Does Bill Belichick bear some responsibility for Aaron Hernandez’s tragic death?
That’s what Hernandez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, appears to suggest in his forthcoming book, “Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez,” which publishes Tuesday and details the events leading up to the former New England Patriots tight end’s suicide on the night of April 18, 2017.
In his book, Baez confirmed an earlier revelation that Hernandez came to Belichick in February 2013 asking the Patriots head coach to trade him — preferably to a team on the West Coast — because he feared for his safety in New England. According to Baez, Belichick shot down Hernandez’s request.
“Aaron told me the coach was incensed by the idea, and reminded Aaron that the team had made a significant investment in him,” Baez wrote in excerpt obtained by The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, adding that Belichick told Hernandez to instead contact the Patriots’ head of security and find a new place to live.
In a phone interview with Volin on Friday, Baez suggested Belichick and the Patriots should have listened more intently to Hernandez’s plea.
“Had they taken it seriously, how would things have worked out?” Baez told Volin.
Four months after that meeting with Belichick, Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd. The Patriots released Hernandez before those charges officially were announced, which Baez believes was hypocritical on the part of Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft.
“You’re innocent until proven guilty in this country, but not in that organization,” Baez told Volin.
Hernandez eventually was proven guilty in 2015 and spent the next two years in prison before hanging himself in his cell in April 2017. Before his death, the ex-tight end told Baez that at least one member of the Patriots expressed serious concern for him.
“(Quarterback Tom) Brady always wanted to know where I was at all times,” Hernandez told Baez, as conveyed in Baez’s book. “He would always tell me, ‘Stop hanging with those guys, get your (expletive) together.’ One of the things I regret is not listening to him more.”
Baez also addressed rumors of Hernandez’s homosexuality and even questioned whether his client’s death was a suicide in the book, which you can read more excerpts from in Volin’s story.
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