Aaron Hernandez: Troubled Talent or Professional Thug

By Dandre Chery

Who is Aaron Hernandez? Up until a couple of months ago most would Hernandez is a young talented tight end that plays for the New England Patriots. Nowadays, most of the public is ready to throw Hernandez in jail for life. There is no doubting the fact that the man is facing a lot of trouble. But this is nothing new to Hernandez, as he seems to be more of a troubled individual than most of us knew.

Going back all the way to his days as a Florida Gator, Hernandez has put himself into difficult situations. Yet somehow, Hernandez has been able to avoid the brunt of punishment it would appear that he deserved.

According to an article on rollingstone.com titled “The Gangster in the Huddle”, during Hernandez’s freshman year at Florida, he and teammate Tim Tebow went out to a bar near campus. A 17 year old Hernandez got into an argument with the waiter and punched him in the head, rupturing his eardrum. Hernandez was arrested but the waiter; Michael Taphorn did not press charges and told cops he was talking to the Florida coaches about the incident.

Also in 2007, a shooting incident took place in Gainesville, Florida where the University of Florida is located. In the shooting, two men were wounded as they waited at a stop light. As reported by espn.com, Randall Cason who sat in the back seat unharmed originally identified the shooters as Reggie Nelson, a former Florida Gator, and the other a 6’3”, 230 pound Hawaiian or Hispanic man with a lot of tattoos. That same day, Cason rescinded his identification of Nelson and the male that seems to describe Hernandez.

Heading into his sophomore season at Florida, Hernandez was suspended for the season opener, a practice commonly used in college football when a player fails drug tests over the summer. Former Florida Head Coach, Urban Meyer, covered up for Hernandez stating that he “wasn’t ready to play” but later on Hernandez admitted to testing positive for marijuana.

As stated in an article by rollingstone.com, “Hernandez would fail other drug tests, according to reports, and should have faced bans for up to half a season, per school regulations. Instead, he didn’t miss a single snap.”

Hernandez failed multiple drug tests while at Florid according to the previously aforementioned article “The Gangster in the Huddle”. In fact it is said that if disciplined he would have faced bans up to half a season. But, Hernandez did not miss a single snap.

Already with a checkered past, Hernandez skipped his senior season at Florida and entered the 2010 NFL draft as a projected first round talent. But with a past that movie scripts are made of and a one out of ten score in the category of social maturity in his pre-draft psychological reports, Hernandez fell to the fourth round and was picked by the New England Patriots.

Hernandez appeared to turn the corner as a Patriot and remained low key for most of his first two seasons. Then in July, 2012 came the murder of two Cape Verdean men in Boston’s South End. According to espn.com, police recently have acquired video which shows Hernandez at the same club the two victims were hours before they were killed. In addition, the description of an SUV connected to the murders was found a year later at the Home of Hernandez’s uncle.

Still Hernandez continued to live on the edge with no repercussions for his actions and in February, 2013 there was another alleged incident involving Hernandez. As reported in the rollingstone.com article “The Gangster in the Huddle”, Hernandez was driving from a strip club when he allegedly shot Alexander Bradley in the face and left Bradley in an alley wounded. Bradley, who was a friend of Hernandez, decided not to “snitch” and not tell cops who shot him or where he was shot when they arrived. But, Bradley has since filed a civil suit against Hernandez alleging it was he who shot him in the face.

Finally and most importantly, we have the most recent and most heard of incident that Hernandez is connected to, the death of Odin Lloyd. It is alleged that Hernandez and two accomplices drove out to the middle of nowhere and killed Lloyd.

With all that said if my count is correct Hernandez is allegedly linked to the murders of six people in four separate incidents. I would just like to reiterate this point; Hernandez has somehow been linked allegedly to the death of six different people. Not all at once either but four separate incidents.  Now I believe the saying goes, once is a chance, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a pattern. Well we are already on a fourth.

I am in no way saying that Hernandez is guilty of anything. For all I know these allegations could be simply that, allegations. For all we know Hernandez could just have been caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people. Many who are close to Hernandez say there is more than one side to him and that his actions are the product of a rough childhood.

The two alleged accomplices of Hernandez for the murder trial of Odin Lloyd are Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, childhood friends of Hernandez that helped fill the void caused by the death of his father. Known as crooks in their own right, Wallace and Ortiz latched to a gifted Aaron and remained influential to him for most of his adolescent life.

One could say the story of Hernandez is unfortunate, which it truly is. One could say that no matter what, Hernandez was just hapless in all that has taken place in his life. But when it comes down to it, it just seems that sooner or later it was all bound to catch up to him.

Once again, I am in no position to convict Hernandez of any wrongdoing for at the end of the day nobody knows exactly what he has done except God and Hernandez. But given all the allegations that have been levied against him, all the evidence just piling up day by day, and all accounts of senselessness by those who know him most, I cannot help but lean towards a certain verdict. Then again, he has right to due process so only time will tell.

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