Many of the most interesting details to come out of Rolling Stone's big story on Aaron Hernandez concern the Patriots' handling of Hernandez in the months leading up to his arrest. Specifically, the story alleges that a drug-addled Hernandez told head coach Bill Belichick that he thought his life was in danger, and that Belichick responded by telling Hernandez to just lay low and rent himself a safe house. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft is now calling bullshit on that particular detail.
Here's what Kraft had to say on the 98.5 The Sports Hub radio show on Thursday:
It said that Aaron had told Bill that he feared for his life and that his life was in danger and Bill's response was to tell him to get a safe house and lie low. I actually saw Bill—I think I would've known if that had ever happened—but I saw Bill today and I said, 'Bill, did Aaron ever tell you his life was in danger?' And he's like, "Absolutely not."
If a player had told Bill his life was in danger, Bill would say we're calling [team director of security] Mark Briggs, we're calling the authorities.
Kraft then went on to dispute claims the article made about the Patriots' awareness of Hernandez's off-field troubles, and denied that the team was on the brink of cutting him. Kraft also questioned the validity of Rolling Stone's sources, pointing out that none of them were named by the magazine.
Kraft was simply trying to reinforce earlier statements made by team owner Bob Kraft, in which he claimed that the Patriots were "duped" by Hernandez and had no idea that he was wrapped up in a criminal lifestyle.
We'll probably never know what was really said between Belichick and Hernandez, or what the Patriots knew and didn't know about their tight end—it's the word of the Patriots against unnamed "longtime family friends" of Hernandez at this point, and it will likely stay that way—and that's just fine as far as the Patriots are concerned. Any details that make the organization look bad can be easily denied, and the team can continue to distance itself from Hernandez.