Blame Hernandez, mom, not coach, for ex-CT star’s dramatic fall

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To the Editor:

I read and appreciated a recent article in another publication, “The Day Urban Meyer Visited Connecticut.”  The article told an informative, intriguing, yet disturbing, background on Aaron Hernandez’s connections to Connecticut that I was unaware of.

The article recounts a story about Hernandez’s high school football coach telling Urban Meyer it was a bad idea to convince Aaron to de-commit from the University of Connecticut considering Aaron’s father died unexpectedly when Hernandez was 17. Clearly it was a fragile time for the teenager. Hernandez went on to be the No. 1 tight end in the country at the University of Florida then signed a $40 million contract with the New England Patriots.

I feel it is important to play the other side of the ball to the author’s reference to Urban as “the college football coach who recruited him to leave the safe confines of Connecticut to play in Florida.”

Hernandez’s self-inflicted dramatic fall and pending murder charges were not a by-product of “safe confines” in Connecticut. Among many informative articles, The Boston Globe explored the roots and horrific hometown link of Hernandez’s double life of sports star and on-going volatile mix of ex-convict friends, drugs and violence. Sadly, his fall was predicable. At the core: a broken family. His mother sought bankruptcy protection twice and was investigated for her role in a hundreds of thousands of dollar gambling ring when Aaron was 11. Her second marriage was to an ex-convict who previously wed his cousin. That same step-father was later jailed for slashing Aaron’s mother multiple times with a knife. Eventually, they divorced.

While Hernandez is jailed and awaiting trial for his alleged role in three homicides and a long list of other charges, his fiancé is facing charges of lying 29 times to the grand jury.

Caught in the middle?  Avielle Hernandez, their 2-year old daughter. The horrific stories go on and on and on.

I’m not writing exclusively to defend Urban Meyer. Rather, I am writing to implore that we look deeper into the Hernandez story and use it to reiterate and teach the importance of morals, character and family – all of which only briefly “visited” then quickly left the so-called Hernandez “family.” The Hernandez story clearly illustrates what I believe is the number 1 reason for the degradation of society:  the disintegration of family. Furthermore, why is it always someone else’s fault – an aggressive football coach – and not Mr. Hernandez’s?  What explains his brother DJ’s equally successful high school accolades, University of Connecticut student athlete success, a master’s degree and current role as University of Iowa assistant coach? The same brother who Meyer called frequently to get DJ’s insights while heeding DJ’s advice to “keep an eye out” for Aaron after he returns to Florida from any trip to Connecticut.

More importantly, where was Aaron’s mother? It is her job to look out for her 17-year-old son’s interest. I’ll guess where she probably was – celebrating at the thought of him making it much bigger at the University of Florida, which would likely give Aaron significantly higher exposure and chances of a lucrative trip to the NFL vs. the University of Connecticut. I believe she figured Aaron’s millions, among other things, would help patch up fallout from her bankruptcies and along the way buy happiness. It’s simple: no to Florida, Aaron stays in Connecticut. Period.

Lastly, we must not forget another mother – that of Hernandez’s daughter who is partially responsible for leaving Avielle trapped and part of the 70 percent of minority children born to parents that are not married.

Much remains unexplained and perhaps unexplainable. Aggressive recruiter and coach? Yes. Mistakes made by Meyer? Yes. In fact, he admitted his biggest mistake was “I probably gave second chances to some people that maybe shouldn’t.”  But Urban Meyer’s visit to Connecticut  was not a mistake. It was a fantastic opportunity. Especially when the young man was clearly not in the “safe confines of Connecticut.”

Kevin Kane



2 responses to “Blame Hernandez, mom, not coach, for ex-CT star’s dramatic fall”

  1. Casey Smith

    I am SO tired of hearing how criminals are never responsible for their actions. They blame mom, the courts, the police, the guy they bumped into as they were leaving the crime scene, their football coaches who gave them the chance of a life time, their fourth grade teacher who didn’t praise them enough, the black cat that crossed their path on Friday the 13th but never the bad choices they made.

    People around these perps are held accountable for what they may or may not have known. And speaking of football coaches, Joe Paterno’s wins at Penn State were just reinstated, but the NCAA claims they still had the authority to do so. Paterno was never charged with a crime, but his legacy was smeared, a statute of him was removed from the football stadium and all the team’s wins stricken from the books. Those some of those things have now been restored.

    The same pattern is happening here. It’s a case of the “if onlys”. If only Hernandez’s father hadn’t died. If only his mother had been a better parent. If only the UConn coach hadn’t given him a second chance. If only he hadn’t gone to Florida. If only….[fill in the blank with your personal favorite] he would have been an upstanding citizen and doing the right thing. Bottom line is Hernandez knew right from wrong and made his choices. It’s not the coaches fault, the school’s fault, the Patriots’ fault or anyone else’s fault. The flip side of the freedom coin is personal responsibility. And personal responsibility means accepting the consequences of one’s actions. Time to grow up, Hernandez!

  2. Kathleen Montgomery

    Agree Casey.

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