so impeccably, even as former teammates like Matt Light opine in the aftermath about what a bad guy he was? With all due apologies to the salacious hound dogs at the Patriots’ temple over at Boston Sports Media Watch, the status quo that Belichick preaches won’t cut it.

I’m really confused about this whole “owe us” thing. First of all, who is “us?” Fans? Media? Civilization as a whole? Why is this owed? Do other privately held companies hold press conferences when one of their employees is charged with a crime? When the Globe has yet another plagiarism scandal, will they sit there and take questions from the Herald and channels 4,5 and 7?

Have other former teammates spoken out against Hernandez? They must have, because Wilbur says teammates – plural. Other than some nameless ex-teammates saying Hernandez was a loner – not exactly a scathing condemnation – but other than Light, and his quotes were mysteriously not followed up on by his interviewer, the only other public quotes have come from Deion Branch, and could not be more different than Light. So Hernandez apparently had at least some of his teammates snowed too.

Patriots temple? Is that also a shot at the Krafts? I’m not saying it is, and I’m not saying it isn’t. I do like the “salacious hound dogs” reference – another great word picture. Horny dogs. OK.

The fans and the rest of the NFL deserve more knowledge than that.

Why? Curiosity? I mean, if say, Dan Shaughnessy’s son was arrested for, say, assaulting a police officer, does Dan and the Globe hold a conference to tell us more? Don’t we deserve more knowledge?

It’s difficult to believe that the Patriots, a franchise that has prided itself on background checks, didn’t know that there was more to Hernandez than met the eye. Hell, the marijuana issues aside, Hernandez’s past reads like a Spenser novel. How soon until we get an Aaron Hernandez special edition of “Clue?”

Wait, wait, wait – “prided itself on background checks” – is that even remotely true? Or is Eric just making stuff up? What does that even mean? “Jonathan – we sure nailed another background check! Put that one on the wall!” Seems an odd thing to be prideful over.

A Spenser novel! Awesome. Special edition of Clue! Just stop it! I can’t handle this incredibly witty and relevant humor!

The Patriots want to lead you to believe that they had a model, reformed citizen on their hands in Hernandez, that any troubled past was merely a matter of puff, puff, pass the dutchie on the left-hand side and nothing more. His teammates sure seemed to know. How did his employers miss the boat so egregiously?

They’re leading us to believe that by cutting him immediately? Musical Youth reference? Awesome.

Again, that “teammates” – plural – wording. Does Eric know something he’s not sharing with us? We demand to know!

Fans will line up this weekend to exchange their “Pro Shop-purchased” Hernandez jerseys during the Patriots’ PR stint to put the past behind them. It’s OK to continue wearing it apparently if you bought your jersey at Sports Authority. If the Pats were serious about ridding the streets and stands of its tainted criminal’s name on people’s backs, no questions should be asked. They can handle that as they deftly proved with Hernandez.

I don’t have a ton to argue with here. If they’re going to take #81 jerseys back, take ‘em all back. Eric, we have common ground here. A start, right?

There has to be a disgruntled backlash in the locker room, and not just because the team released a guy for reasons other than having diabetes. Hernandez’s criminal past could have affected Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, or any other teammate the same way it did victim Odin Lloyd. What if Stevan Ridley was the one to find out that Hernandez may have murdered two people in cold blood last summer? Do you think he would skirt any sort of cover up from a guy who theoretically took three days to plot Lloyd’s murder and still butchered the process so badly that the likes of Clouseau would consider the case a waste of time?

Yes, there HAS to be. Eric says so. Ah, the little Florio-type slam on the Kyle Love release, nice to work that in there.

Now, is Wilbur saying that we should be mad at the Patriots because Hernandez could’ve killed Tom Brady? (You already did that, Eric.) It sounds like it. What the heck does that sentence about Ridley even mean? I’ve read it about 20 times and it still doesn’t make any sense. “skirt any sort of cover up”?

To say the Patriots made a huge error in tossing their good faith at Hernandez is an understatement, yet we’ve heard nothing from the owner, the coach, or the quarterback about how they went so astray. Unless you’ve already Hale-Bopped your allegiance, doesn’t that make you in the least bit frustrated?

