10 Reasons Aaron Hernandez Committed Multiple Murders

A Netflix series aims to explain why a rich pro athlete shot people in anger.

Posted Jan 16, 2020

Netflix has begun streaming the series, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, about an All-Pro NFL tight end who was convicted of murder, then committed suicide in prison. The series indicates that Hernandez may have committed other murders and shootings throughout his college and professional football career.

In doing so, the show takes a “kitchen sink” approach. That is, it offers every possible explanation to account for what is, admittedly, a very difficult situation to comprehend.

On the other hand, we are left to wonder, have we really gotten to the heart of the matter when so many straws have been thrown into the wind.

Here are the top ten reasons proffered by the show for Hernandez’s multiple assaults and killings:

  1. His father was an abusive alcoholic leaving him with unresolved anger and violent tendencies. This is a favored trauma-PTSD account.
  2. Yet, at the same time, the show indicates that his father was the role model and life ballast who provided structure for Hernandez, without which he was lost.
  3. His father died when Hernandez was a young teen, further traumatizing him. Again, we have both the presence and absence of a person being the cause.
  4. When Hernandez’s mother immediately picked up with a relative’s husband and moved him into their home, the series indicates, Hernandez was further traumatized. 
  5. Hernandez’s drug use was front and center during his trial, and in the series. He smoked marijuana and PCP around the clock, while using the painkiller Toradol.
  6. We then get the famous sports meme: He was a privileged college athlete who escaped consequences from his escapades. In Hernandez’s case, these often involved violent events. 
  7. We are presented with the alarming instances of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in football due to repeated concussions over a career—although Hernandez was relatively young (he was 27 at his death) and it was early in his career. In addition, recordings made of his jail phone conversations reveal Hernandez to be quite cogent and remarkably good-spirited. His mood changed, of course, when he was convicted and faced life in prison.
  8. Hernandez was scored socially immature by psychological assessments as part of the professional football scouting combine evaluations of eligible college football players.  This seems to be an accurate picture of the young football star who entered college at 17. But it hardly seems unique.
  9. Hernandez never related to his New England Patriot teammates, and instead associated with his hometown cohorts, even though he was well-liked and an active clubhouse participant.
  10. Hernandez was drawn to violent, criminal friends. It is a psychological truth that you will adopt the behavior of those around you. So associating with murderous thugs is a definitive risk factor for violence and murder.

But, then, aren’t we left with the question of why such people appealed to him? We thus return to the beginning of the circle: a violent father whom Hernandez adored and admired.

Does this all explain why Hernandez repeatedly, premeditatedly shot people? After hours of well-done television screening, do we understand any better the question that the series poses—what motivates socially aberrant behavior in an ostensibly well-situated human being?

P.S. And, oh, the series spends a great deal of time showing that Hernandez engaged in macho compensation as a closeted gay man—although his most intimate and supportive relationship during his trial and imprisonment was with the mother of his beloved infant daughter, with whom he lived.