The Day Hernandez Died

I placed my occasionally lucky golf clubs into the back of the cart on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.  I strapped them in securely and hit the course hoping for a good round.

Considering the news that hit the airwaves earlier that morning, the starter felt compelled to comment about my golf bag.

“I heard one of yours just took his own life,” he said.  I’m paraphrasing.

The news of the day was hard to escape.

I woke up earlier that morning to a text from the Don Calvino that read “Damn, Aaron took the easy way.”  Rubbing my eyes, I took to the internet to see exactly what that message meant.

Former University of Florida national champion and New England Patriot Pro Bowl tight end Aaron Hernandez had hung himself in prison.

He had had a troubled past.  With a bedsheet tied around his neck, he had ended his present.

I’ll spare you the gory details of who he murdered (the fiancée of his girlfriend’s sister) since those details themselves are sketchy at best and incredibly troubling at worst.

Hernandez, who days earlier had been acquitted of other gruesome murder charges, already faced life in prison without parole.  On Wednesday, he took his own.

Florida alum or not, it was hard not to be disturbed by the news.  A solemn day for a sunny one, this was a tragic end to an already tragic story.  It’s not every day that SportsCenter leads with news like that.

No tasteless pun intended, Hernandez was a huge weapon on the football field.  As a tight end at Florida, he proved invaluable in bringing Urban Meyer his second title to Gainesville.  He led the Gators in receiving yards in the national championship game against Oklahoma.  On the surface, he appeared destined for greatness.  Clearly some NFL team would take a chance on him and did.  The Patriots selected Hernandez in the fourth round in 2010 and were happy about their pick until they had to remove his jerseys from the sales racks a few years later.

Hernandez racked up pretty impressive statistics his three years in New England.  He did at Florida as well.  Rumors of his shady extracurriculars were overshadowed by his play.

And now he’s dead.

I’m not going to get into the whole what a shame for a kid who had so much talent routine.  That’s the last thing those who Aaron Hernandez affected want to hear.  We deal with the cards we are dealt.  Clearly Hernandez’ troubled past ate at him until it ended him.

We shouldn’t pretend that this sort of thing doesn’t happen every day.  It does.  This was just a high-profile case because he wore an NFL uniform.

It’s easy to suggest that Hernandez’ death brings some sort of closure to the proceedings but not only would that be factually incorrect, it would be insensitive.  There is no closure for the families of Odin Lloyd and the others who Hernandez allegedly murdered.  There is no closure for those whose life Hernandez was a part of in some sort of capacity, who even cared for him but wondered how a person could be so genuinely evil.  And there is no closure for Hernandez’ four-year old daughter who, like her father, must now go through life living without one.

This is a story with no happy ending.

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17 Replies to “The Day Hernandez Died”

  1. The only people getting closure from this all are the immediate family members of Odin Lloyd. As for the likes of Urban Meyer and Robert Kraft , who claim they never knew of Aaron Hermandez’s troubled past . It is like suggesting no one knew that Charles Manson was a homicidal maniac. There was evidence and a repeated pattern of behavior by Hernandez during his collegiate career, that every moron sought to overlook , including the Athletic Department and coaching staff of Urban Meyer.

    Hell , all of a sudden the world seems to be aggrieved by his passing (Aaron Hernandez’s death) , but no one seemed the slightest bit concerned that the US Defense Department government covered up the death of Pat Tillman (stating he died from enemy combatant fire ) , when he was in fact killed by friendly-fire from the US military (Army Rangers) . How messed up is that to begin with ? Why the hell is anyone concerned with Hernandez’s death when he clearly never wanted to be held accountable for his own actions ?

  2. Al…

    Hernandez allegedly got into a bar fight as soon as he stepped on campus. Pretty sure he had some issues in high school as well, once his father passed away.

    Who knows what Meyer knew or didn’t know but there were more than just rumors swirling in Gainesville about this kid.

    I’m not too sure he ever got suspended for anything but I could be wrong about that.

  3. The Loyd family is gonna have a hard time collecting on a civil suit. Mass law states that once a convicted felon is deceased and denied his one appeal, the conviction is stricken from the records. I think that was one of the motives for the suicide.

  4. He was arrested for a bar fight his freshman year, questioned for his involvement in the shooting of two men after the loss to Auburn in 2007 (no charges were ever filed) and suspended for the season opener in 2008 for testing positive for marijuana.

  5. A powerful read SC. Sorry this poor soul took couldn’t cope, learn and change over the years. My heart breaks for all those touched by his troubles and for the family & sportsfans who loved him. Clearly at some level- he didn’t love himself. So very sad.

  6. As awful as some may think of what I’m about to say, Aaron Hernandez was a Cold Blooded Heartless Killer and got exactly what he deserved!

    I don’t have one sympathetic bone in my body for him, simply because he singlehandly ruined may people’s lives!

    So, I say one final thing to Aaron Hernandez sympathizers, Good Riddance! Another very bad person is no longer among us, even though he was in prison!

  7. Not only in Gainesville did Aaraon Hernandez have a reputation, but he also had repeated issues with guys down in Miami , the sort of guys you don’t pi$s off and expect to get away with things. There was at one time , a bounty on his head and there those who were willing to do the deed, take him down and out , once and for all. Get my drift as to how bad things were concerning Hernandez ?

  8. As Eric said, I’m going to sound heartless, but good riddance to bad garbage. I’d like to say he saved us all some tax dollars but another one willl just take his place in line. His daughter is better off in the long run not having to deal with him.

  9. Live the Thug Life, die the Thug Life.
    The dude made his own bed in more ways than one.
    Sad story, but he wrote it so I can’t really muster much sympathy for the guy. I’m in agreement with Moose and Eric Jewell above

    The memes came out so fast it was unreal.
    The best….or worst depending on your perspective, was the one that showed Hernandez’s picture and read:

    “Still choked less than the Falcons”


  10. Lish, our Gainesville correspondent, ya’ know, maybe I was blinded by the wins or maybe I wasn’t paying attention (both are possible) but I don’t remember all that bad news about Aaron when he was up there.

    Apparently, I’m in the minority. Well, me and Urban Meyer.

  11. And that’s the gist of it, MoS.

    Apparently Hernandez lost his father at 16, not that that’s an excuse. He just had a hard time dealing with it as that’s when they say his problems all started.

    That being said, Hernandez had a brother raised in the same environment who didn’t follow the same path of destruction.

    So you’re right on the money. This was an Aaron thing and nobody else.

  12. A lot of the media, E, openly criticized his Gator teammates for having his back.

    Where were these guys when all this shit was going down in the first place?

  13. Harsh realities, Moose, but I think that’s the general sentiment.

    I’ve heard there are even more bizarre details coming out.

    I say we just put the story to bed.

  14. A guy who has a local sports show actually said on-air Aaron’s daughter was better off now that her father was deceased. That’s a problem a lot of non-sports fans have with the stereotypical sports fan or sports media outlet. They feel most fans and reporters treat – like the coaches who looked the other way at his issues – top athletes like gods. The problem is the last time I checked they are all still human beings. Hernandez obviously had issues that needed addressed and the signs had to be there. It’s a shame those “giants” of the coaching profession he encountered along the way more likely enabled his issues rather than try to disable them. He’s responsible for what he did. To some extent, so are those who knew about his problems and looked the other way. Horrible story all around.

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