Breaking News and Pretty Little Liars: The Aaron Hernandez Arrest that Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone has Gone Down
Aaron Hernandez was just arrested and released by the Patriots. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. What has been interesting is the differing angles this story has taken. Late last week when it broke the general media take was, “Oh snap! A Patriot killed somebody!” (For reading along these line’s check out this article by Deadspin – it details the live feed of Hernandez driving around in his SUV says, and I quote, “Today has circus potential.”) Then when an arrest failed to occur over the weekend the story changed to, “We can’t assume too much about Hernandez based on his past.” (From the same source, Deadspin, this article downplays context and is entitled “The Stupid, Stupid Implications About Aaron Hernandez’s ‘Ominious’ Past.”)
I think Aaron Hernandez’s past does matter. There are consequences for actions. One of the consequences for continually being in or being around trouble is that when more trouble arises and you might or might not be involved, people will assume the worst. It’s a kind of residual hit for previous wrongdoing, and I’m totally OK with it. I believe in “second chances,” sure. But I don’t believe in “a clean slate” without cause. Why did we wipe Hernandez’s slate clean? Because he plays in the NFL? Because he didn’t get caught using drugs during his first three years in the league? Because there are only two reported incidents in the last 12 months involving him and a dispute and a gun (one a lawsuit alleging he shot a man in the eye, another about beef with a Jets fan) (outside of the possible murder charge)? Why exactly is his past irrelevant?
I’m sure most of you, being college football fans, are big fans of the ABC Family Original Series Pretty Little Liars. What’s that? Nobody other than Casey Carpenter? Hmmm….well here’s that show’s miserably addicting existence summarized in a few bullet points:
- High school girls hang out and gossip.
- One night group gets their drink on, leader of group disappears.
- Leader of the group (Alison) is not found.
- Other four girls (Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer) look suspicious as they “don’t remember anything.”
- Turns out Alison is dead. They find her body a year later.
- The other girls don’t get convicted but they refuse to be totally forthright with the cops (drinking is never mentioned, etc.).
- It also becomes increasingly evident that none of them really liked Alison.
- They continue to dig around like a bunch of girls who MomYouCrazy would describe as “Looking for trouble.”
- Their curiosity and lack of normal social lives places them around a number of other crimes – other murders, vandalism, grave exhumation, theft ,driving of a police car into a lake (seriously), etc. Just small stuff.
- They continue to act outraged when they are suspects in every single crime that goes on in the sick and twisted town of Rosewood.
Aaron Hernandez is a pretty little liar. Did he kill Oldin Lloyd? Maybe or maybe not. But he certainly had enough ties to imply some semblance of motive – Oldin was Hernandez’s girlfriend’s sister’s ex-boyfriend (or something like that). There could have been enough beef to compel Hernandez to go with his buddies, get Oldin nice and liquored up (they were seen together at a bar) and then shoot him. Or enough disdain to lead him to get his buddies involved in the dirty work while he watched.
But what really makes Hernandez look guilty – and in my opinion immune to “seeming innocent despite his past” – is the fact that he has had previous run-ins with the law (marijuana use, failed drug tests, bar fights, a lawsuit saying he shot a guy, etc.). Combine those scraps with his destruction of a cellphone and home surveillance equipment during a police investigation of this homicide and suddenly Aaron Hernandez ain’t lookin so squeaky clean.
Pretty Little Liars survives on the assumption that
teenaged girls grown men like me will side with the Liars because they see the “good” in them. The writers and producers keep the show moving by banking (literally) on viewers’ desire to ignore Liars’ tendencies to break laws, act suspicious, drink and use drugs, date their high school teachers, lie to authorities (police and parents alike), lie to each other and otherwise suck at doing the right thing. That plan obviously works on a high school murder mystery within the context of ABC Family programming (case in point: the show is in its fourth season and has a loose spin-off starting in the Fall). However, that type of thinking does not work in the real world.
Contrary to what the media has tried to sell over the past two or three days, Hernandez’s past does matter. Hernandez’s shady friends, bad habits and brushes with the law do provide context. Is he entitled to a fair trial by jury? Absolutely. I hope he gets one. But it is ridiculous to expect the general public – the folks who have been taught (rightfully so) to stay away from drug-using, gun-wielding criminals and those who associate with such types – to give Hernandez the benefit of the doubt. There are consequences for bad decisions. And, unfortunately for Hernandez, a bad reputation is just as valuable as a good one.
That’s all I got/