Dark and ominous clouds are starting to form around the NFL with the news that New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will likely be interviewed by police in connection with a murder investigation. It’s not the first an NFL player has been suspected of wrongdoing, nor is it the first time an active NFL player has been linked to a murder investigation, but hearing the news still sends shock waves throughout the league.
It’s far too early to speculate or extrapolate anything based on the little information we have, but the initial details of the case are attention grabbing. The body being found near Hernandez’s home could be coincidental, but could be considered less coincidental considering it was the rental car linked to the murder that initially led police to Hernandez. Police seeking a warrant to search his home and Hernandez being described as “uncooperative” are also details that could justifiably raise a few eyebrows.
As for Hernandez, despite being drafted in 2010, he is still just 23 years old, which is awfully young for someone about to enter his fourth NFL season. He came to the NFL from the University of Florida, a school that doesn’t exactly have a squeaky clean reputation for the off-field behavior of its football players. It may also be relevant to note that Hernandez spent the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery, so he may have had more free time than usual during the offseason. This information is all circumstantial, so it may not mean anything, but they are little details that could make people think twice before assuming that someone like Hernandez couldn’t have been involved in such a tragic situation.
Although Hernandez has not been described as a suspect, the situation is obviously in its initial stages and is far from a conclusion. There’s no reason for anyone to jump to conclusions, but any kind of connection to something so serious is reason to be alarmed. Also, if investigators are seeking out Hernandez and the murder victim has some kind of connection to him, the situation should be disconcerting for both the Patriots and the NFL, as it is the kind of distraction that neither wants to deal with or have hanging over them as the season approaches.
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How this will affect Hernandez or the Patriots on the field is the last thing that should be on anybody’s mind. A story like this can quickly move off of the sports page and onto the front page, and that’s the last thing anybody wants to see happen. However, considering the way similar events have unfolded in the past with pro athletes, everyone should be concerned and everyone should be on high alert.
For now, Hernandez is simply involved in a curious situation that’s worth monitoring. But with an obvious connection to a murder investigation and a few ominous details, the storm clouds have started to gather over Hernandez, the Patriots, and the NFL, and at least right now, there’s a chance they could start to rain down.