Tomase: Breaking down the latest controversy to hit Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
by: Ryan Hannable on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:56am
In what will eventually make for a tremendous ESPN 30 for 30, the story of Aaron Hernandez came to an end early Wednesday morning when the 27-year-old committed suicide in his jail cell in Shirley, Massachusetts.
The timing was extremely bizarre, coming just five days after he was acquitted of a double-murder outside a Boston night club in 2012. He was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.
Hernandez’s life was wasted.
He wasted what could have been a tremendous football career, the opportunity to be a role model to kids who looked up to him as an athlete who turned his life around and more importantly, he wasted a chance to be a father to his daughter, Avielle.
The former Patriots tight end didn’t have the easiest upbringing.
His father died following complications from hernia surgery when Hernandez was 16 years old. Losing his father had a major effect on him. In the years that followed, he rebelled against police in a string of incidents. Despite his run-ins with the law, Hernandez managed to have a successful football career at the University of Florida and was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 draft.
In his first two seasons, Hernandez totaled 124 catches and 1,473 yards for 13 touchdowns and seemed to be on his way to a solid NFL career, teaming up with Rob Gronkowski as one of the best tight end tandems in the league. His life seemed to take another turn in the summer of 2012 when he signed a five-year contract extension with a $12.5 million signing bonus with the Patriots, the largest ever given to an NFL tight end at the time.
He also donated $50,000 to the Myra Kraft Fund. At the time, Hernandez said he owed owner Robert Kraft for what he had done for both Hernandez and his family with the new contract and this was his way of repaying him.
“I just feel a lot of respect and I owe it back to him,” Hernandez said. “Not only is it $50,000, cause that’s not really, that’s just the money that really doesn’t mean much, with the amount given, it’s more, I have a lot more to give back, and all I can do is play my heart out for them, make the right decisions, and live life as a Patriot.”
Although it may have seemed like Hernandez had turned his life around after a tough upbringing, he fooled everyone.
Just over a year later, Odin Lloyd was murdered, a crime for which Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. What could have been an inspirational story of a kid making it big in the NFL, breaking records and doing good through charity work ended along with the lives of his victim(s).
(At this point, who knows if there are more than just Lloyd?)
Someone who had the athleticism and talent to be remembered as a great tight end in the NFL was now spending the rest of his life in prison.
Besides football, Hernandez wasted the chance to be a good father to his daughter, whose her last interaction with her dad was waving to him in a court room just before he was acquitted for a 2012 double-murder last week. Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel wrote a tremendous column on the moment.
Avielle cried that she missed her father, so her mom, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez (who we should not feel sorry for, either), brought her to court as the jury continued to deliberate. Upon seeing her, Hernandez smiled and his face lit up. So did Avielle’s. When sitting down, Hernandez turned back several times and waved. Then once it was time to leave he blew kisses to her and she waved back and then teared up.
This is the last moment Avielle will ever have with her dad.
She is too young to understand what has happened and there will be a day in the days and weeks ahead when she asks about her dad and she will need to be told she will never see him again. He committed suicide. He ended his life and the chance to have any positive impact on his daughter.
Hernandez’s death Wednesday is a reminder of what could have been, not only for Hernandez, but for his daughter and victims.