Colin Dunlap: Easy To Bash Hernandez Now
It’s all going to come out now.
Check that — it’s already starting to come out.
The former Patriots tight end and now accused murderer Aaron Hernandez, wasn’t such a good guy, was he?
And this isn’t some revelation that arose in the very recent past, either.
There are the unsubstantiated rumblings and undercurrents of failed drug tests and gang ties that goes back to his time at the University of Florida.
And then there is the tangible stuff, like the photo that surfaced on TMZ.com on Wednesday of a then-19-year-old Hernandez brandishing a Glock for a tough-guy iPhone selfie in 2009.
Also, in Thursday’s editions of the Dayton Daily News, former Patriots offensive lineman and teammate of Hernandez, Matt Light, said: “I never talk about other guys, but I will say I have never embraced – never believed in – anything Aaron Hernandez stood for.”
OK, easy to say now, but why didn’t anyone speak up when Hernandez was in the throes of helping you win football games?
The Boston Globe on Thursday reported Hernandez never fit into the Patriots locker room and had a childish outburst his rookie season directed at respected receiver Wes Welker.
Again, same thing.
Such is an easy after-the-fact direction and stance.
Why didn’t people step in and make a statement, step up and chide Hernandez while these incidents were going on?
Know why? I do. Because Hernandez was helping his team win and winning trumps all.
Well, almost all. The cops have to step in when there’s a dead body.
Here’s another trail I’m going down here: I’m ready to go ahead and make the leap that Hernandez, who is now lodged in jail, was an understood risk when the Patriots drafted him in 2010 with a fourth-round selection.
Furthermore, one general manager for an NFL team harkened back to the days before that draft and recently certified to USA Today that “there was a general concern about him” when speaking of Hernandez.
Certainly, there probably wasn’t a mountain — or more than a few shreds — of evidence at the time that would have led anyone to believe there could be a connection of the dots to where, a few years later, Hernandez would be the man answering to a murder rap.
But knowing what they knew, and now what has and will continue to come to light, the Patriots (who drafted him) and the other teams (who passed on him) knew there was a certain risk involved. So, the fundamental question with a guy such as Hernandez is, why draft him?
Is the National Football League truly dedicated to cleaning up the image that has been tarnished with myriad arrests over the recent past?
Are they interested in pro-activity, or is it solely reactionary?
Every player drafted, or signed as a free agent, into the league carries some degree of quantifiable risk. Some, like Hernandez, would appear to carry more.
Perhaps some people will find a degree of endorsement in the coming days in being able to point out that they saw this coming with Hernandez, that there were tell-tale tipoffs that he could do something very, very wrong. In fact, a few have already spoken to such a truth and one very haunting photo has surfaced.
But, you want to do something noble, NFL?
How about vetting guys such as this more thoroughly before they enter into your league, or making the punishment when they get in trouble off-the-field more severe? Remember, this is a league that still allows the Cowboys to have Josh Brent on its 90-man roster.
The same Josh Brent who is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge for allegedly driving drunk and killing another Cowboys player, Jerry Brown.
And, oh yes, Brent failed a drug test while awaiting trial on the DUI manslaughter charge. But, like was pointed out, he’s still employed by, in essence, the NFL.
In the aftermath of the murder charges being filed against Hernandez, the stories of his ill behavior will, almost definitely, continue to surface.
Don’t you, like I do, wonder why no one said anything while these behaviors were happening?
I think I will answer my own question: Because he was helping his team win.
Colin Dunlap is the featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Check out his bio here.