Aaron Hernandez died in his jail cell two days ago. Prison officials said it was a suicide; Hernandez’ former agent and his attorney both say there is no way Hernandez took his own life. Already the Internet in general and the “Twitter-verse” in particular have taken sides in this “debate”. As is commonplace in Internet debates on many topics, the lines have already been drawn and sides have already been taken. Rather than wade into those fetid pools I will prefer to state what I am confident that I know now and to await the results of any further investigations before I draw any conclusions.
- Aaron Hernandez was found hanged by the neck using a bed sheet. He was housed in a single cell in a Massachusetts prison. He was pronounced dead by a physician at a medical facility near the prison.
- Aaron Hernandez was serving a “life-without-parole” sentence in the prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd. That conviction came several years ago.
- Aaron Hernandez was found “not guilty” of a double murder earlier this week. He was found guilty of a firearms violation associated with that double murder and that added 4 years to his “life-without-parole” sentence. [Aside: That seems like not much of a deal to me…]
Those are things that I know for sure. I am not interested in the least in participating in any discussions of conspiracy theories and so I will await the findings from at least two investigations that will happen. Why two investigations? Aaron Hernandez‘ family has retained the attorney who just defended Hernandez in the double-murder acquittal to be the executor of Hernandez’ estate and he is one of the people saying there is no way Hernandez took his own life. The prison officials will need to do an investigation of the incident; the attorney will almost assuredly do his own investigation; both of these activities will reveal facts and I will then draw my own conclusions based on all the facts that are brought to light. Until then, let me only say this:
- Aaron Hernandez was not a wonderful human being. We know he murdered Odin Lloyd and we know he was present at the site of the double murder of which he was acquitted.
- I can only hope that the surviving family members of all the deceased involved in this saga find peace for themselves so that the survivors can get on with their lives in some productive vein.
- The death of a convicted murderer is not going to elicit a tsunami of sympathy from me. At the same time, if his death came at the hands of some other person, that other person needs to stand trial for that act.
Moving on to college basketball … Grayson Allen announced this week that he has decided to return to Duke for his final year of eligibility and to forego the NBA Draft this season. This announcement has generated hyperbolic reaction. This has been called a “momentous decision” by the “most famous college basketball player in the country”.
We could get ourselves into a nuanced discussion of Allen’s level of “fame” as opposed to his level of “infamy” and then into a discussion of whether his infamy contributes significantly to his fame. Or we might pump the brakes just a bit here.
Maybe – – just maybe – – Grayson Allen is an actual student-athlete who enjoys the college experience. Maybe – – just maybe – – Grayson Allen is sufficiently self-aware that he knows he is not going to be one of the most coveted players in the NBA Draft and that his standing in the draft might be better with another year of college basketball for scouts to evaluate. Maybe – – just maybe – – Grayson Allen is attracted to the idea of playing for Duke where he and his team are very likely to win 80% or more of the times they take the court as opposed to the random chance that he will wind up with a team like the Brooklyn Nets. Or maybe – – just maybe – – none of these things apply to this situation and Grayson Allen just decided this is what he wanted to do next year.
My point here is that there are loads of explanations and motivations here that would not come close to being “momentous”; and in fact, there could be many explanations that would only be marginally interesting if we knew them in detail. I would not be surprised if I ever knew all that went into Grayson Allen’s decision that my reaction would be along the lines of, “Well, OK then …”
Recently, we learned that Tony Romo was going to take Phil Simms’ place as the color analyst with Jim Nantz on the CBS lead TV announcing team for NFL games. Lots of people – me included – wondered how Romo would do in this role given his lack of broadcasting experience but we had to await further information with regard to what Simms would be doing and how he might do in whatever his new role might be. Now we know.
- Phil Simms will replace Tony Gonzalez on NFL Today – the CBS studio show that is intermingled with NFL telecasts on that network.
- This season the NFL Today crew will be James Brown, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason, Bart Scott and Phil Simms.
Having seen Simms perform in a studio-like show on HBO occasionally, I suspect that he will be comfortable with his new assignment and I think he will add to the discussions there.
Finally, here is a timely observation from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the cabin wall when United Airlines discovers that its flight full of MMA fighters is overbooked?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports……..