Three photos surfaced on the Internet on Sunday allegedly showing Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and his twin brother Maurkice, who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, wearing caps that say “Free Hernandez” in apparent support of former Florida Gators teammate Aaron Hernandez, who has been charged with murder.
The photos allegedly were taken at the brothers’ birthday party Saturday night at the Cameo theater on Miami Beach. Their 24th birthday is July 24, during training camp.
It is not known if the Pounceys actually did wear such caps or if the photos were altered in any way.
“We only recently heard about it,” Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene said Sunday night, declining further comment.
Both clubs plan to discuss the matter with their respective players, according to ESPN.com, which did not identify its source.
One photo, posted under the Twitter handle “canesbarber,” appears to show the brothers trying on the caps. A Twitter user going by the name “Jasmine” posted a photo that allegedly shows the brothers wearing the caps and hamming it up for the camera with an unidentified man. Jasmine posted a third photo that apparently shows one of the brothers wearing the cap backward.
Although Mike Pouncey made no mention of the photos on his Twitter page, Maurkice tweeted confirmation of the party, hosted by Brandon Flowers of the Kansas City Chiefs and boasting appearances by numerous NFL players. Flowers was a standout player for Atlantic.
Hernandez was waived by the Patriots immediately upon his arrest in connection with last month’s shooting death of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez remains in prison awaiting trial.
Although not implicated, the Pounceys had been with Hernandez at The Venue nightclub in Gainesville in 2007 when a shooting left two men wounded. ABC reported that Massachusetts authorities investigating the Lloyd murder contacted Gainesville police to determine if Hernandez had a role in that shooting.
“Canesbarber,” who had 3,691 followers as of Sunday night, does not post his given name on his Twitter page. He tweeted later Sunday, “We all have the right to our own opinion he’s my friend and ill stick by his side through thick and thin…,” without mentioning Hernandez by name. Several websites cited his Twitter page as a source of the first photo, but it was not posted on his page Sunday night.
“Jasmine,” who also does not give her actual name, has 170 followers. Links to her two photos did remain posted Sunday evening.
As mini-camp concluded earlier this summer, Mike Pouncey, the father of a 5-year-old daughter, said he was due to become the father of a boy today.