The NFL is racking up arrests this week, with two players at the center of high-profile murder cases.
A former high school football star who was signed by the Cleveland Browns last month was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted murder for punching a man outside a bar in Passaic, N.J., NorthJersey.com reported.
Ausar Walcott, 23, allegedly punched the victim in the head outside The Palace Gentlemen’s Club on Main Avenue around 3 a.m. Sunday, Detective Andrew White of the Passaic police reports.
The victim was rushed to the hospital by friends where he remains in critical condition.
He was arrested Tuesday morning after turning himself in to police. Walcott was charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault, and third degree endangering an injured victim, White said.
The Browns posted on their website Wednesday that they have released the rookie linebacker, who they had signed as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia last month.
The week got worse for the NFL when New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested Wednesday morning, after the dead body of an acquaintance was found in an industrial park near his house.
The Patriots fired Hernandez two hours after his arrest, first announcing the transaction on their Twitter account and eventually formalizing it in an official statement.
“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss,” the Patriots’ statement said. “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.”
The NFL also released a statement Wednesday in response to Hernandez’s arrest.
“The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling,” the league’s statement said. “The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd’s family and friends.”
It’s certainly been a rough week for the league, and its only Wednesday.