No. Not at all. And being a Patriots fan doesn’t exactly equate with a suicide cult, another nice reference. I’m waiting for the Globe to say they erred in hiring Mike Barnicle, Patricia Smith or Ron Borges.

Sorry, the Patriots owe you that much.

Again this “owe” thing. And this time it’s YOU they owe. Not “us.”

This is no longer a matter of what did they know and when did they know it, but a situation that needs some semblance of closure from the franchise. They were the ones who took a fourth-round flyer when nobody else would, after all. They were the ones who awarded him with millions just days within a suspected double murder. They were the ones who kept him around, the reason he was in our community.

Wait, in the first paragraph you said it was logical to wonder what and when. Now its about closure. For me, closure came when they cut him. That was enough of a statement to me. They didn’t even know the charges. They didn’t stick by him like the Ravens did with Ray Lewis. The Ravens made Lewis the face of the franchise. The Patriots cut all ties then and there. Actions can say things better and more eloquently than words at times. What more needs to be said?

Three men are dead that we know of. Who knows what the evening will bring.

Thanks for the reminder, I kind of forgot about that after the whole column was about the culpability of the Patriots in the matter and what they OWE you, us, whoever.

One thing we’re pretty sure of, it won’t include a Patriots apology or admittance of fault. That’s not the Patriot Way, of course. Then again, as we’re rapidly discovering, the Patriots Way is a bogus load of tripe.

As is this column. Spare me the hand-wringing over over a media-created standard that has been supposedly violated.

And we continue to wait, as an exposed institution shows its true, cowardly colors.

The most accurate line of the entire column.

  • latetodinner

    Bruce:

    You were too nice. What Mr. Wilbur and his ilk don’t understand is that corporate mission statements and personnel standards are not universal. When it comes to an employee who performs an action so far outside the mainstream of accepted behavior, that case has to be handled individually, decisively and in the best interests of the company. The Patriots did that. In effect they admitted to the tune of $12 mill that they made a mistake. Hernandez did indeed fool them.

    The implication of Wilbur’s column is the Patriots knew something like this would happen and they allowed it to happen. That the Globe published such a screed is yet another example of their editorial staff being completely incompetent. That Mr. Wilbur is employed can only be explained by the Globe’s incredibly petty, vindictive ongoing hate against the Kraft family, Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization. The Globe it seems would much prefer to employ smug little clueless punks rather than competent, fair commenters. How Bob Ryan worked in that newsroom for all those years is just beyond me.

    • Brianwaterslocker

      Ryan has been ripping the Pats for years. It’s -all in- over there.
      Jackie Mac has kept her anti-Pats slant going over at ESPN.
      All because Shaughnessy didn’t get breakfast 17 years ago

      • city_dweller_38

        Objective #3 of a sports media hack: Gorge on all the free food you can.

  • DryHeave

    Dude, you just KICKED WILBUR’s ASS….. well done

  • city_dweller_38

    The beauty of a site like this is that insufferable sports media hacks will waddle over here to see what’s being said about them. Not unlike how TeeVee Nooze anchors seek out mirrors. Anyway, you can swing a baseball bat at Wilbur’s head here and be quite certain of hitting him. What sports media hacks want is a highway with no one on it. Poor them.

  • agramante

    Well, I will say this (and I’m not defending Wilbur. His column sucked): Jason Whitlock wrote in his column on athletes’ bad choices in role models that Hernandez threatened Welker. Whitlock got his start as a reporter so I’m convinced he wouldn’t just make something like that up. Not only is it a question of who his source(s) was (were)–who knows, maybe Welker, for an unrelated column–but it also begs questions of when, why, and how serious the threat was. Like Matt Light’s comment is crying out for more context (that it’s pretty clear he’s not going to give).

    The Patriots don’t owe us anything. They’re privately held. But it’s still a worthy topic to be curious about: how much did they know about this guy? I think it’s pretty safe to say that if they had any idea he was a murderer, they wouldn’t have re-signed him. And not even an NFL team can afford to tail all of its prospects, or all of its players. So how diligent was their due diligence? We might never know.

