As former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez remains imprisoned for his alleged role in the Odin Lloyd murder, his public supporters have been few and far between. However, Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, current NFL stars and Hernandez’s teammates at the University of Florida, caused a stir by proudly wearing hats emblazoned with the slogan “Free Hernandez” in a widely publicized Twitter photo.
In the aftermath of the incident, football pundits and media critics alike called for the Pouncey brothers to issue a public apology for their unabashed support for Hernandez, who currently stands accused of first-degree murder. However, one of the brothers appears to have no plans of addressing the controversy.
Mike Pouncey, who currently plays center for the Miami Dolphins, chose not to issue an apology or directly address the Hernandez situation during a Sunday interview, according to Pro Football Talk. “I’m just here to focus on football,” Mike Pouncey told reporters. “It’s training camp right now, so we’re just here to focus on football.”
Reporters continued to press Pouncey to comment on his “Free Hernandez” hat and the ongoing Hernandez murder case, but the 23-year-old reportedly refused to discuss anything besides football, Pro Football Talk reports. On the other hand, his brother, Maurkice Pouncey, an All-Pro center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was quick to apologize for wearing the potentially offensive “Free Hernandez” hat. Last Monday, Maurkice took to Twitter to explain his ill-advised wardrobe choice.
“I fully recognize the seriousness of the situation involving my former teammate [Hernandez], Maurkice Pouncey wrote. “I regret that my actions appear to make light of that serious situation. I apologize to anyone who was offended by my actions.”
Hernandez is currently being held without bail while police investigate his alleged role in the murder of Lloyd, a semi-pro football player and known associate of the former Patriots tight end. Hours after his June 26 arrest, the Patriots announced that they had decided to release Hernandez.