DAVIE, Fla. (Palm Beach Post) — Even though he’s considered a material witness and has not been charged with a crime, Dolphins center Mike Pouncey faces a trying road because of his association with Aaron Hernandez, including a possible order to turn over documents such as e-mails and bank records, SI.com reported Monday.
Pouncey, a teammate of Hernandez’s at the University of Florida, was served with a subpoena following the Dolphins’ 27-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.
Pouncey practiced with the Dolphins at Nova Southeastern University on Monday evening. As players walked off the field, Pouncey was seen talking with Harvey Greene, senior vice president of media relations, and Dawn Aponte, executive vice president of football administration. Pouncey then entered the locker room, but by the time reporters were allowed in, he was gone.
Pouncey’s agent, Joel Segal, did not return a message from The Post.
Earlier, coach Joe Philbin dismissed most of the eight questions he faced pertaining to Pouncey.
“We are obviously aware of the reports regarding Mike,” Philbin said. “Consistent with my responses to non-football-related matters, I have nothing further to say.”
Philbin refused to say if he has discussed the issue with Pouncey or if he expects Pouncey to miss playing time. Asked if his non-answers could be construed as a lack of support for Pouncey, Philbin bristled at the reporter.
“I respect your question,” Philbin said. “But I’m not sure you are in a position to tell me what my role is on this football team.”
Authorities are investigating a potential interstate gun ring in Florida, Massachusetts and New York involving Hernandez, who is jailed on murder charges, SI.com reported. The site said Pouncey could face charges if evidence of wrongdoing surfaces, but it would require a minimum of 12 of 23 grand jurors to indict him.
Lawyer Michael McCann, founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute in New Hampshire, wrote on SI.com that Pouncey can comply with the subpoena, object or ignore it.
Pouncey could testify but invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid incriminating himself. It’s also possible prosecutors could grant him immunity, which would eliminate the possibility of invoking the Fifth Amendment and force him to answer questions.
Pouncey’s attorney also could try to get the subpoena thrown out, but that strategy often is a long shot.
If Pouncey were to ignore the subpoena, he could be held in contempt of court, which could draw scrutiny from the NFL under its personal-conduct policy.
Pouncey and his twin brother, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice, were criticized during the pre-season after a photograph surfaced of them wearing “Free Hernandez” caps. Maurkice issued an apology but said the Dolphins wouldn’t allow his brother to do likewise.
The Pounceys’ legal issues may be just beginning. Subpoenas are valid only in the state in which they’re issued, which is why authorities waited until Pouncey was in Massachusetts to serve him. Next Sunday, the Patriots play host to the Steelers, giving investigators a chance to also serve Maurkice.