Although this is all just speculation on the part of two well-respected NFL writers, it is well-educated speculation on New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. First, let’s look at an article published on FOX Sports by Alex Marvez about a possible suspension for Aaron Hernandez, even if he isn’t actually convicted of being a part of Odin Lloyd’s murder.
According to Marvez, Roger Goodell still has the authority to suspend Hernandez, even if he was not convicted of any wrongdoing. Wait, what the heck? Yeah, you heard that right. Marvez brings up the Ben Roethlisberger situation when Roethlisberger was suspended for six games after being accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old female. Although Roethlisberger was not convicted of anything, the NFL still suspended him for tainting the league’s image.
Goodell is expected to meet with Aaron Hernandez at some point, but I don’t think it is fair for Goodell to suspend Hernandez before we know the whole story. If he is found innocent, then he shouldn’t be suspended for “ruining the league’s image” or whatever. But if he is guilty, let’s just say that the suspension is probably the last thing on his mind. So, yeah, this possible suspension thing is not much concern here.
What is of concern to the New England Patriots is getting out of paying Aaron Hernandez if he is guilty and ends up going to prison for a long time. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport writes that the clauses “failure to perform” and “failure to practice” clauses common with most NFL contracts that would make a contract like Hernandez’s void are not present in Hernandez’s deal, which means that the Patriots might not be off the hook for Hernandez’s 2013 and 2014 base salaries.
Take these two opinions as they will, but I believe that the Patriots will be able to get out of paying Hernandez if he is convicted of murder. In all honesty, I’m much more worried about the salary than Hernandez being suspended, unless if Goodell actually would want to suspend someone who wasn’t convicted (if that ends up being the case).