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George Hale Talks About Aaron Hernandez 

THIS WEEK THERE WAS AN IRONIC MOMENT.

ON THE DAY THAT THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS WERE BEING HONORED IN WASHINGTON AARON HERNADEZ, FORMER STAR PLAYER, WAS FOUND DEAD BY HIS OWN HAND.

OBVIOUSLY, PARTICULARLY IN THE NORTHEAST, THE STORY MADE HEADLINES.

HERNANDEZ, WHO HAD PLAYED IN A SUPERBOWL, DIED IN SMALL JAIL CELL, SOME 45 MILES FROM GILLETTE STADIUM.

PEOPLE BEGAN TO TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT HIS LIFE AND HOW HE THREW IT ALL AWAY.

I DON’T KNOW THE EXACT OR EVEN CORRECT TERM TO APPLY TO THIS STORY OTHER THAN TO SAY IT’S TRAGIC.

THAT SEEMS TO BE THE WORD MOST PEOPLE ARE ATTACHING TO THE LIFE OF AARON HERNANDEZ.

TO MOST PEOPLE A LIFE THAT OFFERS IMMENSE RICHES, FAME AND ADULATION WOULD BE ENOUGH.

THE PUBLIC IS OFTEN SEDUCED BY LIVES OF CELEBRITIES.

WE FOLLOW THEM, CHEER FOR THEM AND MAKE POSSIBLE THE PRIVILEDGED LIFE THEY LEAD.

BUT HERNANDEZ WAS NO ORDINARY STAR WHO SIMPLY CAME AND WENT.

HIS LIFE DID NOT FIT THE SCRIPT OF AN ORDINARY TRAGEDY.

WHEN HE WAS 22 YEARS OLD HERNANDEZ HAD ALREADY SIGNED A FORTY MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT.

HE WAS ONLY FIVE YEARS REMOVED FROM LIVING THE STREET LIFE IN BRISTOL, CONNECTICUT.

HIS SORDID LIFESTYLE DOES OFFER A WINDOW INTO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN COLLEGES AND THE PROFESSIONAL LEAGUES IDOLIZE SOMEONE WHO CAN CATCH A FOOTBALL BUT
FAIL TO LOOK AT ALL THE RED FLAGS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A WARNING OF THINGS TO COME.

AND THERE WERE PLENTY OF SIGNS THAT TROUBLE WAS COMING.

HERNANDEZ SURROUNDED HIMSELF WITH MEN WHO HAD GUNS AND DRUGS.

HE LIVED A DOUBLE LIFE.

ON THE FIELD A TIGHT END WHO WAS DESTINED FOR FAME BUT OFF THE FIELD HERNANDEZ WAS A WANNABE GANGSTER.

BUT AS WE ALL KNOW THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA AND LATER THE PATRIOTS SOMEHOW LOOKED PAST HIS HABITS AND TRIED TO GET HIM ON “THE RIGHT TRACK”, A COURSE OF ACTION THAT WAS DOOMED TO FAILURE FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.

HERNANDEZ WAS DESTINED TO BE A KILLER BECAUSE HE LIKED GANG LIFE, GUNS AND TATTOOS.

THE TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS OF AARON HERNANDEZ ARE NOW OPEN TO THE WORLD TO SEE.

AND MOST OF US CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT.

THERE ARE PLENTY OF ATHLETES WHO COME FROM TOUGH CIRCUMSTANCES BUT DON’T END UP AS CONVICTED KILLERS.

SO WHILE HERNANDEZ HAD A HARDSCRABBLE YOUTH THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR HOW HE LIVED HIS LIFE.

AND LITTLE EXCUSE FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LOOKED THE OTHER WAY.

AS WHEN THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LOOKED PAST HIS FIGHT WITH A BAR BOUNCER WHEN HE WAS 17.

WHEN POLICE IN THE SUNSHINE STATE QUESTIONED HIM ABOUT A SHOOTING WHEN HE WAS OUT WITH HIS CONNECTICUT FRIENDS.

WHEN HE FAILED NUMEROUS DRUG TESTS BUT KEPT ON PLAYING.

HE WAS A GREAT PLAYER AND FLORIDA WAS ON THE WAY TO A NATIONAL TITLE.

WHEN OTHER N-F-L CLUBS PASSED ON HIM IN THE DRAFT AND HE DROPPED TO THE FOURTH ROUND THE PATRIOTS TOOK A CHANCE.

BECAUSE HIS COLLEGE COACH SAID THAT HE HAD BEEN ” REHABILITATED” HE SIMPLY WAS TOO GOOD TO BE PASSED OVER.

PEOPLE WHO ARE GIVEN SO MUCH IN LIFE SHOULD BE READY TO GIVE BACK TO SOCIETY.

ONCE ATHLETES LEAVE THE PLAYING FIELD OFTEN THEIR LIVES TAKE ON A DIFFERT TONE OR DIMENSION.

THE HARD THING FOR MANY PEOPLE TO COME TO GRIP WITH IS THAT PLAYERS ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN ANYONE ELSE.

THEY ALL HAVE HUMAN FAILINGS AND CHARACTER FLAWS JUST AS YOU AND I.

CERTAINLY SOME OF OUR MOST IDOLIZED SPORTS HEROS HAVE BEEN IMMENSE DISSAPPOINTMENTS.

O-J SIMPSON, LANCE ARMSTRONG, PETE ROSE AND EVEN TIGER WOODS.

BUT AARON HERNANDEZ TOOK IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL.

SO I’M NOT WILLING TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR HIM.

HIS LIFE BECAME, FOR WHATEVER REASONS, A COMPLETE WASTE OF WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.

MY SYMPATHY IS WITH HIS VICTIMS AND HIS YOUNG DAUGHTER WHO WILL NEVER HAVE HER FATHER BUT WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITH HIS DEEDS FOREVER.

BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAY DON’T CONFUSE GAME STATISTICS WITH CHARACTER.

THE LESSON LEARNED FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IS PICK YOUR FRIENDS AND HEROS CAREFULLY.

CHARLES BARKLEY SAID IT BEST I THINK: “I’M NOT A ROLE MODEL. JUST BECAUSE I CAN DUNK A BASKETBALL DOESN’T MEAN I SHOULD RAISE YOUR KIDS.”

THIS IS GEORGE HALE WITH MY PERSPECTIVE ON SPORTS