Over the weekend, Mike Pouncey of the Miami Dolphins and his twin brother, Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers, celebrated their birthday. During the party, the two brothers wore hats that read "Free Hernandez," supporting their former Florida Gators teammate Aaron Hernandez.
Of course, pictures of the two immediately surfaced:
(In the Adam Beasley tweet, that's Mike along with the guy whose Instagram account it was, not both Pounceys.)
I received a couple of emails asking me when I was going to post this story, or why I had not yet. I did hold off on writing it, because I wanted more details. When it first came out, literally all that came out was the first picture above. That was not enough for me to feel that writing a report was the right thing to do.
After a day or so of seeing all the reports coming out, there still is not a lot of detail, but I felt I should put my two cents into the story.
So, here are my thoughts:
1. Hernandez is, I assume, a friend of the two brothers. They were all teammates together at Florida, and it's hard sometimes, no matter how dumb a thing your friend has (allegedly) done, to cut ties with that friend.
2. Looking at those pictures, the two brothers appear to be inebriated. Before we get into the "Why are these millionaires out drinking in a club like idiots" debate, which has popped up on lots of other sites over the weekend, let's remember that, other than a few pictures wearing stupid hats, nothing else happened. They celebrated their birthdays without anyone being arrested, no DUIs, and no police involvement.
3. If they are drunk, is it not possible that someone simply handed them the hats, and said, "Take a picture with me!" I know I have done things that, at the time seemed hilarious because I was impaired, but looking back the next day, I regretted. Without context, we don't know that the brothers wore the hats all night in support of their friend, or if they wore it for five minutes to have some pictures taken. (I think the second picture above kind of supports that possibility, since someone else is now wearing the hat Maurkice was wearing.)
4. No matter what the reasoning behind the pictures, it was not the smartest move they could have made. Especially knowing they were going to have the pictures taken. They need to be smarter than that. However, the alcohol could have lowered their inhibitions, and led to all of this.
Reports this morning say the Steelers and Dolphins will each talk to their respective brother, likely telling them that, while they understand Hernandez is their friend, doing things like this is unacceptable. And, I agree with that sentiment.
Neither team has made a statement about the situation, other than saying they know about it and don't have any comment.
I just don't agree with frying the brothers for having a party to celebrate their birthday. I don't agree with frying the brothers for responsibly drinking alcohol. And, I don't agree with people (on other sites) who have described the brothers as "dumb," "thugs," "gang members," etc. for simply wearing a hat.
We don't know all of the details, and we probably never will. Should they have worn the hats? No. But, are they the worst people on the face of the planet for wearing the hats? No.