The New England Patriots will allow fans who purchased an Aaron Hernandez jersey at Patriots ProShop (at Gillette Stadium) or online through the ProShop to exchange them for free. The exchanges must be made in person at the Patriots ProShop on the weekend of July 6-7, no receipt is necessary as long as it is an officially licensed Hernandez jersey, but exchanges will only be made for like items of equal value.
”We know that children love wearing their Patriots jerseys but may not understand why parents don’t want them wearing their Hernandez jerseys anymore,” team spokesman Stacey James said in a statement. “We hope this opportunity to exchange those jerseys at the Patriots ProShop will be well received by parents.”
Meanwhile, a report from the Boston Globe citing a high ranking Patriots official says that the team was expecting an obstruction of justice charge, not murder, when it released Aaron Hernandez shortly after he was arrested on Wednesday. According to the source, confirming earlier reports, the team was prepared to release Hernandez if he was arrested for any reason related to the murder of Odin Lloyd.
“We had no inside knowledge,” the source said. “Did it matter to us? No. We were not going to have somebody on the team that’s close to a murder.”
NFLPA records also show that the team has voided the remaining $5.91 million of guaranteed money. Aaron Hernandez had collected $10 million of a seven year, $39.768 million contract extension he signed in August of 2012. According to the source, the Patriots would have been better positioned to recoup cash and cap space if it waited for a league suspension, but they were not confident that would happen when they released Hernandez before the charges were announced.