At 3 am this morning, officers from the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts found Aaron Hernandez unresponsive in his cell. One hour later, doctors at the UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital pronounced him dead. He had hanged himself with a bed sheet tied to the cell window.
By the time he was 20, Hernandez was an SEC Champion and a first team All-American. In 2009, he won the John Mackey award and was honored for his “sportsmanship” and “community values”. He was eventually drafted by the New England Patriots and it looked like he had a promising future ahead of him.
By the time Hernandez was convicted of first degree murder on April 15, 2015, his career had already veered drastically off course. It was his second murder trial, and the public heard allegations of involvement in multiple shootings, bar fights and witness intimidation. The image of the promising young star was all but obliterated completely.
noted that, during the trial, Hernandez “never wept” and “didn’t look ashamed or remorseful”. Boston.com
went as far as to claim he “may be a textbook psychopath”.
So what went wrong? And how did so many people miss the signs?
Aaron’s brother, DJ, claims that this was not the Aaron he knew – but he didn’t know about weapons his brother allegedly bought, or the second apartment he had in Franklin, MA. The Patriots also claim
they were unaware of Hernandez’ issues; but, according to the Wall Street Journal
, scouts had told them in 2010 that Hernandez was “living on the edge of acceptable behavior”.
No matter how shocked they were during the trial, eventually, everyone admits that Aaron was involved in something bad. DJ told Sports Illustrated
he thinks it was probably the result of “drugs and people who don’t have the best intentions for you”.
Hernandez was a youth coach success story and now he’s their cautionary tale. The truth, I’m sure, will never be as simple; but whatever the cause, for now, the Hernandez saga appears to be over.