I wish I could hold sympathy for a murderer. In fact, how do you even sympathize with a millionaire murderer? He had it all and seemingly threw it all away. Why? The irony of the street culture is we only glorify the success stories. We speak of the entertainers and pro athletes. Who remain ingratiated in the “street” culture. The ones who even profit off of it. But we don’t see the nonsuccess stories. Countless young men losing their lives to the streets. Either to prison or death; and in this case both. We speak of Aaron Hernandez’s talent and how he wasted it. Unfortunately, those around him knew his propensity for violence. They knew his upbringing and knew the high risks of dealing with a man with alleged gang ties. These gang tie allegations didn’t just appear. They’ve always been there and those who wished to profit off of Hernandez, turned a blind eye to them. In America, the using of black and brown bodies for profit. Isn’t a new phenomenon. The overlooking of fundamental character flaws of these black and brown bodies; isn’t new either. Athletes have always been a privileged class. Athlete’s major transgressions have always been overlooked at every level; simply because the talent of the athlete is so superior to everyone else, that not allowing it to be displayed is almost “criminal”. The overlooking of academic issues, character issues and even psychological issues proves those who position these athletes to thrive, do so with selfish intentions. Coaches and mentors scream of getting kids an education. But fail to mention the selfish gain they receive from getting the kids there. Hernandez’s trouble began at 16, but his talent flourished. The rebellion started after the death of his father and continued. Even still, D-1 schools came calling. Offering what they could for his body and disregarded the mind that came with it (Early Signs).
This isn’t to absolve Aaron Hernandez of guilt. He murdered a “friend” senselessly. The same way many young men in the inner city murder each other senselessly. A million dollars, can never change your mentality. Growth and maturity can only do that. In fact, instant wealth, mixed with the entitlement of being an athlete, is a recipe for failure, especially if placed in the wrong individual’s hand. I understand the allure of the “street” culture. We continue to idolize those who can make their living in the “streets”. We speak of “hood” legends of the 80’s and 90’s who peddled crack to our relatives and caught “licks” with stolen credit cards. The mentality in the “street” is counter to how the true would works. What’s wrong in life, is often glorified in the “streets” and vice versa. I don’t know what we can learn from this. Most of us won’t look at the overall trap set for these prized bodies, that coaches profit off of, by getting them to play a game they love. How can we expose the hypocrisy of athletics? How can we hold our star athletes accountable early on? This is bigger then Aaron Hernandez. He represents a culture and a elite group of people. The difference is Hernandez made his mistakes at the highest level. There are many Aaron Hernandez’s that you’ve never heard of. Mainly because most people with Hernandez’s propensity for violence and street culture. Would have already made a mistake, before ever reaching the NFL. Every year young college students are arrested for assaults or serious gun charges. Many receive slaps on the wrist.
Aaron Hernandez committed suicide on April 19th, 2017. He was serving a life sentence for murder. He leaves behind a young mother and her child. More importantly he leaves a dark legacy. He will infamously be remembered as a murderer. His suicide ruined his chance at redemption. We could have learned so much from his example and through interaction he could have taught us. How to help other athletes and just other people in general avoid his same fate. Now we will never know. His name will be forgotten. His example will hardly be remembered. We will continue to highlight the entertainers and athletes who glorify the “street” culture. They in return will continue to profit off of this glorification. Young men will continue to be used for their athletic prowess, while disregarding their mental and psychological needs. Needs developed from the circumstances many of these athletes come from. I would love for Aaron Hernandez’s life to be a stark reminder of how you can easily throw your life away. But honestly, we’ve had countless examples. It never prevented young men from throwing their lives away before and it probably won’t now.
Our problem is our ideology. We glorify criminality and act as if doing so, doesn’t create young criminals. Until we change our culture and the way we develop young men in it. We will just sit and wait for some young black or brown person to throw it all away, again. We will shake our heads and then get back to our daily routines. Those on the outside will still poach inner city talent. Disregarding red flags and early signs. The using of black and brown bodies to succeed is too profitable for them to stop. The same way the enslavement of an entire people, was at one point too profitable to be stopped. America will continue to exploit black and brown bodies at any cost; its the American way to success. Aaron Hernandez is a murderer and he decided to murder himself. I see a bit of irony in that. Either way, he should have made better choices with the opportunity he was given. Some will argue that he should have never had the opportunity in the first place. Those people don’t set the premium on black and brown bodies. Rest In Peace to Odin Lloyd. The man Hernandez murdered. Rest In Peace to Aaron Hernandez a murderer and millionaire victim to the vicious street cycle he loved.