Apr. 19, 2017
What a Waste: Aaron Hernandez found dead in his Jail Cell
This story could arguably be called "An American Tragedy"....
It's about a poor kid from the wrong side of Bristol, Connecticut who realized he had some special athletic ability and tried to utilize it only to fall back in with the wrong crowd, commit a horrible crime and ultimately take his own life.
Former University of Florida and New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez was found dead in a Massachusetts prison cell early Wednesday morning, bringing to a close one of the most rapid rises and falls of a professional athlete any of us will likely ever see.
There were rumblings of trouble for Hernandez early in his life that many trace back to the death of his father Dennis in 2007. Blessed with tremendous athletic ability, Hernandez was the #1 Tight End recruit in the U.S in 2007. He originally committed to play football nearby at UConn, but eventually switched his commitment and landed in Gainesville, Florida to play football for then Coach Urban Meyer.
The trouble began in Gainesville. Hernandez became involved in a bar fight as a Freshman, punching a restaurant employee who had escorted him out of the building while the employee walked away.
He was originally charged with "Felony Assault" yet somehow--those charges were dropped after an "Out of Court" settlement and deferred prosecution.
A few months later a mysterious "shots fired" incident occurred at a stoplight near downtown Gainesville. Three people in a car were shot at with one hit and injured. The victims description of the shooter was almost an exact description of Hernandez. But...no "Shooter" was ever found and despite one victims serious injuries, police stopped investigating.
Hernandez would go on to be an All American among other honors as a football player and eventually would be drafted by his almost "Home Town" team, the Patriots in 2010. He would team up with another freakish athlete at Tight End--Rob Gronkowski to become one of the most dangerous receiving tandems in the NFL.
In late 2012, after yet another season with monster statistics, Hernandez would receive a huge contract extension as a show of support by the Patriots. Shortly thereafter, the Patriots would lose in the AFC Championship game to the Baltimore Ravens.
It would be the last time Aaron Hernandez would set foot on a football field.
In the offseason, Hernandez's name came up in connection with the execution style murder of a former friend---Odin Lloyd. Lloyd was found about a mile from Hernandez's home dead---shot in the back and chest. It didn't take long for the All-Pro to surface as the primary suspect.
Six days after the shooting---Massachusetts State Police arrested Hernandez and charged him with Lloyd's death. The Patriots did not wait for those charges---cutting all ties with him before the First Degree Murder Charges were even released.
Hernandez would eventually be convicted of those charges and sentenced to life in prison.
His name resurfaced in relation to a 2012 Double Homicde and he would eventually be charged in it. Just a couple days ago--he was found "Not Guilty" in that case.
Which leads us to today: Yes, you can easily say--he got what was coming to him...and you would not be wrong. But it truly is a horrible story. To see someone with so much ability and promise just throw his life away is depressing. But it is also a classic example of what happens when young people taste success early and they aren't prepared for it.
So many of today's athletes don't understand how to handle the success. And in this case---the system certainly did not help. There were warning flags. The incidents in Gainesville should have set off multiple alarms--yet they didn't. Could Urban Meyer have changed this young man's life by stepping in earlier? Maybe. But maybe it wouldn't have mattered.
We are quite sure this will end up as a book and/or movie. It's just really sad that a horrible story like this is going to end up in lights instead of being looked at as what it is---A classic example of what an athlete should never be.....