The Jokes About Aaron Hernandez Are Sad

by Bill Brenner on June 27, 2013

Update April 15, 2015: Hernandez has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

A lot of jokes are making the rounds after the arrest of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on first-degree murder charges. It’s human nature to do this sort of thing. But it’s also sad.

Mood music:

One of the more popular jokes had to do with Hernandez switching from tight end to wide receiver, a reference to prison rape.

This is how we can get when the mighty fall. In Hernandez’s case, we have a football star making millions of dollars, living in a mansion and seemingly having life by the balls, only to piss it away by allegedly murdering someone. Hernandez is charged with first-degree murder and faces five firearms charges. According to prosecutors, he drove his friend, 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, to an industrial park in the middle of the night and orchestrated Lloyd’s murder. Hernandez was said to be enraged after a fight at a nightclub three nights earlier.

If he did indeed murder his friend, Hernandez should suffer the consequences, possibly by spending the rest of his life in prison. That’s as it should be. But there’s a lot about this case we don’t have the details on, and we seem to forget that in America, we are innocent until proven guilty.

Life is hard and we all stumble through it, no matter how successful we are. So when someone who has achieved greater success than the rest of us goes down in flames, we tend to find comfort in it.

What we often forget is that we’re all constantly inches away from that one bad decision that can lead us to ruin. I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in life and paid for them all, though it has almost always involved me hurting myself. Some of us abuse and kill ourselves. Others kill someone else.

Of course, it takes a special kind of bad to snuff out someone else’s life, and when that person is atop the world as Hernandez, the shock and disappointment are sharper. No one likes to see their heroes fall. So the harsh judgments come, wrapped in bad jokes.

It’s a shame that we get this way.

I won’t lie: I’ve made the jokes when the mighty have fallen. I’ve laughed at a lot of them when made by others. When Paris Hilton faced jail time a few years ago, a lot of similar prison jokes were made and I chuckled at them.

But more recently, I’ve tried to be better than that. Maybe that makes me a little more self-righteous about the Hernandez jokes than I should be. But there it is.

Ultimately, my hope is simply that those hurt by this case — friends and family of Hernandez and Lloyd — will get the help and support they need in what must be an exceedingly difficult time.

Aaron Hernandez

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Pete June 27, 2013 at 10:59 am

Hi Bill,
Yes, I’m guilty of making that same joke.
No, I won’t apologize for it.

I have been a fan of Hernandez even knowing his background. There’s a reason he went in the 5th round of the draft and not the 1st, and that’s because of his attitude. The Patriots are willing to pick up an otherwise troubled player and make them into a (slightly) better citizen. They give them their 1 do-over.

But this was no tragic accident, it’s not a conspiracy to make Hernandez the bad guy. He made a conscious decision to plot and carry out the brutal murder of his “Friend”, because he was talking to some people that Hernandez didn’t want him to. (If the police testimony is correct). And now possibly another double murder…

We can go on and on and on about his background, his upbringing. But he’s not a teenager. He made it through college. Maybe it was ONLY because of his athletic ability, I don’t know. But somewhere along the line, people must have said to him “You need to leave that world behind. You need to grow up.” If not then the NFL draft should have been a wake-up call, because everyone said it was because of his “Thuggishness” that he didn’t go in the first round.

So, I have no remorse. I have no compassion for him. He made his choice and now he’ll have to live with it. And I’ll probably continue to make jokes about it.


bryan doyle June 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm

People aren’t making jokes about Hernandez because we/they approve of prison rape. It’s because we hate hernandez and what he did!

Linda White June 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Pete said it better than I ever could. He’s a thug. Always has been & even though he was given every chance to leave the past behind, he chose not to & therefore, always will be.

Taking someone else’s life is not simply a “bad decision.” If the allegations against Hernandez are true, he spent two days mulling over this particular “bad decision” before going through with it. Ample time to consider what this would do to the victim’s friends & family, as well as to his own family & newborn baby.

So we make the jokes, not because we like that the mighty have fallen. We make them because we want to see this person punished & since his legal punishment is not ours to mete out, these jokes help give us a sense of satisfaction that he will receive what is coming to him.

ugh August 28, 2013 at 11:39 am

You guys have no mercy, and when faced with difficulties in your own lives, I hope the people surrounding you rise above your level of pettiness and show you mercy. Yes, he brought it on himself, but you don’t have to make jokes as a way to get a “sense of satisfaction”. If making jokes gives you a sense of satisfaction, then you must lead a sad, sad lives….Cheers to all of you on your journey in life…

Cheryl MacKoul April 21, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion regarding this complex series of events. Beyond all the conjecture and analyses 2 talented young men lost their lives. Families will never be the same. Instead of judging we should pray for and try to support them

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