The Unraveling of Aaron Hernandez
The trial and Aaron Hernadez Downfall
So last night, I watched what I am sure a lot of football fans watched, and that was the documentary: Killer Inside: The mind of Aaron Hernandez. There were a lot of things that went into this documentary as it went through his childhood, his high school years, his relationship with his father, his years at the University of Florida, his tenure with the New England Patriots, and ultimately his demise and life in prison. Now, this is a miniseries based on something that has already happened so I don’t think the warning for spoilers pertains here but just to cover my ass: WARNING SPOILERS WILL BE IN THIS POST!!! So there you go, you have been warned, if you don’t want the documentary to spoiled, if that is even possible, stop reading this, go watch it, and then come back.
Now quite honestly, I am not sure where, to begin with, this whole thing. It is a lot to cover, a kid who grew up in a fairly decent household with the structure to his life, to a superstar in the NFL who seeming had everything, all the way down to a cold-blooded killer. A guy who was confused about his life, and if you believe the stories, someone who was confused about his sexuality and how hard he fought to play a character of himself so that no one would find out that he was allegedly gay. I say allegedly because we don’t know for sure because Hernandez himself never said it, but then again what would his alleged lover in high school have to gain by lying about that? I digress, we will never know for sure, so when it comes to his sexuality, we will use the term allegedly.
Despite all the rumors that first went on when the whole thing went down, was that Hernandez grew up in a rough neighborhood and went to a rough school and grew up around gangs with no family structure. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. He went to a “very normal” school and had a very normal upbringing with a pretty strict father. It seems that his father was the catalyst that Aaron leaned on in his childhood as he was a pretty strict father, and taught his sons that a man is supposed to act a certain way. He was the disciplinarian in the household and would keep Aaron and older brother on the straight and narrow. While his father was a role model for Aaron, he was also a mean drunk. It was pretty normal for his dad to come home drunk and fight with his wife. Aaron’s brother even recounted a time when his father came home drunk, his mother hit him with a phone and his father slammed her head into a wall knocking her unconscious.
So not only was Hernandez growing up in a pretty futile home, then came the alleged sexual life with one of his friends. Again I say allegedly because we don’t know for 100% fact. One of his longtime friends and quarterback for his high school team admitted on the show, he and Aaron had a sexual relationship in high school, not just once, but throughout their time in high school. Both became paranoid about the situation wondering if anyone had found out or if anyone knew. Aaron’s father and his friends’ father were both seen as “typical, hard-nosed, blue-collar, real men”, and would never except that their sons were homosexual, or bisexual. Aaron’s father was homophobic in the sense that he would get upset about there being “faggots” in their neighborhood, claiming that you can’t be a real man while sleeping with other men.
So Aaron had the structure in his life, up until his dad died. After his death, Aaron’s mother didn’t seem to care too much as she very quickly moved on to another relationship. Just months after Aaron lost his father, he woke up to another man in the house, in his dad’s bed, and the worst of it all, it was the husband of Aaron’s cousin, Tanya. Tanya was Aaron’s best friend in life, the person he was closest to, and the one person he trusted wholeheartedly, and the one person that always stood up for Aaron, and had his back. After his father died, Aaron moved in with Tanya and that seems to be where things changed up quite a bit for the future of Aaron Hernandez.
While living with Tanya, Aaron started smoking pot, partying and being around very suspicious characters, including Ernest Wallace, and Carlos Ortiz, who end up playing a major factor in the story of Aaron Hernandez’s downfall. Aaron went from a structured household to a free for all where he could do anything he wanted. He was allowed to come and go as he pleases, and hang out with anyone regardless of whether or not they were someone he should have been hanging out with at the age of 16.
After this, instead of going to UConn, which he committed to when he was 14, which goes to show what kind of athlete he was. He completely shocked his family by taking a visit and immediately committing to the University of Florida. It was then, his family says he started to change. He became more of a “street” type person, by getting numerous tattoos and hanging out with the “street” type people. Hernandez had failed a drug test and was only benched for one game by then Coach Urban Meyer, who let’s be honest, is the not the greatest person to send a kid to because he only cares about his win/loss record and doesn’t give a damn about his players, and I will argue with anyone on that. But Meyer would state ” that their biggest worry is when Aaron would go home”. Meyer went on “when Aaron went home, I would call his brother D.J, to check in on him and see how he was doing and what Aaron was up to”. Sure it seems like Urban cared, but I will get back to that part later. But the worry when Aaron would go home is because he would go back with his old running mates and get back into the same nonsense he was in while living with his cousin.
Then came the NFL draft. Aaron was sure he would go number one, but character issues ultimately led to him being dropped down to the fourth round, where he was selected by the alleged best franchise, New England Patriots. I say allegedly because on the field, yes they are the best, but as far as character qualities, all their scandals speak for themselves, so get over it. It was here that the unraveling of Aaron Hernandez started to happen and he became someone that no one from his family expected. He became a person, that was a stranger to his longtime friends.
