With Aaron Hernandez’s reported suicide in prison, it brings a close to maybe one of the most disturbing individuals to ever put on a Patriots uniform. The former superstar TE’s fall from top of the NFL to prison to death, is a rather sad and tragic story, not only for Hernandez but also for those affected by his criminal activities. That list includes not only the victims and their families, but also Hernandez’s family as well.
The timing of the suicide seems really odd, considering it was five days after Hernandez was acquitted of murder chargers in a double homicide in 2012. The state accused Hernandez of firing the gun in a drive-by-shooting near a Boston night club, but were unable to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. The next step was likely appealing a murder conviction from 2015, where the joint venture law was used to convict Hernandez since he drove Odin Lloyd to his eventual death site and had the shell casings of the gun used to kill Lloyd in the car.
It turns out that Hernandez’s suicide may have been the result of a bad reaction to spice (aka synthetic weed). We all remember when Chandler Jones had a run-in with Foxboro police after a reaction to a similar drug back in January 2016. While Jones’ incident proved to be the best case scenario, Hernandez’s incident proved to be the worst case scenario. At the end, it adds a disturbing end to what will be a series of disturbing events that chronicled Hernandez’s fall from top of the world.
Perhaps where it all began is when Hernandez’s father died from complications recovering from hernia surgery when Aaron was 16. I believe that he never emotionally recovered from the trauma of losing his father and left a huge void, which would be filled with bad influences. Hernandez had run-ins with the police in his University of Florida days, including potential involvement of an unresolved 2007 shooting in Gainesville. Hernandez met Alexander Bradley, who was a pot dealer near Hernandez’s hometown of Bristol, CT. It was Hernandez’s smoking habit that caused him to drop from the first to the fourth round of the 2010 draft and ultimately what would lead to his eventual death.
Hernandez serves as an example of when bad influences affect a person who was in an emotionally troubling time. Hernandez’s immaturity and poor impulse control led to both a drug habit and violent lifestyle. Because he was one of the most talented football players in the country, his incidents in Gainesville were overlooked and the lack of discipline in college likely enabled his behavior once he was rich enough to afford his reckless habits. The first time Hernandez had to face any consequences of his actions was when the Patriots unceremoniously jettisoned him off the roster immediately following his arrest for Lloyd’s murder. What made that situation even more troubling was he was able to con Robert Kraft and the entire Patriots fan base into believing that the spotlight of the NFL had changed him for the better.
At the end of Hernandez’s life leaves a trail of destroyed families and disappointed fans. Not only do the families of his victims have to deal with the tragedy of losing a loved one, so does Hernandez’s own family. Hernandez’s daughter will grow up without knowing her father may be the greatest tragedy of them all. For us as fans, it’s a shame that Hernandez chose to live a dark life because he had a bright NFL career ahead of him. With his reported suicide in prison, it closes a chapter to one of the darkest off-field moments in Patriots history.