FALL FROM GRACE: BY UPPERCUT / SHADOWBOX MVMNT
Please note that our organization takes the topic and issue of suicide very seriously. In a world where news must exist in “real time”, as a media network, certain stories arrive that we must take our time with, in an effort to respect all sides of the situation, deploy due diligence for the family members involved, and assure we are not in the game of rushing to share opinions or information surrounding sensitive topics such as the recent passing of New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez.
Let’s face it, both on the field and off, this young man was more than just a challenge to take down, and was a player embodied by the stature of a “beast” that could simply oppose the concept of “defeat” at all costs. But on April 19, 2017, the 6-2 245 pound Aaron Hernandez was led to his own personal “takedown” by committing suicide, hanging himself in his own cell at a moment where expectations regarding his future were enlightened, through positive court rulings in motion, and a confirmed release from prison coming shortly. The athlete who lived in a 7,000 square foot mansion, was engaged to his girlfriend with whom they had a 4 year old daughter, was no longer. He drove nice cars, played for the best team in the NFL, had all the money so many young adults could ever dream of spending, yet was found dead in his prison cell, with bedsheets declared as his method to cut off his life. In our mind, an action of this nature immediately translates that family, fame and fortune was simply not an alternative for this young man to continue. The Florida Gator graduate who played an integral part in assuring the Patriots nabbed some Lombardi trophies to call their own, was serving a life sentence for shooting and killing his finance’s sisters’ boyfriend four years earlier. Like so many suicides, for friends and family, so many questions remain. Just a couple weeks before his “successful” suicide attempt, Mr. Hernandez was found innocent of a double murder in a completely separate case, leaving behind a verdict that was questioned by many people that got wind of the story. While the verdict of “innocent” wouldn’t essentially foster a new sense of freedom and worth for this talent, it’s an incident of this nature that makes you wonder what was going on through this young man’s head when facing a new start in society. Did he have a guilty conscience about the verdict? Is there a reason, or maybe several, as to why he could no longer live with himself? I guess we will never know, and at this point, its our duty to pay respects and share news in the most respectful fashion we know how.
The story of Aaron Hernandez is tragic to say the least, and where tragedy truly lies, is within the rising statistics regarding suicide and it’s horrific correlation with young male adults worldwide. Past reports entail that he did have “character” and “substance” issues, and was known to surround himself with some pretty tough characters. With a “checkered past” that was exposed in the media and seen through the eyes of many football spectators and fans, the Patriots took a chance by drafting him with hopes he would change his ways. But, in the end Mr. Hernandez didn’t achieve the mental capacity to alter the self destructive habits that ended his life, and has no one to blame but the emotion and struggle surrounding his ability to find new alternatives that may or may not have not, kept him comfortable in this chapter of his life. It’s hard not to ask yourself, how one could somebody throw away so much achievement, when he had everything that so many aspiring athletes strive to obtain. Family, fame, fortune, and now even freedom, was not enough, and that saddens us, because a family can no longer turn to a member that was cherished, and they must live with unanswered questions that the action of suicide leaves behind time and time again. From the football stadiums he played in, to the prison yard he roamed before sleepless nights in lockdown, it’s apparent that for Aaron Hernandez, suicide was his last option and only alternative at this point in his life, a sad end for all the people affected by this horrific calamity.
Looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence, those who love and care about him are saddened and committed to finding the truth surrounding his untimely death. CNN states, “His death marks one of the most dramatic falls from grace by an athlete in recent memory, and comes the same day that many of his former teammates visit the White House as Super Bowl champions.” Hernandez is survived by his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and their 4-year-old daughter.
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Also published on Medium.