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Aaron Hernandez: Story of Disappointment not Tragedy

Carlos Peterson, Sports Editor

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This past week former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his cell from what appeared to be a suicide by hanging. Hernandez, 27, was facing life in prison without parole, leaving behind a pregnant fiancee at the time. Although his situation was bleak, his suicide leaves us all asking one question: “Why?”

On April 15, 2015, Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of the first degree murder Odin Lloyd. Lloyd was someone affiliated with Hernandez prior to being murdered. Hernandez would spend the rest of his life in prison. Still in prison for Lloyd’s death, Hernandez went to trial again for a double-murder charge for a 2012 incident, which he would eventually be found not guilty of. In a series of terrible things happening for Hernandez this seemed to be a small victory. The suicide in his cell was puzzling having such a promising verdict just a day earlier. While the world reacted to the death of Hernandez in various ways the one term I could just not bring myself to describe Hernandez was: tragic.

With what seemed all the luck in the world, Hernandez would be coming home after being selected by his hometown New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. Being paired with second round pick, Rob Gronkowski, a tight end from Arizona who had some trouble staying on the field with injuries. This seemed to be a match made only in the movies as both were ultra-talented players from programs that churned out so many great pro players. It seemed the Patriots had hit the jackpot in this draft. Although it would be found out later that coming home would be detrimental to the growth of Hernandez.

Having lost his father in January of 2006, Hernandez would be returning home where much of what had been leading him down a path of violence would be resurfacing in his life. Hernandez, despite having the support of such a well-run organization as New England, took a path of violence instead. While others looked to steer Hernandez away from this path, he and he alone are responsible for his actions. For so many great moments in his career it will always be overshadowed by the hard life he chose to live.

Hearing the stories of someone like Devon Still, a defensive lineman formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals whose daughter was diagnosed with stage four Neuroblastoma, is heartbreaking to think when someone like Hernandez is given such opportunity. The absolute most basic gift of being alive and Hernandez took it for granted.
I grew up dearly loving Florida football and Hernandez is someone who shouldn’t be viewed as a tragic case but rather a disappointment. There are many situations in life that should have our sympathy but someone who chose the path Hernandez did should not be that someone. Consistently having the opportunity for himself and the family he left behind is something that not many people have in life. If there’s any sympathy to be had it’s for the four-year-old daughter who is going to be growing up wondering why her dad made the decisions that lead her to not have him in her life.

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College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967
Aaron Hernandez: Story of Disappointment not Tragedy