Pittsburgh Steelers to Talk to Maurkice Pouncey about “Free Hernandez” Hat, but is He Guilty of Anything Except Bad Judgement?
By Kyle Curry on July 14, 2013
It’s a well-known fact that Maurkice Pouncey, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his twin brother Mike are good friends of ex-Patriots tight-end Aaron Hernandez. The three played college football together at the University of Florida and have been friends since.
Hernandez, of course, has been all over the news since being connected with the execution-style murder of Odin Lloyd. The Pouncey twins were connected to another incident involving Hernandez while the three were playing at Florida. According to reports the Pouncey’s were seen with Hernandez on the night of a double-shooting and all three were questioned about the incident.
The shooting happened Sept. 30, 2007. Two men were shot, one in the arm and the other in the head, they were able to get themselves to the hospital. As for the case it is still open and no one was ever charged for the shootings.
My hope was that nothing else would come from the Hernandez situation when it comes to the Pouncey twins, but they have brought the attention back to themselves. Below is a picture of Marukice and Mike wearing hats that are labeled “FREE HERNANDEZ.”
Now according to a report from ESPN’s John Clayton the Steelers will talk with Maurkice about his choice to wear the hat. My question, though, and I believe I am in the minority here, is what did the Pouncey twins do that was so wrong? Despite showing a lack of judgement.
If my best friend was arrested for murder I would support him. It would also be very hard for me to believe that anyone in my family or group of friends would be capable of something like that and I would stand behind them and look at the case in terms of “innocent until proven guilty.”
The issue is that our society prefers to look at these types of things in the view of guilty until proven innocent. Imagine what we will feel like if Hernandez is cleared of all charges and walks free. Our view of him will definitely have changed, but some people will have to put their foot in their mouths.
Now I’ll admit that Hernandez looks pretty bad based on the evidence that has been released to this point, but I still don’t know what happened that night. There’s a good chance he is guilty of at least being involved in the murder of Lloyd, but he could always walk free of all charges.
Just look at the Trayvon Martin case. Many people thought they new exactly how that case would play out and some were wrong and others were right.
That said, the Pouncey twins are guilty of bad judgement. Pro athletes and other celebrities are put under a microscope and wearing those hats in public probably wasn’t the best idea. That said I don’t know if I can condemn them for supporting their friend.
Of course, if they continue to support him if he is found guilty I think I would have a problem with that. However, for now I think I’ll be in the minority and give them the benefit of the doubt.
They have some maturing to do and need to realize that they are constantly under a microscope for their actions on and off the field. Outside of that, however, I don’t see much wrong with the fact that they are supporting their friend during the worst time of his, and his families lives.
Also, for those calling these two thugs: can we please stop with this? Tatoos, being friends with Hernandez and wearing those hats does not make these guys “thugs.” They showed some bad judgement by wearing those hats, but most of us have done stupid stuff in our lives; especially in our twenties and the Pouncey twins are only 23.
Problem is, this is only my opinion and everyone is free to have their own as well. The Pouncey brothers, as far as I’m concerned, are also free to their opinion about Hernandez, but that is neither here nor there. Also, just checking through Twitter it is clear that many are on the other side of the fence going as far as to ask for Pouncey to be cut:
I love the Steelers as an organization but on the other hand I genuinely do not like a number of our players personally. It just gets harder and harder to stay a football fan when you're having to root for guys that in the real world you would completely loathe.
I can guarantee that the players on this current Steelers team are no different than the players on ANY Steelers team from the past. Some great guys, some so-so guys, and some a-holes.
Originally Posted by The Man of Steel
In 2013, because of social media and the immediate news cycle, it's soooo much easier to know every single detail of everyone's lives (professional athletes included), that you get to "know" them, warts and all.
My point is, it's way too easy to glamorize the players and teams of the past as "great guys" when we had NO IDEA what they were like in their personal lives. Reporters didn't cover that stuff back then, and if they did, it was almost never printed, as it was "off the record."
And because of the social media these guys need to be more aware and even more "professional" than in the past. Any recurrence of a lack of judgement/good taste is something a team has to consider when considering offering Pouncey a mega-deal in the next 12-18 months.
Originally Posted by steelsnis
Originally Posted by feltdizz
I was not a big fan of his locker room promotion of a rapper after the loss to Denver. These pictures, assuming that they are authentic, show that his judgment is incredibly poor. He is very immature and shows no signs of growing up.
Throw in the fact that he has not demonstrated much in the way of leadership ability (for example, he cannot seem to motivate his college teammate, Gilbert, to stay in shape, and the Rainey debacle), I think there is a pretty good chance that he walks at the end of his rookie deal. He is not the type of person in whom you want to make a large investment with guaranteed money.
Pouncey is a good player but I question the guy's character. Maybe, he lacks poor judgement from a public/media persepctive such as his Tweets and these Hats.
Originally Posted by phillyesq
I'm pleased that he's been able to stay out of trouble away off the field and that is certainly a good thing. If he continues that positive trend, I think the Steelers will extend his contract. If he walks, then this is another HUGE draft debacle... It's not a draft debacle from a talent evaluation perspective but it's a debacle if your 1st round, pro bowl center leaves after his rookie contract. When you draft players that high, you don't want them to leave after their rookie contract regardless of whether it's due to on field performance, character, poor judgement, etc.
while "free hernandez" is a totally stupid phrase to have on your hat, i suspect the plan by the twins was simply to show support to a former teammate. if my friend did something stupid, yes, even being arrested for murder, i don't stop being his friend. If that was the intent, I get it, and actually respect the loyalty to a friend..
A jersey may have been a better idea... dunno
as we all learned this past weekend, regardless of what WE think and what the media has led you to believe, you're innocent until proven guilty...
I'm imagining the conversation Pouncey has with the front office when he shows up at Latrobe. He gets slammed for poor judgement, supporting someone who has been accused of killing in cold blood. "Don't do that stuff ever again ...".
Then he responds, "How is that different from people going on talk shows and participating in demonstrations to support Zimmerman when he was accused of murdering Trayvon Martin? If people respected by society can do that, why can't I do this?".
Not sure how I would answer that.
Didn't the Steelers draft Gilbert Grape based on Pouncy's recommendation? For all of the good things Pouncey brings to the team, he seems to have a dark cloud over his head. Would it be addition by subtraction by never drafting him? (ie. acquiring Rainey and Gilbert - and not losing other offensive players due to Gilbert tripping incidents) If so, I wonder what our team would look like today. In the meantime I wish he would just shut up so I could actually root for the guy...
Originally Posted by phillyesq