Pittsburgh Steelers starting center Maurkice Pouncey took to Twitter to stem the tide of criticism stemming from Pouncey’s decision to don a “Free Hernandez” hat at a private party, “Hernandez” referring to former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez who was a collegiate teammate of Pouency’s.
The full text of the tweet provided via “Tweet Longer” reads like this: “I fully recognize the seriousness of the situation involving my former teammate, and I regret that my actions appear to make light of that serious situation. I apologize to anyone who was offended by my actions.”
The interesting thing is that there was only one Pouncey Twitter apology. As of 7:25 eastern time on July 16, 2013 Mike Pouncey, Maurkice’s twin brother, has neither apologized nor mentioned the issue on his Twitter feed, although the photo in question showed both Pouncey twins sporting “Free Hernandez” hats.
Steelers Influence at Work?
Offically the Pittsburgh Steelers declined comment on the matter. However, ESPN’s John Clayton reported that the sources inside Steelers offices indicated that they would “talk to Pouncey” about the incident.
Regardless of whether this move was prompted by a phone call with Mike Tomlin and/or Kevin Colbert, Pouncey made a wise move to distance himself from the event.
Even if the hat was put on in jest at a private party, the image puts Pouncey on the wrong side of one of the NFL’s most unsavory stories in a generation.
Already commentators such as Behind the Steel Curtain’s PaVASteel were beginning to call Pouncey’s reputation into question, reminding readers that Pouncey last vouched for the character of former teammate Chris Rainey, only to see the Steelers pick Rainey in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft and then end up cutting him after a promising rookie year.