In 2012, Daniel de Abreu, and Safiro Furtado were gunned down in their car at a red light in Boston following an incident at a Boston nightclub. The alleged incident was that one of the men had bumped into Hernandez spilling a drink on him, pissing Hernandez off. At the time of the shooting, the only thing the police had of the shooting was footage of Hernandez at the club, and his vehicle, a Toyota 4-Runner. Police looked for the vehicle that witnesses had described and they couldn’t find it. It wasn’t until the case of Odin Lloyd came about that the vehicle was found at the home of Aaron’s cousin Tanya, and the place that Aaron lived before he went to college. The vehicle was also found to have been wiped down completely and cleaned out destroying any potential evidence in the vehicle.
So the drive-by that Hernandez wasn’t yet a suspect of happened, and then came the 2012 NFL season. Before the season started, Hernandez signed a major contract extension to stay in New England when signed a five-year, $40 million contract that included $15 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $12 million. At this time, the signing bonus was the largest bonus every received by a tight end and made him one of the richer players in the league at the time. So Hernandez had the seemingly perfect life. He had a relationship that seemed healthy with his fiancée, had a daughter, was an elite player at his position, was on a team that is constantly contending for a Super Bowl, a big house, and anything and everything at his disposal.
But it was during 2013 offseason, after the shooting that Hernandez allegedly asked Bill Belichick for a trade so he could get out of the area that he was in. Belichick refused, and instead enlisted a member of the Patriots staff to help Hernandez to find a “more secure” place to live. So it was then that Aaron was renting out an apartment where he would go to essentially smoke weed and become more and more paranoid that someone was out to get him because of his alleged involvement in the shooting. The alleged trade request happened a year after the drive-by shooting that left 2 men dead, and four months before the Odin Lloyd murder. So you have to wonder if he had been traded and his concerns had been heard, what would have become of Aaron Hernandez, and more importantly, would Odin Lloyd still be alive?
You would think with team leaders such as Tom Brady that he could have helped Aaron straighten out, but the rest of the team didn’t care too much for Hernandez and had very few friends within the locker room. Although being known as one of the hardest workers on the team, teammates would often describe Hernandez as attention-seeking, and often unhinged. It even got to a point that before he was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd, that Belichick threatened to throw Hernandez off the team.
It was on June 17th, 2013 that everything started to crumble down. The body of a man named Odin Lloyd was found in an isolated part of town at an industrial park with 6 to 10 gunshot wounds. The park he was found in was just one mile from the home on Aaron Hernandez. In the early morning of June 17, Lloyd was picked up by a group of friends in Hernandez’s car when he texted his sister saying: ” Did you see who I am with? to which his sister didn’t respond. Lloyd sent another message saying ” NFL, just so you know”. At the time Lloyd’s sister didn’t think anything of it stating, ” I thought he was just bragging”. But as the story unfolded, this text message started the frenzy that was the eventual and shocking arrest and indictment of Aaron Hernandez.
When police first heard that Lloyd was with Hernandez, as Hernandez was the only person that Lloyd knew in the area, he was not first named a suspect. But as more and more evidence came out, police then got a search warrant and went to the home of Hernandez. Originally they didn’t find anything incriminating except for the fact that Hernandez had destroyed most of the footage from his home security cameras. During the search police also found a cell phone that belonged to Hernandez that was shattered to pieces. Police also gained further records stating that he had hired a cleaning company to come to his house the same day Lloyd’s body was discovered which raised more suspicion. Then on June 26th, 2013, Hernandez was arrested and later charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd. One day later, his accomplices Carlos Hernandez and Ernest Wallace are arrested in connection to the murder.
So now that we have all that out of the way, everyone wants to know the why. Why did he have this meltdown? Why did he go down this path of violence? Why did he throw his career away? Why did he give up his life with his daughter? Who or what is to blame? Was it the fake lifestyle that Aaron portrayed where he felt like he had to do some violence? Was it a man who was unhappy with his life because he was gay or at the very least bisexual and he felt like he was stuck in a lie his whole life? Was it brain trauma leading to CTE caused by an ungodly amount of hits to the head? I have my own opinions and will address those and hopefully not go too long as this post will already be long enough.
Now at first when you just look at Hernandez and look at the crimes he committed, and I admit I was one that said it and judged him on it, but he looks like your typical gang banger. The tattoos, the arrogance, and the style in which he killed Odin Lloyd, if you looked at that part, you would think he just a gang banger who made his way to the league and kept with the lifestyle. But as you watch the program, and listen to people who knew him best, he was a complete fake. The whole tattoos and gang banging lifestyle was an image he wanted to portray because he felt like if he didn’t then people would take advantage of him.
