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The Psychopathic Superstar: New Netflix documentary chronicles the life of Aaron Hernandez

The Psychopathic Superstar: New Netflix documentary chronicles the life of Aaron Hernandez

The Psychopathic Superstar: New Netflix documentary chronicles the life of Aaron Hernandez
January 19
14:00 2020

Aaron Hernandez fell victim to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) throughout his football career which led to a life of crime, violence and paranoia before his death at a young age of 27 in 2017.

The three-episode Netflix special “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” digs deep into the personal life and off-the-field interactions of the former New England Patriots tight end. Unheard stories and testimonies from family members, friends, and former players of Hernandez describe the roller coaster and demise of his life. Most notably to the public, Hernandez was arrested in June 2013 and later found guilty for the murder of a local Boston man, Odin Lloyd, in April 2015. What most people don’t know is that Hernandez was involved in numerous murders and violence while still playing in college, as well as the NFL.

For years, Hernandez seemed like a superstar with tremendous talent, played in a Super Bowl winning organization in New England, and took the world by storm. What starts off the film is a recollection of glory and praise for Hernandez as a great athlete from Bristol, Connecticut who comes from a line of an athletic family and slowly turns into a troubled young man that felt was above the law. Growing up, Hernandez was abused by his father and held him to extremely high expectations on the football field. If he made a mistake or failed to live up to his father’s demands he was severely punished and at times was sexually assaulted.

His father died in 2006 after complications from a surgery, and 16-year-old Hernandez decided to move in with his admired cousin Tanya Singleton until he began his college football career at the University of Florida. It was at Singleton’s house where Hernandez began to partake in heavy drug use and get into trouble in school.

While Hernandez was an all-American and national champion at Florida, former players recalled incidents that the city of Gainesville, Florida let slip due to his prominence on the field. For example, in April 2007 Hernandez went to a local club with quarterback Tim Tebow and consumed beverages underage while later refusing to pay the bill that the bartender sent him. Hernandez responded by punching the employee and being escorted out. The local police department decided not to charge him with battery and it was the first act to go silent. A second incident occurred five months later in September when Hernandez was suspected of shooting two passengers of a car stopped at a traffic light in Gainesville. Both passengers survived, and Hernandez would be let off the hook a second time. Perhaps these events could have been the first sign of Hernandez having major implications of CTE.

Friends and family members knew the kind of danger the young man posed to others if he continued to act in ways that were entitled once he became older. Professional scouts and analysts recognized Hernandez’s talents and tangibles as a player but highly doubted his mental capacity and maturity. He scored the lowest with a 1/10 on the maturity skill by scouts, which did not faze the executives of the New England Patriots in 2010 to draft him in the fourth round. General manager and head coach Bill Belichick was one of the biggest advocates for drafting Hernandez despite his troubled past in college.

Hernandez from the get-go played an essential role in the New England offense with two-time league MVP and three-time Super Bowl winning Tom Brady. After his second season in 2011, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract after a season with 910 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Injuries in his three-year career led to him never playing a full 16 game season. Concussions were a specific injury that sidelined him when he wasn’t playing.

In June 2013, Hernandez had an altercation with Odin Lloyd in Boston after meeting at a club. Lloyd at the time was dating Hernandez’s fiancé’s sister. Lloyd’s body was found within a mile in a dirt pile of Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. One month later Hernandez was arrested for the involvement of Lloyd’s murder and was released by the New England Patriots.

“As the coach of the team, I’m primarily responsible for the people that we bring into the football operation,” Belichick said in a 2013 interview. “Overall, I’m proud of the hundreds of players that have come through this program, but I’m personally disappointed and hurt in a situation like this.”

Just when he had settled in prison, Hernandez was investigated for the double homicide of two immigrants Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Teixeira Furtado, 28 in Boston July 2012. Hernandez and close friend Alexander Bradley were at a club in Boston where both of the other men accidentally bumped into Hernandez and spilled drinks on him. Hernandez and Bradley would chase the two men around the Boston streets eventually shooting and killing them at a stoplight. In April 2017, Hernandez was acquitted of the double homicide while serving his life sentence.

This means that Hernandez played the entire 2012 season after potentially killing two men and acted like any other NFL player. That year his friends and family members recall Hernandez being overly paranoid of law enforcement and being caught at any given time over the double homicide. This type of life shows the severity of how CTE can damage an athlete long term and lead to violence and poor decision making.

One thing I did not like about the series is how the plot was mostly linear, even though it kept flashing back to points in Hernandez’s life between high school or college between his accomplices involved in his crimes. In the linear plotline, the accomplices were never mentioned in his downfall and it seemed as if he only met them while returning to New England in 2010. The information and testimonies were fairly accurate about the trouble Hernandez got in as a teenager, and could easily be reflected on his family.

Also it’s worth noting that former teammates of Hernandez’s like Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Florida head coach Urban Meyer and New England Patriots personnel like Tom Brady and Bill Belichick felt like they failed him by not getting to know him. Players and coaches later responded after the imprisonment that he was “quiet” and “had few friends” on the teams. The executives and coaching staff of New England should have known better what they were getting into by bringing him back to his stomping grounds.

Months after Hernandez’s death in 2017, researchers pinpointed in his brain significant CTE trauma which ultimately could have caused the actions and decisions he made at a young age. Overall the film did a great job of showing how Hernandez truly had gained the world but lost his soul while ascending in fame in his football career.

Final rating: 4.25/5

Featured Image: Aaron Hernandez in a court hearing for the murder of Odin Lloyd. Courtesy Getty Images

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Preston Rios

Preston Rios

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