Views from Vega
By Elizabeth Vega
Since January, Aaron Hernandez showed America just what kind of legal team and alliances a forty-million-dollar contract and an intimidating demeanor can get.
And when the former NFL star was found guilty last week on first-degree murder charges, he made no attempt to save any face.
At times during the trial, he was even caught winking at his fiancee.
The 25-year-old former Patriot tight end will now trade in his cleats for shoes with no laces and his No. 81 jersey for a jumpsuit as he serves his life sentence less than four miles where he was once a star at Gillette Stadium.
For a man who had it all, he never could escape his thug ways and it ultimately sent him crashing.
Hernandez already had a troubled past in his hometown of Bristol, Conn. and things seemed to spill over when he played for the University of Florida.
The death of his father in 2006 was a major factor in Hernandez’s life but his brother DJ, was never found in the same trouble as his brother.
Hernandez’s story seemed like one that is all too familiar among NFL players: coming from a rough childhood and using football as an outlet, leading to a better future.
Sports are often used as a way to reform, but that did not work for Hernandez.
He never could get away from his Bristol buddies, and even after fights at a nightclub and shooting his friend in the face, his talents far outweighed the need to dismiss him from any team.
Sure, the Patriots and NFL did not know that they were employing a forty-million-dollar murderer, and most players with the same story are able to become great citizens, but Hernandez seemed to be living a double life that he could not keep separated for long.
He chose the thug life over the good life he had, and the Patriots quickly moved to erase his affiliation with the team.
It makes one wonder if Hernandez will ever lie awake in his cell at the realization of what he lost: a multimillion-dollar contract, adoring fans in a sports-crazed town and the potential to be among the great in the NFL.
If he hadn’t been arrested in 2013, he would have been a Super Bowl champion this past February.
For what little it is worth, Hernandez could not choose the life he was born into.
He could not choose where or how he grew up, or all the other choices his family chose to make in his childhood, but he did have a big opportunity to choose if he stayed that way.
He chose wrong.