Union presses Patriots to give Hernandez $82K in bonuses
(CNN) — The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance against the New England Patriots to collect $82,000 in offseason workout bonuses that it says is owed to former player Aaron Hernandez, whom the Patriots dismissed after he was charged with murder this summer.
“On behalf of all players, it is our responsibility to protect the rights in the collective bargaining agreement,” the players union said in a statement released Tuesday. “We are not tone-deaf to what the allegations are in this case, but for the benefit of all players, there are important precedents here we must protect.”
Hernandez, 23, was arrested in June on suspicion of killing Odin Lloyd, 27, in Massachusetts.
The Patriots — who gave the tight end a five-year, $40 million contract last year — released him from the team after his arrest. A grand jury indicted him on a first-degree murder charge and five weapons charges this month.
In the last year, the NFLPA has filed about 70 cases seeking some type of payment for players, union spokesman Carl Francis said Tuesday.
“So, while the other facts involved in the situation are rare, the fact that a club did not pay a player and we filed a grievance about it is routine,” Francis said. “We are obligated to defend the clauses in a player’s contract and (collective bargaining agreement) regardless of what the player did (or) didn’t do.
“We know the allegations and his incarceration is serious stuff, but what happens to his grievance can impact other players.”
Authorities alleged Hernandez and two other men picked Lloyd up on the morning of June 17. Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body was found later that day in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home.
Lloyd, a semipro football player, had dated the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
CNN’s David Close and Susan Candiotti and HLNtv.com’s Graham Winch contributed to this report.