NFL cautions against painting Aaron Hernandez as a victim


The NFL didn’t have a response to the news of the Aaron Hernandez lawsuit against the league and the Patriots on Thursday. On Friday, the league definitely had one.

League spokesman Joe Lockhart, during a periodic media briefing, stressed that the news of Hernandez’s “severe” case of CTE should not result in Hernandez being treated as a victim.

“His personal story is complex, it doesn’t lend itself to simple answers,” Lockhart said. “He was convicted of a homicide and his well-documented behavioral issues began long before he played in the National Football League. . . . The real victims are the friends and family of those he killed, along with his young daughter.”

As to the status of the CTE phenomenon, Lockhart emphasized that more research is needed.

“It’s a very complicated puzzle,” he said. “Every piece is important. . . There are a lot of dots here, and science just hasn’t been able to connect them.”

As to the lawsuit filed by Hernandez, Lockhart was unequivocal and clear: “We intend to contest the claim vigorously.” However, Lockhart had no specifics regarding the strategy. The argument that the labor deal prevents any lawsuit surely will be made; before it gets to that point, however, the league may argue that Hernandez’s rights already have been determined by the settlement of the class action. The NFL doesn’t yet know whether Hernandez was part of the class, or whether he opted out of it.

49 responses to “NFL cautions against painting Aaron Hernandez as a victim

  1. I typically do not trust lawyers.

    I definitely do not trust lawyers who defended a serial killer who needs to collect millions in attorney fees.

  2. I have no doubt Hernandez had CTE, I’ve thought that for awhile. I have no doubt one day we’ll be reading about OJ Simpson having the worst case of CTE they’ve ever seen.

    As rarely as I agree with NFL brass giving statements, you can’t excuse these awful people by saying they have CTE. There’s no simple answers to what makes someone a murderer. Any murderer has to be sick in the head, but every person sick in the head doesn’t become a murderer. Never excuse that behavior with sickness, upbringing, background, parenting, drugs, ANYTHING.

    Aaron Hernandez was a terrible person. Period.

  3. Those who play professional football know (or should know) the risks going in. It’s a personal choice, no one is making anyone play. Enough of this!

  4. Of course….Its the NFL s fault Hernandez robbed and pistol whipped people at the age of 15. How about people taking some responsibility for there actions. Im no CTE expert but lets stop with the excuses for a guy that just made poor decision after poor decision and it cost him his life ..LITERALLY………

  5. CTE is real. What also is real is deflecting blame. The family can’t come to grips with the fact that this guy was at fault for his own circumstance. He had the world in his hands. He had material wealth, fame and things that most of us can only dream of. I’m sure he worked hard to get it and deserved his station in life. He also worked hard to destroy it all. That’s hard to stomach but true. So now the will sue the NFL to line their pockets and deflect blame. It’s a shame but I expected nothing less.


  6. Far be it from me to agree or have compassion for Hernandez (and I dont), but it is laughable that nfl still takes a stand of not having a “scientific” connection with concussions and cte. Grown middle aged men who have wealth and families don’t just decide to kill themselves or worse harm others, without something being very wrong. Sure the nfl has gotten better at diagnosing the symptoms today but it wasn’t long ago that these players suffered and continued to play with concussions that resulted in developing cte, and yes science has already made that connection.

  7. It’s insane how our country has gotten to the point where people can literally do anything (like murdering people) and it’s somehow not their own fault, there is always someone else responsible apparently. I’m not debating that the CTE absolutely had an effect on his behavior, but don’t sit here and act like the NFL is responsible for his death or the death of the people he supposedly killed.

  8. I am a bit suspicious of these findings when the family directed Hernandez’s brain be sent to CTE researchers. What other conclusion would you expect a CTE researcher to come to?

    That said, I would not be surprised of any contact sport athlete whose brain was autopsied would be found to have CTE damage. The thing the researchers can’t possibly answer was: Was it the DTE that caused him to become a killer and kill himself? Lots of ex-athletes have CTE. Not many of them go around killing people or offing themselves.

    The lawsuit is frivolous in that neither the team nor league had any means available to access the existence or amount of CTE brain damage that Hernandez had. Nobody can tell that until you are dead.

  9. His behavior started way before the NFL, he was horrible at the University of Florida. Just another way for his family to try and get money out of the estate.
    Think of the families that he murdered first. He was a horrible person for a long time, before all the other drama.

  10. He was involved in gangs and gang culture long before he ever hit college or the NFL. His entire family was involved as evidence by assorted incidents with them after he was arrested. He absolutely was not a victim.

  11. Most of the NFL players who have died have shown signs of CTE. Strangely enough, only one was a homicidal maniac. Maybe that’s because he was a first-class dirtbag.

  12. America has lost the ability to be transparent without breaking the soft rules of political correctness. This guy had issues long before he was in the NFL. This is an obvious, desperate money grab. The family should be penalized somehow for even filing this and wasting the court’s time.

  13. We Americans seem to have an endless stream of things to deflect self accountability.

    I was raised to hold myself accountable for all of my actions. Was I raised incorrectly?
    When my actions have lead me astray, I feel a since of shame. I think I’m suppose to feel shame when I go in the wrong direction. Is that also incorrect? Are we suppose to be shameless and blame others for our wrong doings?

