EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

July 2, 2013

Another one bites the dust

Hernandez another victim of superstar treatment

It is my favorite part of Mike Muldoon’s annual “Oath to parents, coaches and athletes” that runs just before every new high school season in the fall.

The first four paragraphs:

Teachers, coaches, parents, classmates and entire towns do a tremendous disservice by giving a star athlete special treatment.

True story. After playing big-time college football, the most popular, best-looking kid in my high school class turned into a drug addict who robbed the unsuspecting, aging parents of his friends and lived under a bridge.

I always wondered if his receiving kid-glove treatment due to his athletic prowess was the reason.

If the kid deserves to be failed, fail him. If he deserves to be suspended, suspend him. If he deserves to be arrested, arrest him.

Here’s a hunch. If the some of people in Aaron Hernandez’s life had listened to the opening stanzas of Muldoon's popular column, he might be a real, honest-to-goodness man and citizen.

Instead, because of his incredible, God-given athletic talent, he was given what seems to be an infinite number of passes ... or get-out-of-jail free passes.

Well, those passes have run dry. An athlete of Hernandez’s caliber — he recently signed a $40 million deal — can get away with just about every crime known to man. Except murder.

We are going to get Hernandez’s life story soon. And the early reports are that it wasn’t easy. His father died when he was 16, and he had been teetering on the “wrong side” for most of his teen years and even into his 20s.

Guns appear to have been a part of his life since the latter stages of his high school years and then in college, including his being questioned during a much-publicized incident when he was a freshman at the University of Florida when a man was critically wounded in the head. He was also reportedly arrested as a freshman at Florida.

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