“It is to be it is up to me,” reads one of Aaron Hernandez’s tattoos, a somewhat-inspirational quote from his father. Hernandez describes its meaning in an interview, “It basically says my life is in my hands. Whatever I want my life to be, it’s up to me to make it out that way.”
How the former NFL rising star chose to lead this life became abundantly clear on April 19th when his body was found hanged in his prison cell. At about 3:05 AM, only five days after his acquittal of a 2012 double homicide, Hernandez was discovered hanging from a bedsheet tied to the window of his cell. The famous Bible verse, John 3:16, scrawled in red marker above his eyes.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Hernandez was taken to UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 AM, bringing an end to the tragic arc of the once promising athlete. Hernandez’s rise to professional football was a brief stint, one that appeared to be rapidly lifting the athlete to levels of superstardom known by fellow Patriot Tom Brady, amongst others.
But it all came crashing down on June 17, 2013, when the body of semi-pro footballer Odin Lloyd is found in an industrial park in North Attleboro, MA, just a half mile from Hernandez’s home. From that moment, Hernandez was no longer the Patriots’ golden boy, he was a thug.
What ensued over the next few years would be trials and other charges of homicide, painting a picture of what kind of man Hernandez was; stone cold with a violent past, capable of murder at the spill of a drink.
Things began to look as good as they could in mid-April when Hernandez was found not guilty of the 2012 drive-by shooting. He was reportedly in good spirits, smiling and waving to his longtime fiancé, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the mother of his daughter, Avielle. It’s because of this jovial behavior that makes his apparent suicide days later all the more perplexing.
Hernandez’s lead defense attorney, Jose Baez, has mentioned in a statement that his office intends to conduct their own investigation into the death. “There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible. Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence.
“Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death. We request that authorities conduct a transparent and thorough investigation.”
The Aaron Hernandez legacy will be one of tragedy, almost Shakespearean in a way. An encouraging and exciting figure in sports was revealed for his true, murderous colors. But just because Hernandez is dead doesn’t mean that this story is over. The suspicious circumstances surrounding his death leave a lot of unanswered questions.
This won’t be the last time you’ll hear about Aaron Hernandez.