Brian Billick, who was Baltimore Ravens coach when linebacker Ray Lewis was charged with murder in regards to two deaths outside of an Atlanta nightclub in 2000, said on NFL Network on Wednesday that the Aaron Hernandez arrest for a team "was the worst of all scenarios."
It's the worst scenario for the entire league, too.
The NFL Network's programming on Wednesday morning was a constant loop of one of its most talented players from one of its best teams (before he was released, anyway) answering his door to police on Wednesday morning and being led in handcuffs to a police car. Hernandez has been a part of the investigation into the death of Odin Lloyd, an associate of Lloyd who was found dead near Hernandez's house on June 17.
The NFL gave this statement to its website:
"The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling. The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."
The league's statement, and the inclusion of Hernandez having "his day in court," was a little more awkward because the Patriots released Hernandez less than two hours after he was arrested, before he was arraigned in court.
When Lewis was being investigated was charged in 2000, the Ravens stuck by Lewis. Lewis eventually pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice as the murder charges were dropped and ended up playing with the Ravens through last season, when he and the team won their second Super Bowl. The Patriots didn't wait for Hernandez to go through the entire legal process before releasing him. On NFL Network, Billick discussed the different reactions to the situations.
"Our support of Ray Lewis stemmed primarily from our faith in Ray Lewis as a person," Billick said.
Billick said that the Ravens didn't know all the facts on Lewis but "we had to go on kind of a leap in faith" in supporting their star linebacker. The Patriots dealt with this situation much differently.
"This clearly makes this a much easier way for the organization to move past this and not be a distraction," Billick said.
Billick also had a message for the police, who arrested Hernandez at his house and walked him in handcuffs to a police car, fully aware media had been staking out his house for days. He talked about how the initial speculation of Lewis' involvement became what he called a "face-saving" obstruction of justice charge.
"As I'm watching the scenes unfold here it would be well advised for the local authorities to keep in mind what has gone on before," Billick said on NFL Network. "This is all well and good to have this kind of sideshow they're presenting now, but if it doesn't go their way, if there isn't a conviction, this is going to come back and embarrass the local authorities. But they chose to deal with it this way."
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