And another one: The Foxboro Wake-Up Call

Gun. Execution style. NFL. Murder. Four words you will not typically find in the same story but this became a reality on Wednesday when former New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez, was charged with first degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd.

When this story broke last Monday, I will admit that it did not seem to be anything major, initially. The one thing that did peak my interest was the fact that they were reporting that the place where the body was found was near Hernandez’s home. That bit of information would lead one to believe the authorities are looking at a possible connection between Hernandez and the death of Lloyd. As the week went on, there were rumblings of a destroyed cellphone, destroyed surveillance videos from Hernandez’s home and pending obstruction of justice charges. Helicopters followed Hernandez as he left his home and went to the Patriots facility. Reporters ambushed him at a gas station. He disappeared off the public radar for a few days. Then a hush fell over the crowd…

All was relatively quiet until yesterday. 8:45am. Breaking news. Aaron Hernandez arrested. Charges unknown. Approximately, two hours later, the Patriots made a statement regarding Hernandez via Twitter. It simply said, “The New England Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez.” And there is your red flag. The fact that the Patriots felt that they needed to take this position lead me to believe that whatever charges had been levied against Hernandez were serious. I was thinking accessory to murder, maybe aiding and abetting along with obstruction of justice. I never once thought a first degree murder charge was what was levied against Hernandez. Wait, there is more. In addition to the murder charge, he was charged with one count of carrying a firearm without a license, two counts of possessing a large-capacity firearm and two counts of possessing a firearm without an FID( firearms ID card and allows the holder to possess non-large-capacity rifles and shotguns in his or her home)card. Wow. Just wow. Maybe I was being naive. Maybe I should have figured out by now that he was going to be charged with the murder. Hey! I am not a police officer, an attorney nor do I work in law enforcement so yes I was shocked.

So what do we know? We know that Hernandez, Lloyd and two others were together the morning of the murder. There is surveillance footage of Hernandez leaving home with a gun. We know that Lloyd texted his sister, “do you see who I am with?”. When she responded with “who”, he texted her at 3:22am and said “NFL.” Within a few minutes after that text was sent, Lloyd was shot multiple times and died at the scene. Wow. Just wow.

We all know the law states that a person is innocent until proven guilty. The only people that know for sure what took place that night were the people who were present and unfortunately one of them is dead. As a fan of the NFL, I would like to believe that no player is reckless enough to commit such a despicable act but you just never know. I never expected to wake up on December 1, 2012 and hear that  former Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher committed a murder-suicide. I never expected to wake up one week later on December 8, 2012 and hear that the Dallas Cowboys Josh Brent had killed his teammate, Jerry Brown, while driving under the influence of alcohol. Just because a player plays for the NFL does not mean they are not capable of committing crimes just like anyone else. One is just left to wonder why a person would do such a thing when they have been gifted an opportunity that many wish they had. Why throw it all away in a split second?

All of these situations serve as wake up calls. Not just for NFL players. Not just for professional athletes. They serve as wake up calls for all of us. Whether they serve as a call for people to get help, change their lifestyles or examine the company they keep, they all serve as a reminder that lives can change in an instant when bad choices are made. Each one of us owes it to ourselves to sit down and evaluate our lives to see if there are changes that need to be made in order to assure we live a life that is meaningful, purposeful and not harmful to others. Typically, if we do our part to ensure that evil, envy, deceit and anger is not present in our lives, it rarely finds a way to damage the life we have worked so hard for.

Until next time….TOODELLS.

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