Aaron Hernandez Will Be Referred to Substance Abuse Program For Violating NFL Substance Abuse Policy


COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL notified former New England Patriots tight end AARON HERNANDEZ today that he will be referred to the league’s Substance Abuse Program for violation of the league’s Substance Abuse Policy following his 2013 arrest.

On June 26, 2013, Hernandez was arrested in Bristol by Connecticut state police. On, January 29, 2015, the League Office learned that those police discovered Hernandez’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) on an unlit marijuana cigarette at the scene of the crime. Pursuant to the league’s revised substance abuse policy of September 2014, evidence of a first marijuana-related violation will result in referral to the league’s Substance Abuse Program.

Following this announcement, Goodell met with Hernandez and representatives from the NFL Player’s Association. The Commissioner determined, as he advised Hernandez and those representatives, that future violations may result in a two-game fine, a four-game fine, a four-game suspension, a 10-game suspension, and a one-year banishment.

In a letter to Hernandez, Commissioner Goodell stated:

“As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to substance abuse.

“You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the Substance Abuse Program I identified during our meeting. As you noted, this additional assistance might be of significant benefit to you, and it should become a part of your practice as appropriate.

“I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy lifestyle and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations.”

Hernandez is currently a free agent, following his release by the New England Patriots on June 26, 2013.

Hernandez may participate in all aspects of training camp and preseason games.

Hernandez may appeal this decision within three days.

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