Aaron Hernandez told Extra co-host Maria Menounos that he was trying to be a role model.
The televised interview took place in April at The Grove in West Hollywood when the former New England Patriots tight end was in Los Angeles working out with quarterback Tom Brady.
Hernandez has been charged with murder and firearms violations in connection with the death of his friend Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player whose body was found in an industrial park near the former NFL star’s home in North Attleboro Massachusetts on June 17. Video evidence showed that Hernandez and Lloyd were together hours before the murder. He is currently being held without bail. Hernandez is also reportedly under a separate criminal investigation for a 2012 double drive-by homicide in Boston last year. The ex-Pats star is also being sued in civil court for personal injuries for allegedly shooting a man in Florida after they argued in a Miami strip club.
The Patriots released Hernandez on Wednesday. In a statement, the team said “A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
At the time of Extra appearance (when none of the alleged criminal activity had of course yet surfaced) about two months ago, Menounos asked Hernandez what he does to give back to the community given his popularity. The football star responded that “I just try to be a role model. And when I see Hispanics who look up to me, I try to lead them in the right direction and hopefully it gives a lot of Hispanics out there a drive to be able to be successful because there’s not that many Hispanics in the NFL and it’s just an honor to be one.”