Most Pittsburgh and sports fans have probably seen the picture of Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and his brother, Miami Dolphins center Mike, with hats on that say "Free Hernandez". The hats are of course referring to the brothers' former teammate Aaron Hernandez, who was arrested and charged with murder.
It has set off a PR storm, and many are calling the Pounceys insensitive, among other things. Maurkice has since apologized for the picture and for offending anyone. The question is, should he and his brother apologize?
The picture makes wearing the hats look worse. It's as if they are showing off the hats and think its' cool and funny. I think they are just making goofy poses with a fan or friend and are not trying to draw attention to their hats.
Because Hernandez has not even been tried, let alone found guilty, I have no problem with his friends, family and former teammates supporting him. If that is what the Pounceys are doing here, I don't think they have anything to apologize about. They have every right to speak their minds, whether it is with words or hats.
At the same time, I understand if people think they are being insensitive to the victim's family. When one uses says to "free" someone, it usually has the connotation that the person is unjustly imprisoned. It seems like there is a lot of evidence pointing at Hernandez and I don't think taking him into custody is motivated by race, religion or any other reason other than the police and prosecutors believe that Hernandez committed the murder.
So using the term "Free Hernandez" is probably the wrong way to go toward showing support for the man, but there is nothing wrong with supporting him as long as he has not been found guilty.