hDisgraced former pro football player Aaron Hernandez reportedly committed suicide five days after being acquitted in a double murder trial. AT the time of his death, he had appealed an earlier conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd and his family reported that he appeared to be optimistic about his future.
On April 19, 2017, he was found hanging by a bed sheet from a window at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Facility. Initial reports from the prison stated that he had left no memorabilia or any documents to explain the suicide. Later, it is reported that he left three notes next to an open bible: one for Avielle, his daughter, another for Shayanna his fiancée and the third note to someone in prison. The Daily Mail, a sensationalized rag with a history of irresponsible, untrue and shoddy journalism reported that Aaron Hernandez left a letter for a prison lover and further allege that his bisexuality was the motive in the murder of Odin Lloyd. Prior to this report and for over three years, there had never been any mention of bisexual motive for the killing. Yet, in a matter of days, the Daily Mail, a UK based rag could “crack” a case, that law enforcement and lawyers could not crack.
After this report, supposedly more reputable newspapers like Newsweek and the NY Daily News began reporting on Hernandez’s bisexuality as a possible motive. In each of these reports, the idea that Hernandez was bisexual or gay was a foregone conclusion without any supporting evidence. When probed further in any of these publications, one would find sentences suggesting that all of this had been confirmed by law enforcement. Black’s Law dictionary defines Hearsay as follows: “A statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Hearsay as many people now is not admissible unless subject to several exceptions.
While the death of Hernandez is fresh, there have been no court proceedings and no offer of proof of any of the statements of homosexuality/bisexuality made. This makes the reporting by the Daily Mail more frustrating because to the average dumb person who believes that every “alleged” news reporting site is factual, they would take the statements made by the Daily Mail and later published by News Weeks The NY Post and the NY Daily News as truth of the matter asserted and begin reporting an unverified possibly false and defamatory story to others.
There is a point to my madness. Despite people’s opinions on Aaron Hernandez and whether they believe he murdered someone, you cannot go around defaming someone’s character. While we do not know what his sexual orientation is, without reviewing the letters and conducting some type of real investigation and discovery, people cannot attribute characteristics to a person that could be defamatory if not true.
Who are the alleged law enforcement official the Daily News relied upon? Or were they along with the other rags simply parenting what the Daily Mail reported? What is their educational background? Is it possible that they took something in the letter out of context? Next, what’s with the inquiry into how he divided his money prior to being arrested for the Odin Lloyd Murder. A lot of the news sources I mentioned previously have been making a huge deal about how Hernandez divided his money. Stating that he had a gay lover in high school who allegedly testified before the grand jury and that he placed more money in this person’s account than his daughter or fiancé. Again, an idiot would run with this information as proof of positive of some type of illicit relationship. I know that at one time he had one of his high school friends as his assistant. Is it possible that this person had the largest pot of money because he was instructed to do things on behalf of Hernandez with the money?
I really and truly do not know what type of world we live in today where in less than 24 hours after a person takes their own life, the only thing the press chooses to speak about are salacious unfounded details about the person’s sexuality. They make a conscious decision not to discuss mental health, depression, or suicide. This type of reporting by the NY Post is not surprising because reporting sensationalized news is what they do. Sadly with each day, I am becoming less surprised by the NY Daily News as they are well on their way absent a few reporters to becoming a rag. Case in point, it was the Daily News who felt compelled to share the completely unrelated criminal past of Timothy Caughman, a homeless man who was killed while collecting cans by a self-proclaimed white supremacist who drove all the way from Maryland to kill a black person solely because he does not condone interracial dating.
Notice how the Boston Globe; the NY Times and other reputable newspapers with a history of journalistic integrity have remained noticeably quiet on these allegations of sexual orientation. More than likely, these newspapers have remained silent on this issue because they have no evidence to support the assertion at this time. Once they have factual support of a claim–any claim, then the more reputable news outlets will report it.
Part of me sincerely hopes that everything the Daily Mail, The NY Daily News, Newsweek and The NY Post reported about Hernandez’s gay trysts are false and that each of the men passively put out there—the alleged prison lover and the high school friend sue these publications for millions of dollars. That is the only way news reporters like the ones responsible for the article will learn. Loosely defined defamation is a false statement made to another person either verbally or in writing. IF the defamation occurred in writing as it may have in some of the newspapers listed above, then it is considered libel. Under the Common Law, to prove defamation, one would have to prove that an untrue statement was made and published (through speech or in writing) to a third party. If the person is a public figure, then under U.S. Supreme court case, NY v. Sullivan, the plaintiff would have to prove the additional element of malice—that the false statement was made knowing or at least with a reckless disregard for the truth. The two friends of Hernandez, now at the center of this gay/bisexual probe are not public figures and therefore would not have to prove malice.