A Boston Globe investigative series has found that former NFL standout Aaron Hernandez, who died of suicide in prison last in 2017, was abused as a youth and hid a “sexual relationship” with his male teammate in high school.
The investigative series was based on previously undisclosed communications Hernandez had while in prison, court and government records, and interviews with friends and family members.
Hernandez was a former star tight end on the New England Patriots before he was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd, for which he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He died shortly after he was acquitted of murdering Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, while his appeal on his murder conviction was still pending.
Following his jail cell suicide, an examination found that Hernandez suffered from the most severe case of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repetitive head trauma, ever seen in someone his age.
Aaron’s brother Jonathan Hernandez reportedly told the Boston Globe that their father, Dennis, had been physically abusing and verbally threatening during childhood. He also said that Hernandez confessed that he has been sexually abused as a child, a claim corroborated by one of Hernandez’s attorneys. Both Aaron’s brother and lawyer declined to identify the alleged abuser.
Jonathan Hernandez told the Boston Globe that Dennis Hernandez was preoccupied with what he believed was effeminate behavior on Aaron’s part, and often used homophobic slurs like “fa*****” in their home.
“All the time. Standing. Talking. Acting. Looking,” Jonathan said.
“It was the furthest thing my father wanted you to even look like in our household. This was not acceptable to him.”
A former junior and high school football teammate told the Boston Globe that he and Hernandez were involved in a sexual relationship that both had gone great lengths to hide.
“Me and him were very much into trying to hide what we were doing. We didn’t want people to know,” former quarterback Dennis SanSoucie told the newspaper.
Hernandez’s father died when he was still a teenager. The Boston Globe obtained transcripts of strained jailhouse phone calls with his mother, Terri Hernandez, who declined to be interviewed for the story.
“There’s so many things I would love to talk to you [about], so you can know me as a person,” Aaron once said to his mother on the phone. “But I never could tell you. And you’re gonna die without even knowing your son.”
[Feature image: AP Photo/Elise Amendola, Pool, File]