By Amy Rudolph
Elm Staff Writer
Aaron Hernandez’s face has appeared on our screens in a variety of contexts since he rose to fame as a tight end for the New England Patriots. Hernandez was a great player, a favorite for fantasy teams, and an absolute powerhouse on the field. Thus, his fall from grace starting in 2013 was shocking to say the least.
On June 17, 2013, Odin Lloyd was murdered, and, months later, Hernandez was indicted for the crime and eventually found guilty. There are speculations and accusations that Hernandez was also involved in a double homicide in 2012.
New England all but exploded with news of its former star being accused of murder. Broadcasts of the trial and court room photographs quickly spiraled into a tornado that consumed our lives for months.
After the brawl that broke out during one of the last few plays of the 2015 Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, it became a running joke when commentators said the Seahawks should have counted their blessings that Hernandez was not in that fight.
This escalated when Hernandez memes were all that New Englanders shared and people began to make damaging comments.
Just this past week on April 19, Hernandez took his own life in a Massachusetts prison where he was serving his sentence and awaiting trial on the other two murders.
People made jokes saying, “it couldn’t have happened to be a better guy,” and that Hernandez did it to take the easy way out. The opinions were split, but many celebrated his death in ways that disgusted and appalled me.
The people on Facebook and Twitter who cracked jokes about his suicide should be ashamed of themselves.
Barstool Sports, while not an overly respected publication, said it well: “To go from a guy who had cockiness and swagger abound…to a man who can no longer stand being alive is sad. Blowing your daughter a kiss from court then jamming stuff in a cell door one week later so people can’t try and save your life while you take it is outrageously sad.”
Another site discussed how Hernandez went from star football player at age 20, to indicted for murder at 23, to dead at 27. A progression like that is scary to think about. In that same article, Barstool said that the saddest part of Hernandez killing himself was the loss of talent and potential. But, that’s not it. The saddest thing is the loss of life.
Hernandez may very well have murdered three people, but he was still a person. He was a father to a six year old, a son, and a friend to those who stuck by him. The people who loved him lost someone important to them, and some people made a joke about it.
We can surely judge Hernandez for his alleged involvement in three murders, but we cannot judge him for killing himself. We will never know what was going through his head when he made the calculated decision.
We have no room to talk about his suicide or the possible reasoning for it. All of the publications who are currently hypothesizing about his reasons, from thinking it was so his daughter could get the rest of his fortune after his acquittal to stirring up stories about prison house lovers, are merely speculating and creating false rumors. Hernandez is not here to defend himself anymore, and once the jail door shut after his first arrest, he never could defend himself from everyone else’s speech.
While Hernandez was a “no good, very bad guy” according to Barstool and the public at large, he deserved better than to made into a joke for everyone to laugh at his suffering and pain.
I sincerely hope that readers and posters never feel the pain and anguish that Hernandez felt in those last minutes. I hope that no one feels the need to make every effort possible to ensure that they die, but most of all I hope that no one would be made fun of for their decision to do so. You never know what is going on in someone else’s life, even if it is center stage for the whole world to see like Hernandez’s was.