In this Saints roundtable discussion, Advocate sportswriter Ted Lewis and contributors Gary Estwick and Guerry Smith and Brian Allee-Walsh talk about the Aaaron Hernandez situation.
What lessons can we take from the Aaron Hernandez affair?
Lewis: Two come to mind. First there is an underground gun culture in the NFL, as Mike DiMauro so well outlined in the Boston Herald on Thursday. Why these young men feel they must be so well-homed, both at home and in their cars, often with unlicensed and large-capacity firearms is something for sociologists and psychologists to talk about better than I can, but it's there. On the same weekend as the funeral of Odin Lloyd, whom Hernandez is accused of murdering, Joe Lefeged of the Indianapolis Colts was arrested for possession of a unregistered semiautomatic in his car. It's just not going away. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, young men with large amounts of money attract all kinds of hangers-on. Tyrann Mathieu didn't get himself a shot at the NFL until he shook off those who had glommed on to him since his days at LSU. Aaron Hernandez reportedly kept it real with his old buddies from Bristol , Conn. We've all made bad decisions in our lives. Even if somehow he isn't convicted, Aaron Hernandez certainly will pay for his.
Estwick: Another problem with money is that it sometimes makes think you're smarter than you really are. After the fact, Hernandez can attest to this. And to your point, Ted, if you need a gun with you to go to certain places, maybe you shouldn't be there in the first place.
Smith: I covered Hernandez for two years at the University of Florida and I knew he was a troubled guy with major issues. I really don't think we can read too much into what money and fame do to an athlete in his case. His actions, if what has been charged and reported are accurate, are far beyond the scope of what has been done by others. Execution style murders? Ordering hits? The gun culture is a huge problem in sports and the NFL in particular, but the Hernandez case is an isolated incident. At least I sure hope it is.
Allee-Walsh: Once again we are reminded that the draft is an inexact science, and not just in terms of physical ability. Hernandez apparently had major character issues coming out of college. Those issues scared off some teams. The Patriots rolled the dice and took him in the fourth round, believing the Patriot Way ultimately would show a troubled young man the appropriate way. Well, fame and fortune don't make the man; never have, never will. A leopard never changes its spots!
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