While Aaron Hernandez sits in jail on charges of first-degree murder, the NFL Players Association is filing a grievance on his behalf in an attempt to force the New England Patriots to pay the former tight end $82,000 in offseason workout bonuses.
The NFLPA released a statement Monday explaining that the grievance was filed to ensure the league isn't able to withhold money from other players in the future.
"On behalf of all players, it is our responsibility to protect the rights in the collective bargaining agreement. We are not tone-deaf to what the allegations are in this case, but for the benefit of all players, there are important precedents here we must protect," the NFLPA said in the statement sent to USA TODAY.
The Patriots cut Hernandez from the team back on June 26, the same day he was arrested. Over the summer, Hernandez had signed a $40 million contract extension, which included standard bonuses for offseason workouts.
Since Hernandez attended offseason activities with the Patriots from April to June while recovering from shoulder surgery, the NFLPA says he earned that $82,000 in bonus money he has yet to receive.
So far Hernandez has been paid $9.5 million of the $12.5 million his new contract guaranteed.
Three months before Odin Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s home, the team voided future guarantees through $1.137 million of his $2.5 million salary for 2013, which became guaranteed on March 17.
Along with this pay, in March of 2014 the Patriots will owe Hernandez $3.25 million, the final installment of the signing bonus for his five-year contract extension, which his reps could argue the ex-player earned.
On Sept. 6, Hernandez will be arraigned for murdering his friend 27-year-old Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend.
Facing a possible life in prison, last Thursday the grand jury indicted Hernandez on first-degree murder and weapons charges.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty in June, and he is being held without bail at a county jail. His lawyers say the case against him is circumstantial and they're confident he will be able to clear his name.