Netflix docuseries uncovers what led to football player’s demise


Courtesy of Creative Commons

During the 2013 off-season, Hernandez was charged for the murder of semi-professional player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée.

Aaron Hernandez was a promising young man with tremendous athletic abilities and a charming, cool and quiet personality. Off the football field, Hernandez was an emotional ticking time bomb.

“Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez”, a limited Netflix series, is disturbing, rampant with emotion and painful to watch. After watching the first episode, you can’t help but feel sorry for Hernandez— the man was what the film called a “crash dummy”: someone willing to do something brash just for attention. I mean you can’t blame him. According to the documentary, Hernandez received little love and affection from an alcoholic, abusive and homophobic father.

The documentary begins by showing Hernandez walking out of his house in handcuffs after being accused of murdering Odin Lloyd. Then, the documentary tries to convince the audience that Hernandez wasn’t exactly a monster by describing the hardships he endured as a kid all the way through his NFL career. Then, it returns to Hernandez’s conviction for the murder of Lloyd. Essentially, by abruptly switching storylines between Hernandez’s public and personal life, the film strives to show the volatility of Hernandez’s double personality while focusing on Hernandez’s dark side.

Yes, it is important to document the “dark side” of an NFL player’s life. Football players are often revered in the United States as super-human. However, football players are human and just because they show a good public front doesn’t mean that their personal lives are perfect.

The series revolves around Hernandez’s fall. From a man who was catching touchdown passes for the New England Patriots in his early 20s to a man whose constant anger and frustration transformed him into a monster that would eventually end his life.

Let’s focus on the world of sports, particularly when it comes to an athlete’s sexuality. Football players traditionally have been the epitome of masculinity–tough, strong and resilient. Imagine the anger, frustration and agony that a football player feels knowing they have to hide their sexuality from a traditionally homophobic fan base: it’s devastating.

While the series tried to convince the audience that Hernandez became aggressive and a cold-blooded killer because he was hanging with crooks, not an episode passed where approximately 15-30 minutes of the episode were devoted to discussing Hernandez’s homosexual tendencies.

The docu-series briefly alludes to Hernandez’s extensive sexual encounters with other men. Also, DJ,  Hernandez’s older brother states that he believes, or rather knows that his younger brother was sexually abused as a kid. In a subtle way, the series is trying to promote tolerance and an open mind towards gay men (particularly football players) who are petrified because of the toxic masculine society who inevitably will reject them simply because of their sexual orientation.

According to the film, Hernandez had to learn how to bottle up his emotions as a child– as his father was extremely homophobic. While Hernandez was close with his father, he felt restrained and unable and unwilling to freely express himself. 

The series’ climax is the death of Hernandez’s father. Even though his father was the least bit perfect and often would hurt Hernandez’s feelings, he provided a sturdy authoritative figure for Hernandez. After his father’s death, Hernandez was alone, shocked and angry.

This series is not recommended for people who are sensitive towards violence, drugs, death or homosexuality. The film can cause a mix of strong emotions— most notably anger, frustration and sympathy. 

Regardless, the post mortem pop culture phenomenon and celebritization of Hernandez needs to stop. Despite how much we try to get rid of all of this Hernandez propaganda, it will always be rebooted and revered because of his stature as an NFL player. Enough. The victim’s families have suffered enough. Let them rest in peace.