Her­nan­dez seedy guy as a Ga­tor

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS - By Mike Bianchi

One of Aaron Her­nan­dez’s first of­fi­cial acts as a fresh­man foot­ball player for the Florida Ga­tors was to sucker punch an em­ployee at a Gainesville, Fla., bar so hard that he rup­tured the poor guy’s ear drum.

Tim Te­bow, who then was a sopho­more quar­ter­back, in­ter­vened in the dis­pute and tried to make ev­ery­thing bet­ter.

Te­bow, you see, was the pub­lic face of Ur­ban Meyer’s na­tional cham­pi­onship-win­ning pro­gram at UF.

Aaron Her­nan­dez was its se­cret and seedy un­der­belly.

Hard to be­lieve the Ga­tors had one of the great­est role mod­els in sports his­tory and one of the most heinous crim­i­nals in sports his­tory on the same team, at the same time. And not even all of Te­bow’s good­ness could erad­i­cate the im­mense evil Her­nan­dez har­bored inside him­self.

Her­nan­dez, the UF All-Amer­i­can who helped the Ga­tors win a na­tional ti­tle and the Pro Bowl tight end who was on his way to be­ing a fu­ture su­per­star for the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots, ap­par­ently tied a bed sheet to his cell win­dow and hanged him­self at the Souza-Bara­nowski Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter in Shirley, Mas­sachusetts, early Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Ob­vi­ously, it was a tragic end to a soul­less life, but the re­ac­tion of some of Her­nan­dez’s former UF team­mates was trou­blingly telling. It was al­most as if they were mourn­ing a mar­tyr in­stead of mur­derer.

“I’m gonna miss u bro, you my fam­ily!” tweeted former UF safety Ahmad Black. “De­spite other al­le­ga­tions and what­ever else u had go­ing, ill al­ways love you bro.” Other al­le­ga­tions? You mean like be­ing con­victed of killing one per­son and likely get­ting away with killing two others sim­ply be­cause lawyer Jose Baez got Her­nan­dez off just like he got Casey An­thony off?

Mike Pouncey, an­other former UF team­mate and now the cen­ter of the Mi­ami Dol­phins, wrote on In­sta­gram: “To my friend my brother! Through thick and thin right or wrong we never left each other’s side. Today my heart hurts as I got the worse news I could have imag­ined. It was just a day ago we

shared our last (con­ver­sa­tion). I will for­ever miss you and love you bro. we will meet again rest easy!”

Please spare us the touch­ing trib­utes to this ma­ni­a­cal mur­derer. Where was Pouncey’s sym­pa­thy for Odin Lloyd, the former friend whom Her­nan­dez killed, ex­e­cu­tion-style, in an aban­doned in­dus­trial park?

Oh, that’s right, Pouncey and his twin brother Mau­r­kice, were both pho­tographed wear­ing “Free Her­nan­dez” hats while their former UF team­mate was be­ing con­victed of mur­der­ing Lloyd. The re­ac­tion of the Pounceys to Her­nan­dez’s heinous crimes is the ul­ti­mate ex­am­ple of ath­letic en­ti­tle­ment. Team­mates, coaches, fans, boost­ers, even po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors too of­ten close ranks and do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to pro­tect the team. (see San­dusky, Jerry).

It should be noted that Her­nan­dez was never crim­i­nally charged in the in­ci­dent in which he rup­tured the Gainesville, Fla., bar em­ployee’s eardrum, nor was he given any sig­nif­i­cant pun­ish­ment by UF.

In an­other more se­ri­ous case in 2007, he was re­port­edly never even ques­tioned by po­lice or his head coach even though he was a sus­pect in Gainesville shoot­ing that left two men wounded, in­clud­ing one who was shot in the back of the head. That case, cat­e­go­rized as an at­tempted homi­cide, re­mains un­solved.

When the Gainesville Sun’s Pat Doo­ley asked Meyer, now the head coach at Ohio State, about the shoot­ing in­ci­dent four years ago, Meyer made it sound as if it was just a mi­nor dis­trac­tion. He told Doo­ley he was in­formed of the in­ci­dent by one of his UF as­sis­tants and “didn’t think about it again un­til a cou­ple of days ago.”

Sorry, but I don’t be­lieve that. I don’t be­lieve a foot­ball coach whose play­ers are be­ing ques­tioned in an at­tempted homi­cide case is go­ing to think noth­ing of it un­til six years later when Her­nan­dez was ar­rested and charged with mur­der.

Then again, col­lege foot­ball ros­ters are filled with trou­bled kids from vi­o­lent back­grounds who are re­cruited for the pur­pose of win­ning. Many of those kids, when given the dis­ci­pline and the struc­ture of a col­lege foot­ball pro­gram, turn their lives around. Some, though, sim­ply can­not be saved.

Es­pe­cially a de­ranged mon­ster like Aaron Her­nan­dez, who should go down as the most evil athlete in sports his­tory, even more sin­is­ter than O.J. Simp­son.

O.J. ap­par­ently snapped and killed (al­legedly) out of jeal­ousy. His was a crime of pas­sion.

Her­nan­dez was a se­rial psy­chopath who seem­ingly killed for the sport of it.

O.J. was a foot­ball player who com­mit­ted mur­der.

Her­nan­dez was a mur­derer who hap­pened to play foot­ball.

And on Wed­nes­day, he mur­dered yet again.

Ex­cept this time he fi­nally killed some­body who de­served to die: Him­self.

Associated Press

Aaron Her­nan­dez was found dead in his prison cell.

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