College Blog Blog Network

Ben Volin: ‘We feel sadness for [Aaron] Hernandez.’ No, we don’t

04.19.17 at 10:25 am ET

Boston GlobePatriots coach Bill Belichick said it best last week when asked by CNBC to play word association with Aaron Hernandez. “Tragedy.”

Hernandez’s life took one final sad, tragic turn early Wednesday morning when he committed suicide in his cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. 

… But that his life ended so swiftly, and took such a sharp, dramatic turn, is nothing short of heartbreaking. We feel sadness today for the family of Lloyd, who was shot in a North Attleborough industrial lot at just 28 years old.

We feel sadness for the families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were gunned down by someone in Hernandez’s vehicle in 2012.

Hernandez was found not guilty, likely because his friend, Alexander Bradley, was not a credible witness. The families of the victims sat in court day after day, month after month, hoping for justice, only to find that the state of Massachusetts didn’t have enough corroborating evidence to convict anyone for the murders.

And now, after all that, they see Hernandez take his own life. We feel sadness for his fiancé, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, who sat by Hernandez day after day, year after year, in his two murder trials.

We feel sadness for his daughter, Avielle Janelle Jenkins, who was only seven months old when her father was hauled away in June 2013, and will turn five years old this November. She will grow up without a father and without his NFL millions, and will eventually learn about the terrible things he did.

We feel sadness for Hernandez’s mother, Terri, and brother, D.J., who watched as Aaron’s life spiraled downward. It started with the death of his father, Dennis, in 2006, long before Hernandez turned into a murderer.

And we feel sadness for Hernandez, a smart kid who made several bad decisions. Hernandez literally had the world at his fingertips. He was an All-American tight end at Florida, and a national champion. He was one of the youngest players ever to enter the NFL, getting drafted by the Patriots in 2010 when he was still just 20 years old.

Yes, there are parts of the Aaron Hernandez saga that are sad. It is sad that Hernandez had amazing talent as a football player and threw it all away. It is sad that he couldn’t hold back from murdering people and be a father to his daughter and husband to his fiance/wife and a successful tight end in the NFL. It is sad that the families of the people he killed and might have killed lost those people.

But it is not sad that Aaron Hernandez is dead.

It is not “heart-breaking.”

When Belichick said it’s a tragedy, I’m assuming he meant Hernandez’ wasted talent. When you kill someone with malice and intent, as Hernandez did, it is not a tragedy when you die.

Volin writes: “We feel sadness for Hernandez.” Who the hell is we? I feel no sadness for Hernandez. And if he was actually a smart kid, as Volin wrote, he wouldn’t have killed someone and then left evidence everywhere and ruined his life.

While I’m not sad at all, I would say I’m disappointed. When Hernandez played for the Patriots, I had a huge crush on him. He was charming, had a great smile (I feel disgusting writing that now) and was obviously an amazing player. He and I are also both from Connecticut so when he Patriots signed him it was kind of exciting to see someone who grew up near me play in the NFL.

But this was before he was a murderer and that seems like a lifetime ago. The second he was arrested that all went out the window. He was a vial, selfish human being who had zero regard for other people.

There was “so much sadness” surrounding Hernandez, but it was sadness he created. And now his family and the families of the people who were killed have to live with that.

So good riddance. If you say RIP to Aaron Hernandez or say you feel sad, you are a fool.