First, we get into the death of his father. It was obvious from the first moment they mentioned his relationship with his father, that he was the rock in Aaron’s life. He was the one who kept him on the straight and narrow and taught him how to be a man. He was the one who pushed Aaron to be the best that he could be and drive for perfection. He was the stability that kept Aaron out of trouble. After the death of his father, the relationship with his mother completely deteriorated because of her relationship with another man soon after they buried his father. It was then he lost that structure in his life and moved in with his cousin and ex-wife of his mom’s new boyfriend.
A change like this, in a teenager’s life, can spark many feelings. Teenagers, as we know, are pretty angry, and emotional as it is, and when something gets added to it, it can be a trigger for worse behavior. But I don’t think something like this could have that big of an effect on future behavior as you get older, you learn about things, and in the end, this was a small part of the anger of Hernandez. I will say though, in my own opinion, his cousin Tanya, who loved him so much, she hindered Aaron more than she helped. If she had any damn sense at all, she would have given him more structure as opposed to just letting him run free and act like an idiot she did. If he looked up to her as a parent which he essentially did, she should have acted like it, and leave that fake hood rat bullshit in the past.
Then we have the alleged homosexuality or bisexual aspect of Aaron’s life. Look I am not even going to pretend I know what it is like to have what essentially is an identity crisis for someone who is struggling with their sexuality. I can only go by what I read and hear on the news or interviews by someone who has gone through it. But if you believe the stories his former friend and teammate tells, Aaron was having a sexual relationship with him throughout high school, but both of them had to hide from their parents, and from the public because of the fear that they would face the ridicule because football players aren’t “supposed” to be gay. Football players are supposed to be big, mean, tough, and have any lady they want whenever they want.
Here is where I come in and put the blame on sports fans, negative parents, and a large majority of society as a whole, and not just in the case of Aaron Hernandez, but anyone who is homosexual, or bisexual who is afraid to come out because of the possible backlash. Now we have come a long way in a society as to exception someone regardless of their sexual orientation but there is still a lot of people who judge, bash and even physically harm these people. All because they have this sense of entitlement to where they don’t agree with something therefore, no one should do it or live that way. But bigger blame goes to sports fans. Not that we care as long as the person is helping our team win, but we constantly bash, and throw players under the bus for the dumbest of reasons. Not to mention, if a player that was the caliber of Aaron Hernandez were to come out, it would be a 50/50 battle, mainly because of the stigma of male athletes. For some reason, we can’t bend our minds around the fact that a great player, in a tough sport, could be gay. That then translates to players staying in the closet, and living a life that they think they should live based on personal opinions. Maybe Aaron was homosexual, or bisexual, but was afraid to come out thinking it would impact his livelihood. He would have certainly been afraid to tell his father and his mother. I have heard ( again, I don’t know what it is like, but I can only go by hearsay) that when you are stuck and afraid to come out, that you feel like you’re living a lie and constantly paranoid that someone will find out and out you. Here is the issue: We as a society shouldn’t care what someone’s sexual preference is. We don’t have to agree to it, but it is in no way our place to judge someone because we don’t feel the same way. Maybe if Aaron was homosexual, or bisexual, if he would have had the proper support group, like family, friends, and in his case the football fans, where he could have been comfortable in his skin, maybe a lot of the stress and turmoil he was feeling inside could have been relieved and he could have been happy being him.
Now we go on to the Patriots. Oh, lord the Patriots and their “patriot way is the right way”. If you have followed my blog you know I have railed against the Patriots and their cheating ass coach several, several times. So obviously, my take on them as a franchise is sour and after watching the documentary didn’t get any better. We will just start with the trade request that was made by Hernandez in 2013. He allegedly requested a trade to a team on the west coast due to family safety. Belichick arrogant and only worried about his win-loss record as always denied the trade request and instead had a member of the teams’ staff help Aaron get set up in a “more secure” house. This secure house turned out to be a bullshit apartment building that was less secure than Hernandez’s own house. But I guess Aaron didn’t make too much more of a fuss about it has he kept the apartment secret from anyone and would go there and smoke weed all day.
Now as a team, I can understand not wanting to trade one of your star players and have to end up playing against him. But when a player cites family safety as a reason for wanting out, you should at the very least help this player in finding security for his family. I get it, you pay them millions and they are employees. But this isn’t a normal job, this is a high profile, people always know where you are, and who you are with job. This is a job where you are constantly in the public light and never have any privacy regardless of how much you try. You as a franchise could have done more to protect Aaron from Aaron. Hell, even Dez Bryant ended up having a handler who followed him around all the time to keep him from getting himself in trouble. Granted on the field he was a pain the ass, but he never had off the field issues. So you would think you would want to do all you could to protect the investment made and protect the “Patriot Way”, but let’s be honest. The patriot way is nothing more than a big pile of lies and cover-ups, kind of like the government. I won’t go too far into detail, just look at all the questionable antics of the team on and off the field other than Aaron Hernandez.
