Wednesday’s culmination of the police investigation surrounding Aaron Hernandez and his subsequent arrest and murder charge in the death of 27-year old Odin Lloyd is the latest example of someone who had the world in front of him and threw it all away.
And it just doesn’t make any sense.
Here’s a guy who has a beautiful little baby girl living in a beautiful home in North Attleboro with his girlfriend with nothing but memories to create and a legacy to build. He had become a dynamic player in the Patriots offense and at just the age of 23 was entering the prime of his NFL life. The contract extension he received last season gave them the financial security that would allow them to do pretty much anything they wanted as a family. There could have been family vacations, trips to Disney World, the possibilities were endless because he finally had the means to make sure they could just enjoy all those little moments of a life he had worked so hard to give them.
So why in the world would he put himself in a position to throw it all away? That’s a question that Hernandez is hopefully asking himself as he sits in a jail cell after being denied bail and awaiting his next court appearance next month. Listening to the details and timeline that were revealed in the arraignment, it’s tough to believe that he’s going to escape some sort of sentence. His attorney, Michael Fee, called it “at bottom a circumstantial case. It is not a strong case.” However, unfortunately for his client authorities really seemed to take their time and left few stones unturned as they built this case.
They had records of the text messages that Hernandez made to his friends and Lloyd which brought them together and helped set up the whole event, which reportedly stemmed from a disagreement over someone Lloyd had spoken to when they were at a club, Rumors, the previous Friday night. According to the prosecution “certain things upset” Hernandez, including Lloyd talking to some people the former tight end had “troubles” with.
They had information from every where they went that night, including records from the cell phone towers which tracked their every move. Backing that up was video surveillance from cameras in and around Boston that captured them as they drove through, along with the final footage as he got closer to home which showed the car turning down the road where Lloyd was ultimately brutally shot and killed.
One of the more chilling details that came out was the fact that police even had the final texts Lloyd sent to his sister as he sat in the car and seemingly knew that something bad was about to happen.
Now he’s gone, and his family is grieving. It’s just senseless.
Fee might call the evidence circumstantial, but hearing the details of how it all went down was disturbing to say the least. Despite all the dirt that was dug up by the media about his past since the investigation started, we really didn’t need to know about Hernandez’s prior transgressions to understand the severity of what took place that night. When news broke shortly after he was arrested that the Patriots had released him, it was pretty obvious that his involvement was bigger than many had initially thought. Although it’s safe to say that the murder charge that was announced during his arraignment came as a shock to everyone who was sitting there hoping he somehow wasn’t directly involved in that horrible crime.
But there he was, standing in a North Attleboro courtroom in handcuffs thanks to one decision that may have destroyed everything he worked so hard for.
If nothing else his career in New England is over. Whether or not he’ll actually get to play football again remains to be seen, as the league has yet to discuss any penalty for the former Patriots tight end. For that to be even a possibility he’ll now need to hope his attorney can somehow clear his name and give him back the freedom he squandered after being involved enough to be charged in a crime that cost Lloyd his life.
We don’t know whether he’s innocent or guilty from a legal standpoint. The evidence against him doesn’t seem promising, but then again we’ve seen enough over the years to know that anything is possible.
What we do know is that he’s guilty of even putting himself in this position. Had he not gone out that night and just stayed home with his family, all this could have been avoided.
“I’m engaged now, and I have a baby. So, it’s just gonna make me think of life a lot differently and doing things the right way,” Hernandez said last year after signing his extension. “Now, another one is looking up to me. I can’t just be young and reckless Aaron no more. I’m gonna try to do the right things, become a good father and [her] be raised like I was raised.”
Unfortunately he didn’t live up to his own words and it’s just a sad story with an ending that shouldn’t even have been written. Before it happened he was just over a month away from training camp and looking to build on all the promise that put him in position to make the most of everything he had done up to that point.
Now instead he’ll just be a cautionary tale of a player who will forever be remembered in Patriots history for all the wrong reasons.
(Ian Logue has been covering the New England Patriots for over 13-years and is the owner and senior editor for PatsFans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @IanLogue)