NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged Thursday that the murder charges against Aaron Hernandez do not reflect well on the league.
"It's a black eye," Goodell told NFL Network. "You never want to see your players involved with anything off the field or criminal in any nature, and this is deeply troubling ... to see this kind of behavior. It is something we are not proud of."
Hernandez faces first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the June shooting death of 27-year-old acquaintance Odin Lloyd, whose body less than a mile from Hernandez's North Attleborough, Mass. home. The Patriots released the tight end after his arrest.
"The Patriots obviously reacted very quickly and decisively, and now it's up to Aaron ... and he's going to be facing the criminal process," Goodell said. "In the meantime, what we have to do is do everything we can to help our young people make the right decisions and evaluate our people when they're coming into the league. And make sure to do everything to avoid these kind of situations."
Hernandez is in the Bristol County House of Corrections in Massachusetts awaiting the next steps in the legal process.
The 23-year-old Hernandez joined the Patriots after being drafted out of the University of Florida in 2010 and had received a five-year contract extension last year.