Then we go to the big on that a lot of football players have suffered with and that is CTE caused by injuries to the brain. Now I am not even going to pretend like I know the words the doctor that studied Hernandez’s brain after he committed suicide said so I will just word it the best way I understood it. First, there was a graphic that showed a normal 27-year-old brain and compared it to the brain that was Aaron Hernandez. Even as dumb as I am when it comes to medical terms and whatnot, even I could tell that the brain was screwed up tremendously. The part of his brain that was damaged the most was the part that impacted decision making, and the ability to moderate behavior. The doctor went on to say: “In our experience with this level of CTE, individuals have difficulty with impulse control, decision making, inhibition of impulses for aggression, emotional volatility, and rage behaviors”.
Now given the nature that other former football players, most notably Junior Seau died, and had their brains studied for CTE, one could certainly argue that Aaron Hernandez was certainly not in his right mind and they wouldn’t be wrong. While I think CTE played a major role in this downfall, I don’t think it is the only thing to blame. Would he have killed people had he not had the CTE? We can’t say that for sure but it played a major role in the unraveling of Hernandez.
The thing is, there isn’t one particular thing to blame, but there are several things to blame. Aaron Hernandez himself, the Patriots, and CTE which you could argue could be all rolled into one. As Aaron in phone calls from prison that he was always banged up and not feeling good, but felt like he had to go out and play anyways because the team and fans expected that of him. But I think the biggest thing that led to the downfall of Hernandez was just structure. Let’s be honest, some people never grow up. No matter what age they are, they will still partake in idiotic, adolescent behavior. These people need someone who can reign them in and tell them right from wrong. I come to this because after he was arrested and in jail, where they tell you what to do at all times, he took to it like he has been in jail in whole life. He would talk about how he is comfortable, and brag about how clean his cell his and that all he is missing is his daughter. Quite frankly, it isn’t normal for someone who has never been to jail, to be comfortable In jail unless you’re a person who is desperate for structure and stability in life.
Also, I want to make a side note of how disgusting I think his mother is. There was a conversation they had on the phone while he was in jail where they were arguing and she stated that “if you would just give me a million dollars, I would be set for life”. Woman, all you can think about when your son is in prison for murder, is money. Look parents I am talking to you now. Just because your son, or daughter, becomes famous for being an athlete or entertainer, that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to their fortune. I get it you raised them and helped, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically assume you should get a free payday.
So in closing, I know we all want to know why and what is to blame. Thing is, in any particular situation there is never just one thing that is to blame. Several factors play a hand in it. After the documentary do I believe Hernandez is guilty of the Odin Lloyd murder? Yes. Do I believe he is guilty of the drive-by murder? Yes, he may not have shot the gun but I think he was for sure there. Do I think his cousin who he looked up to was a horrible role model? Yes. Do I think the fact he wanted to play a gangster and have that as a façade play a role? Yes and it was very stupid. Any gang, whether you’re talking about biker gangs, Aryan gangs, bloods, crips or whatever, they are all stupid and cowardly. Do I think the Patriots were at fault? Yes but not in a major way. The Patriots aren’t exactly the best behaving franchise, and they could have done more to make sure Aaron wasn’t getting into anything. Do I think the brain trauma and the pressure to continuously perform was a major factor? Players are afraid to come out and tell their coach that they can’t play because of a head injury with the fear that they will lose their spot or be released. They also feel pressure from idiot fans who think they have a right to bash a player who sits out with an injury because they are getting paid millions so they should be on the field regardless.
More importantly, I think the fact that just judging by what his friend or ex-boyfriend said, Aaron was living a lie. Again the homosexuality is alleged but quite honestly I don’t see a reason why his friend would lie about something like that, but if all he says his true, maybe the burden of trying to pretend he is someone he is not finally got to be too much and caused the breakdown to start. Aaron felt like he couldn’t come out because of the sport he played, the people around him, and the fans. Football is supposed to be the ultimate game for men. The outlook is there is no way that a gay man is playing football and is good because it is a tough man game. So do I think there was an identity crisis that burdened and plagued him for years? Yes. Not saying that that is the main reason for his downfall, but I believe if he had been able to come out IF he was gay, he would have been happier as a person. He could have been him, and lived his life the way he wanted to, and had he had stayed on the field and produced the way he was, the fans would still have accepted him.
Until Next Time,
Be you and be happy, fuck everyone else
Remember Odin Lloyd
Remember Safiro Furtado
Remember Daniel de Abreu