    • bsmfan

      How much did the Patriots know? I touched on this a little in a previous column but I think it’s worth addressing again because writers like Wilbur completely ignore some facts and realistic assumptions for the sake of a hitjob column.

      Fans and media have asked. Actually, the intelligent fans answered their own question by finding a column like this:

      http://on-msn.com/14dDVzF

      Alex Marvez, a senior NFL writer, addressed it after the Hernandez arrest. To Florio’s credit, he also addressed it responsibly.

      Lets go over some things we should stipulate as fact:
      – The “standard” for NFL discipline is much lower than a civil or criminal court (Big Ben gets 6 games for the rape incident, etc).
      – The NFL, even before Hernandez, clearly had an arrest problem this off-season. Sports fans knew of this but once Hernandez went down, the entire nation is now tuned in here.

      In Marvez’s article, he mentions that the NFL did look into all of this and found 0 culpability with the Patriots. Still, Wilbur implies that while there wasn’t some coverup, there was culpability.

      I think this is horrid speculation that, if anything, is irresponsible by a writer. Goodell would love to throw the book at someone because the NFL’s image already got hit with all the arrests and the Hernandez thing put it over the top. Moreover, if the Patriots had known about any of this, which Wilbur implies, how quickly would a DA file some type of criminal charge for obstruction? We can’t forget about the civil liability, no? How quickly would a lawyer who advertises at 3am about how good they are at milking personal injury lawsuits _LOVE_ to hit a billionaire like Kraft with a suit by one of the families involved?

      To the “toadie media” defense, if any of what I said above was the case, how fast would Florio or any of the other anti-Patriots/anti-BB/anti-Kraft cadre be cranking out blog entries every hour on how bad the Patriots be punished based on all/any above?

      And, I posted this on the previous entry, the media are supposed to be just as “tuned in” to the inner workings of a team and sometimes players. Not only did they miss Hernandez but if we believe that all the evidence that the DA has presented, let alone just 50% of it was true, why didn’t anyone in the media pick up on it? Lets be honest: this circumstantial evidence against Hernandez is almost comical with how sloppy he was. About the “only” thing he did right, if he is indeed guilty, was ditch the gun. Why wasn’t the media on to any of this? You can turn your eye to some indiscretions like a player partying (Seguin) but to crimes or, worse, murder?

      So far, I recall only Mike Reiss being honest by admitting that Hernandez fooled him.

    • Andy Dursin

      ” think it’s pretty safe to say that if they had any idea he was a murderer, they wouldn’t have re-signed him” — really? Wow, bold statement there! #hotsportztakes

      • agramante

        That was Wilbur’s implication, so yeah, I figured it was worth mentioning. It’s a truism, but not to the Globe writer, apparently.

  • PRIZER

    Not to defend Eric Wilbur, but you’re being incredibly self-righteous.

    Just a year ago, the Patriots gave Hernandez a huge contract but then, as he was about to be arrested, immediately got rid of him. After which, they have completely clammed up.

    Does that not at least hint at the possibility that they knew all along he was bad news and were just hoping he would stay clean (or clean enough) for the duration of the contract? Indeed, that the Ravens stuck by Ray Lewis through his travails while the Patriots immediately cut bait could also be interpreted in a negative light, don’t you think?

    That is, that while the Patriots may have been horrified by this news, that they perhaps weren’t altogether shocked by it?

    For a franchise that prides itself on being one of the best-run, most prestigious in the league to go to complete radio silence after tossing one of its best players overboard just as things were hitting the fan isn’t the tiniest bit curious?

    Look, I understand this isn’t Watergate, though it involves at least one lost life. I’m happy for you that “closure came when they cut him.” But some of us might actually like to hear a little more.

    Mr. Wilbur might have gone a bit over the top, but I think the real “embarrassment” here are the people who believe that the Patriots are somehow so virtuous and blameless that we needn’t expect them to explain anything more than they already have.

    • Andy Dursin

      And how many employers in the world would stand behind an employee convicted of murder and who, also at this point, may be implicated in another? This isn’t a DUI, it isn’t a drug issue — we’re talking cold blooded murder here. And as if what the Ravens did was right? My god man, let Hernandez fight his own battles. If he’s innocent, let him work his way back. It’s not the Patriots’ responsibility to have to back him through this — nor would most any companies in this nation stand behind someone convicted of these crimes.

