This is one of my rare (I think) rants.
In case you didn’t know, New England Patriot football star Arron Hernandez was recently arrested for murdering an acquaintance.
On sports radio and in other media outlets around the Boston area, there is steady stream of analysis about what happened and could it have been prevented, or at least did the Patriots knowingly, or should they have known that they hired a thug in order to better their football team.
In my mind, this is an open and shut case – anyone in a major business doing any hiring, besides doing interviews, will be required to do background checks, before the hiring takes place. This should include reference checks with credible individuals familiar with the candidate. I’m sure that in the top ranks of pro and college football, the Patriots, with a little do-diligence could have determined that Arron was not a good person. This should have been enough to steer them away from this thug. In fact, other teams did determine this, and passed on him. That the Patriots have a track record of bringing in problem players such as Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Albert Haynesworth, should only go to show that their hiring practices are very suspect.
Winning is important in the NFL, so important that hiring decisions are routinely made that would never happen in a “normal” business. Think about it, if you were a Patriot employee, would you want to be around such characters as Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Albert Haynesworth and Arron Hernandez on a daily basis. The Patriots are not the only ones at fault here, many, if not most teams have hired thugs over the years. One example, being recent Superbowl MVP, Ray Lewis. I personally think the NFL should smarten up and try to hire only people with outstanding character. Sure, they might miss out on some talent, and make some mistakes along the way, but if everyone is doing their best to weed out the bad apples, then it shouldn’t be a big issue. Anyway, if you were running a unbelievably successful business, would you hire a thug, if he potentially might earn you a few more dollars. Or would you do the right thing for the community and your employees, who have to work with this person on a daily basis and stay away?
I’m all for giving people the chances that they merit, but there is no excuse for a top notch organization knowingly and repeatedly hiring bad apples and then acting surprised when something goes wrong.