The relationship between former University of Florida teammates and friends Mike Pouncey and Aaron Hernandez has been one that has often made news. Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end, who was found guilty of murdering Odin Lloyd and was sentenced to life in prison, was found dead in his prison cell on Wednesday morning, having apparently hanged himself with a bed sheet from his cell window. Pouncey, the Miami Dolphins center, posted a message on Instagram shortly after finding out about the death of Hernandez.
The Instagram post reads, “To my friend my brother! Through thick and thin right or wrong we never left each other's side. Today my heart hurts as I got the worse news I could have imagined. It was just a day ago we shared our last convo. I will forever miss you and love you bro. we will meet again rest easy!”
Pouncey made news previously for wearing a “Free Hernandez” hat in 2013, shortly after Hernandez was arrested for the murder of Lloyd. Pouncey, who was attending his own birthday party along with his twin brother, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, was photographed in the hat, an image that quickly circulated on the web. Maurkice eventually apologized for wearing the hat, but Mike never did, with some indication that the Dolphins told him to just ignore it and let the news cycle move on.
The post aligns with Pouncey’s attitude throughout all of the Hernandez drama as he stood by his friend, no matter what other people said or thought. He posted one last message about Hernandez, again standing by his friend.
Hernandez was deeply troubled, and there are people who will find empathy or sympathy in that while also not condoning murder. It is tough to try to reconcile someone showing those type of emotions towards a person who so could so easily murder another. Pouncey will likely be largely criticized for his show of support, but for him, his lifelong friend committed suicide. At the root of this is the death of a murderer, but also a friend and father, which makes this a tragic story all around.