Whether it’s TMZ or ESPN, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has dominated the headlines for all of the wrong reasons.
Hernandez is facing five gun-related charges, a first degree murder charge and was denied bail by a judge Thursday. And rightfully so. A man is dead and whoever committed the murder, even if it allegedly was Hernandez, has to live with that guilt the rest of their lives.
As I wrote in my piece on Monday — you can read that piece HERE — Hernandez is a guy that had character issues throughout his tenure as a student-athlete at the University of Florida. Being around model citizens like former Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and Ravens safety Matt Elam during their stays in Gainesville, makes you wonder why he wouldn’t follow the examples set by either Tebow, Elam or head coach Urban Meyer.
However, you can’t blame them, nor can you blame his “friends” for the transgressions he decided to partake in. This is where Hernandez has to finally take accountability for his actions because… well, he has no choice.
Regardless if he pulled the trigger or not, Hernandez is simply not doing anything to improve his character as a man or help grow into what a professional athlete should be: a role model… unless of course you are LeBron James.
Seeing the way the NFL and the Patriots organization handled the situation reinforces the sentiment that these two parties have established already.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a stand on trying to clean up the NFL on several accounts. Whether it is with performance enhancing drugs, conduct detrimental to the league or maintaining professionalism and integrity in professional football, Goodell made sure that Hernandez’s stats and affiliation with the NFL were wiped clean.
This is a black eye for his league. It’s murder. This isn’t a petty crime. It had to be handled this way.
And the same goes for the Patriots.
This is an organization that has taken risks with polarizing figures before and they still are with bringing in the ultimate circus act quarterback Tim Tebow. They have brought in guys like defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, wide receivers Chad Johnson and Brandon Lloyd and safety Brandon Merriweather. Those guys are gone. They’ve even cut ties with a former Super Bowl MVP in Deion Branch. The zero tolerance policy associated with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick has circled back with the Hernandez situation.
Hats off to them for ridding themselves of the negative energy associated with Hernandez within 90 minutes of the arrest. However, this story, much like the opinions of people on Hernandez, will linger for quite some time.
There are other players involved in the murder of Odin Lloyd and comparisons will be drawn to former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and his murder trial in 2000. There are other situations that come to mind, like Rae Carruth, who organized the murder of the woman carrying his child, that draw more comparisons.