      More over, you expect them to keep him ON THE PAYROLL as an employee during this time? You expect them to play through a season, with him still on the team (even if he’s not on the roster), and expect the players to answer questions about why he’s still there? It’s going to be be bad enough as it is. The situation would be even more dire if he was still associated with the organization.

      You expect them to say something when this investigation is still on-going and the trial is months away? You expect them to say something like “we knew about this the whole time!” when in fact something like that very statement would implicate them in a possible civil suit in the future?

      You’re as naive than the idiot who wrote the original article.

      • PRIZER

        Where does it say that I think the Patriots should have kept Hernandez on the payroll?

        My point is that the alacrity with which they cut him loose — before the charges even became public — leads me to believe that they weren’t completely caught off guard by this behavior. And therefore likely weren’t unaware of his past behavior both when they drafted him and when they signed him to a long-term contract.

        I understand that most employers would have acted similarly, and that most employers wouldn’t have to explain their actions.

        However, I also think that most employers wouldn’t have “hired” Hernandez in the first place, much less signed him up long-term.

        And THAT is what I’d like the Patriots to explain.

        Though I suppose the fact that explaining themselves might, as you say, “implicate them in a possible civil suit in the future,” may already be the makings of an explanation.

        • agramante

          And I don’t doubt that the Patriots knew through channels what the police had coming down the pike for Hernandez. They’d been advised of how serious the charges were and that the evidence was looking pretty damn strong. And they were already the most polarizing team in the league before this.

        • bsmfan

          What if all of this never happened and Hernandez continued to put up, say, an average of what he did in 2011? Most of these “Oh we took him off our board!!!” stuff would never come out. In fact, BB would have been celebrated for another “steal”.

          They took a chance on a guy as many do. Just because one or two teams came out and waived their fingers with a “told you so” doesn’t mean that a few others didn’t. Given what they knew then, I don’t think this selection of teams would be limited to the Al Davis Raiders and Bengals.

          I normally am all about the conspiracy stuff but I refuse to believe this for the large lists of things I said below. Mainly, that’s the civil/criminal liability side of when it comes to the law.

        • Winning_Again

          So you and the 31 other NFL teams had the inside beat that he was going to become a mass murderer? Darn, you’re good Columbo!

    • UnrulyNeighbor

      What should they say? Do you have any experience in business at all? Or in life? Nobody’s tossing words like virtuous around except the holier than thou types like yourself, Wilbur and the majority of the rest of the media. Who says the Patriots are virtuous?

      They’re a business that employed someone who is accused of a horrific crime, so they got rid of him. What do they need to explain? Why they had him on their team? Because he was a good player. Why they signed him to an extension? Because he was a good player and they made a decision to lock him up before free agency. Why didn’t they know he was going to be accused of a murder? Because they’re people, like everyone else in the world, and nobody has a crystal ball.

      Get off your high horse. Or jump off a bridge. Either way, take your virtue somewhere else. You’re a troll and a loser.

      • bsmfan

        I doubt we’ll get a press release stating this from the NCAA, any college conf or the suits on Park Avenue but I think Andy Staples (great CFB writer for SI) said it best:

        @Andy_Staples Can NFL and major college teams please stop pretending they’re in the People-Saving biz and not the Football Game-Winning biz?

  • DryHeave

    as far as “hearing more” from the Patriots on Hernandez. I’m sure Kraft will address the issue ( probably right around when training camp starts) Of course the media and some “fans” have their, “boxers in a bunch” because the Pats haven’t addressed it on THEIR time table (big shock there)………

    also, I don’t know what they are expecting to hear. I’m sure it’s going to be something along the lines of, “We didn’t see THIS coming”……to each his own, it’s over and done with. I’m more interested in seeing how the Pats move forward. To those who want to go back and play the “blame game”, knock yourself out.

  • bsmfan

    At least one writer at the Globe can address the situation responsibly. Ben Volin, in the Sunday Notes, talks all about the Hernandez stuff:

    http://b.globe.com/12OJikF (delete cookies per usual)