Aaron Hernandez will get the same chance everybody else in this country charged with a crime gets: To prove he’s innocent of the charges against him. In Hernandez’s case, it means he gets to prove that he is not a premeditated killer, a punk with a gun who also happens to be a star tight end from the NFL.
You always have to start there, no matter how bad the evidence looks at the start. So we will eventually find out whether the case against him is good or bad, right or wrong. Find out if Hernandez is the victim of circumstances his lawyers say he is. Or if Aaron Hernandez, No. 81 of the Patriots, is nothing more than a bad guy with the gutter instincts of a gang member, which is exactly what he looks like right now.
We will find out if the evidence against him — called “overwhelming” by a district attorney on the case named Bill McCauley — stands up in a court of law, or not. That is our legal system, even in a country where somebody such as Hernandez can get all the guns he wants, and without a license in his case.
Aaron Hernandez will certainly get his opportunity to explain why a search of property belonging to him apparently produced an ammunition clip matching the caliber of casings found at the scene of the brutal and cold-blooded execution of a 27-year-old named Odin Lloyd.
Once, a long time ago, it was a wide receiver named Rae Carruth, of the Carolina Panthers, charged with being a part of a conspiracy to murder the woman pregnant with his child. We will begin to find out now if Hernandez is no better than Carruth, if he was the football player planning an assassination this time.
Jovan Belcher of the Chiefs — another football player with his own stupid arsenal of weapons, legal weapons with him —shot and killed the mother of his child last year before killing himself at the Chiefs’ training facility. Belcher had no help, as Hernandez allegedly did, he did his shooting himself before the gun went to his own head. Hernandez? He doesn’t seem to have been particularly tortured after the fact, he was allegedly more interested in some clumsy dumb-jock cover-up, starting with having his house cleaned.
There is an unforgettable scene in the movie “The Verdict,” Lindsay Crouse on the witness stand, the nurse she was playing explaining how doctors asked her to cover up a tragic operating-room mistake, finally saying of the criminal doctors, “Who are these people?”
So who is Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots, really?
Clearly there have been others to come out of pro football accused of being murderers, with guns and knives and sometimes being drunk behind the wheel of a car. But maybe there has never been somebody like this guy, especially if it turns out that he killed before.
At first, this seemed like some dreary, familiar story: A late-night beef at a club that ended up with a shooting death, like so many you have heard about in Brooklyn and Queens or any big city, somebody going and getting guns to settle the whole thing.
But we are also learning more now about a civil suit in Florida and the accusation that Hernandez shot somebody else in the face. And police looking into a double homicide in Boston last year that police think Hernandez may be connected to.
So it is fair to at least wonder now what kind of black heart might have been hiding in plain sight in his team’s locker room; what he might have set in motion the night Lloyd died. When one of Hernandez’s lawyers tried to get his client out on bail, he talked about how Aaron Hernandez, out of Bristol, Conn., and the University of Florida, a player working on a $40 million contract, had no criminal history.
Only that may turn out to be one more lie about No. 81 of the Patriots, who it turns out had all the guns he wanted because, well, who doesn’t these days? The charges against him, you should know, also involve unlicensed guns and large-capacity firearms and possession of guns without a firearms I.D. card, perhaps because Hernandez thought he needed that kind of firepower to protect himself in the quiet neighborhood in which he lived in Attleboro, Mass.
Or maybe Hernandez wasn’t worried about threats because he was the threat. Maybe he was just another gun guy in America with a cockeyed version of his Second Amendment rights, one who went looking for guns as soon as he became upset about “certain things” that had happened with Odin Lloyd one night at a Boston club called Rumor.
Until the “thing” that happened to Odin Lloyd was that he got shot multiple times before his body got dumped in an industrial park not so far from where Hernandez lives with his girlfriend and daughter. This is the violence for which Hernandez, out of a violent sport, is charged, that has him in custody, that had him refused bail; the beginning of the search for justice for Odin Lloyd.
This weekend, in the shadow of Hernandez’s arrest, the weekend of Odin Lloyd’s funeral, Joe Lefeged of the Colts is found to have his $900 unregistered semi-automatic weapon in a car stopped by the police in Washington, D.C. Nobody learns.
So it is time for Roger Goodell to send a message about guns that gets through to some of the slow learners in his league. How about from now on you are an NFL player and you are found to be in possession of an unregistered weapon, you get suspended for eight games, twice what you get for a dope offense, just for being a dope?
Think about it: Who’s more dangerous, a football player using performance-enhancing drugs, or one who’s armed and dangerous, whether that means as dangerous as Aaron Hernandez or not?
Good luck with A-Rod, start of something for Harvey & what a Bud….
Once the Yankees dreamed about Alex Rodriguez hitting his 700th home run or even his 800th home run in pinstripes.
Now the magic number for them is 80.
As in percent.
It means their new dream is somehow getting back 80% of the more than $100 million they still owe this guy from insurance money if he is unable to ever play baseball for them again.
Good luck to them with that, by the way.
I love, incidentally, the leak from Rodriguez’s people that he thinks the Yankees don’t want him anymore.
It really would be a very cool thing for Matt Harvey to start the All-Star Game at Citi Field in a couple of weeks.
There have been so many injuries this season with the Yankees — and then more injuries on top of the original injuries — that it’s easy to forget how old this team was before everybody started dropping like flies.
Their top three starting pitchers are 32-year-old CC Sabathia, 41-year-old Andy Pettitte and 38-year-old Huroki Kuroda.
Mariano Rivera, of course, is 43, in his last season.
Then you would have had the following guys in the field, and in the batting order:
Cano, 30, somebody who needs to pick things up a little if he is going to be the Yankees’ next bone-headed, long-term contract.
Mark Teixeira, 33.
Capt. Jeter, 39 in June.
A-Rod, bless his heart, who turns 38 in July.
Curtis Granderson, 32.
Brett Gardner, the pup of the group, turns 30 before the year is over.
Travis Hafner, the new DH, is a spry 36.
The Yankees might not have won the AL East even if they had all stayed fitter than fighter pilots, but they sure would have run away with things in the AARP East.
Speaking of senior citizens:
I hope Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce work out for the Nets I do. I hope the Nets make a run at the Knicks and at a title.
But you have to wonder if they are just adding better old guys than the Knicks did last season.
And occasionally seem to be as interested in making the big splash — and quick fix — as the Jets used to be.
It is probably just a rotten vicious rumor that the Nets also considered adding McHale and Robert Parish, too.
It was probably just bad luck at Wimbledon this week and not bad grass, but it is definitely bad for business when the best tennis players in the world are slipping around like they’re on the ice at the Garden before a Rangers-Bruins game.
When you see what Pat Riley has done as a coach and now an executive with the Heat, it makes you appreciate the genius of the late Red Auerbach in Boston even more.
The old man won as a coach with the Celtics, won a lot, and then he won championships as an executive in three different decades.
And guess what?
He didn’t have Dwyane Wade doing his recruiting for him!
It was such a wonderful thing to see the great Bud Collins back in the Press Center at Wimbledon the other day, just because there is no media figure that I know of, in any sport, who did as much to help grow a sport as Bud did with tennis back in the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s.
He ought to have his own wing at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
When did Mark Sanchez become this much of a cut-up?
Now Lance Armstrong is explaining himself — and defending himself all over again — in an interview in Le Monde.
So, like, what part of “shut up and get lost” isn’t he getting here?
If this dope misses cycling that much, somebody tell him about our city’s exciting Share-a-Bike program.
The Mike Lupica Show can be heard Monday through Friday at noon and Sunday at 9 a.m. on ESPN 98.7.
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