FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (WGGB) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft made his first public comments on his former tight end’s murder charge Monday.
Robert Kraft told ESPNBoston.com, ”If this stuff is true, then I’ve been duped and our whole organization has been duped.”
Kraft, who believed Aaron Hernandez was a “most likable young man,” said the Patriots “made a mistake and are facing it head on,” which includes a process in which they will “renew efforts and look at procedures,” according to ESPNBoston.com’s account of a 40-minute session in his office.
The owner went on to say that the team will analyze their process in selecting and vetting players and staff members.
The team did not know Hernandez would be facing a murder charge, in connection to the shooting death of 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, when they released him. Kraft was in Europe when he first heard of the charges and returned for his first day of business Monday.
He also addressed any previous issues the team had with Hernandez, including a letter Aaron had written to the Patriots before the draft in 2010. Hernandez admitted to marijuana use at the time and agreed to submit to regular drug testing. However, neither Kraft nor head coach Bill Belichick encountered any problems with the tight end in training camp.
Kraft expressed his condolences to the Lloyd family, adding his disappointment that someone involved with the Patriots organization may have done this.