The attorney representing former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez as he stands trial for murder has been forced to apologize today after comments deemed inappropriate by the judge in charge of proceedings.
The reprimand was issued after James Sultan, Hernandez's lawyer, attempted some humor - referencing the Patriots' recent deflategate scandal when questioning a state police trooper over issues of tire.
As reported by ESPN Supreme Court Judge Susan Garsh called up Sultan on the issue, telling him that jokes were not appropriate for the situation. He duly apologized for the mis-step.
The 'joke' that caused the issue came when Hernandez's attorney asked the State trooper whether he was familiar with "training in football deflation devices."
While the issue of deflated footballs may be near the top of the agenda in the NFL right now after the allegations levelled at New England in the aftermath of their AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts, there seems little to no need to bring up such trivial matters in a bid for cheap laughs in what is, ultimately, an incredibly serious situation.
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Hernandez, once voted the 77th best player in the NFL in 2013, is standing trial having been accused of killing Odin Lloyd, the man dating the sister of his then fiancee.
The trial began on January 29th and, following the apology from the former football star's lawyer, jurors were taken to visit the home of the alleged victim. The prosecution has claimed that Lloyd entered a car driven by Hernandez on the same street on the date she was killed.
Aaron Hernandez faces life in prison should he be convicted of the murder.
He was also charged last year in another murder case involving the death of two men in Boston in 2012. That case is yet to reach trial.
The trial juxtaposes sharply with the recent success of the New England Patriots. Hernandez's former employers were crowned Super Bowl champions just three days after proceedings began with current tight end star Rob Gronkowski amongst the touchdown scorers on the night.