My husband rarely gets involved in public debates. The last time he had an opinion was the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. These days he’s a bit gap mouthed about the reaction to American football player Aaron Hernandez who has been imprisoned over murder charges. A bad week for Hernandez, who it must be said has a load of circumstantial evidence weighing against him, including possible destroyed evidence.
The New England Patriots, Hernandez’s employer to the tune of a multi-million dollar, multi-year contract, fired him on the day of his arrest. They even offered a jersey exchange. As in fans could turn in their Hernandez jerseys for any other player they chose. Needless to say, the jerseys are already rising in value, very close to becoming collectors’ items.
American pop culture has no shortage of athletes who have trouble managing their personal lives. Think of the O.J. Simpson car chase and you have the worst of celebrity culture and the justice system crashing head-on.
What happens next for the young Hernandez, only 25 years old, remains to be seen. What is clear is that there are two courts: one of public opinion and one governed by legal courts. In the age of social media and the twenty-four hour news cycle, however, the lines between the two are more blurred than ever.