Every so often a story aggressively attacks the NFL community, requiring the suspension of belief if not the unwanted attention that it demands. It's the sad reality of a show that offers no filters on players and people, sometimes devolving into filth that not only hurts the player, but those around him as well.
Aaron Hernandez's story isn't a good one. But it's one that won't go away. Some of us are drawn to it, not unlike the morbid fascination to watch a wrecked car on the side of the highway. From being indicted on first-degree murder, to drive-by shootings, and the use of PCP, all of it was documented in Rolling Stone's article Gangster in the Middle.
By now, even Hernandez seems to have sensed that he was wildly off course. According to a source close to Hernandez, he flew to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this past February and confided to Belichick that his life was in danger. Hernandez was trying to break away from the gangsters he’d befriended. He worried "they were actually trying to kill him," says the source. Hernandez began arming himself, stashing a rifle in his gym bag and installing a 14-camera security system at his mansion. "He was very paranoid, but was that because of his addictions or because he was trying to leave the gang?"
The story talks about a wrecked human being, wasted in a society that kept him buried underneath the weight of past choices. His choices. No excuse. Hernandez regularly used drugs, cut himself off from his own family and teammates, began carrying weapons because he was worried about gangster associates possibly trying to kill him. At one point, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick threatened to trade or release Hernandez due to repeated missed practices and thug-like stunts.
There are some capable of ignoring the story of Hernandez. Others slow down and watch the wreck unfold on the side of the road.