  14. 1. The NFL is deflecting and being disingenuous and dishonest when it says of CTE: “There are a lot of dots here, and science just hasn’t been able to connect them.”

    2. Hernandez was convicted of murder, but that conviction has been cleared because it was very unclear what results the appeals process would have produced.

  15. There’s a lot of unnecessary conflation going on here. Aaron Hernandez was both a dirtbag murderer and also a victim of CTE. There may or may not be any correlation between the former and the latter, but both are true.

    The bigger concern here is seeing such developed CTE in somebody so young. It should definitely concern other players who have histories of serious concussions. Doesn’t mean they need to quit asap or that one day they’ll murder somebody (statistics very much suggest otherwise), but it could still have a major impact on their quality of life as they get older. If you love football, the welfare of its players and (by default) the future of the game should be important to you.

  16. Hernandez played what 3 years in the NFL? If he was that far gone than the vast majority of the damage to his brain must have occurred while playing college and High school football I don’t see the family suing the NCAA or the High school?

  17. I’m just curious.. honest question. How do we know that the CTE was caused by his play in the NFL? I assume he played in HS and certainly College. How does a court/jury determine that the CTE was directly from his NFL days?

  18. “The real victims are the friends and family of those he killed, along with his young daughter.”

    For once I agree wvholeheartedly with the NFL.

  19. You know what a dangerous job is? Driving a Military Humvee through the streets of Afghanistan. Doesn’t pay for a millionaire life style though. Spare me the rhetoric.

  20. This is a sleazy money grab attempt by his low-life family. Hernandez was a train wreck in life long before he entered the NFL. This case should be disposed of immediately by the courts as frivolous at best.

  21. Everybody who has ever played football in high school, college or Profootball has some form of CTE. I have CTE having played high school and college football and suffered several concussions. However, I know right from wrong and I don’t kill people.

  22. I think it’s fair to say CTE could have contributed to his lack of impulse control and anger issues (assume he had them). That being said, his violent behavior traces back well before his NFL career, so perhaps the damage was already done or it was just in his nature. The CTE didn’t make him do it, but it probably didn’t help him control his emotions. It would appear he was suffering from some un/underdiagnosed mental issues as well as a substance abuse problem (which may have also contributed to his poor mental/brain health). It really just goes to show how far the NFL needs to come in terms off offering support to players in need and monitoring those who start to show signs of distress. Josh Gordon doesn’t need suspended, he needs help while he can still play and make a living. By punishing guys with real problems you simply force them into hiding to avoid the consequences. Eventually it gets out of control and ends very poorly.

  23. It’s not even about excusing his behavior. The point is Hernandez was a young guy with an advanced case of CTE. I used to laugh at people who wouldn’t let their kids play football, but this is starting to open my eyes.

  24. CTE doesn’t make you a dust smoking gang-banging paranoid murderer. This is not an excuse for every bad person who also played football. How many retired or current players with signs of CTE are out there living perfectly normal decent lives, contributing to society in a positive manner and raising good families?

    Everybody wants to find excuses to deflect blame, and this lack of accountability is why shyster lawyers like Baez think they can manipulate the system and the public to a scumbags benefit.

    CTE doesn’t make him a victim, and it doesn’t explain or excuse his sociopathic behavior. Think of how HIS victims families must feel listening to this wannabe apologetic BS on his behalf. Like pouring salt in their wounds.

    Let this guys memory fade away already. He doesn’t deserve our sympathy.

  25. NFL should not settle and give this murderer a dime. The lawyers are fools cause it’s a loser case. They will waste lot of resources and not get anything at the end.

  26. I love how almost everyone dumps on Hernandez, and forgets the NFL hid, denied, lied about the effects of concussions on players for decades to avoid taking any responsibility for anything.

    If Hernandez is responsible for his part in his life, so is the NFL for the damage they caused to it.

  27. This is nothing more than an attempted money-grab by the girlfriend. He played in high school, college,and the NFL. There is no way to prove that his CTE was caused by the NFL alone. I only wish that there was some way to compensate his victim’s families and his little girl. The girlfriend deserves zero.

  28. ocean10 says:
    September 22, 2017 at 12:23 pm
    1. The NFL is deflecting and being disingenuous…

    2. Hernandez was convicted of murder, but that conviction has been cleared because it was very unclear what results the appeals process would have produced.

    Speaking of being disingenuous when you state “it was very unclear what results the appeals process would have produced” you are giving the league a run for their money. If you did any research at all you would know the judge cut the defense in the Lloyd case every break and held the prosecution to an absolutely brutal standard in an effort to make the case virtually appeal proof. Every legal expert that weighed in pretty much agreed an appeal had virtually no chance of being heard never mind succeeding. The conviction being overturned due to his death was widely considered to be the driving force behind Hernandez’s suicide.

  29. Was this lawsuit filed by the family members who attempted to assist Hernandez in covering up, hiding evidence and getting away with murder?

  30. This is a very well crafted lawsuit.It’s being done in the daughter’s name, therefore no one can go after that money for Hernandez’s debt or lawsuits against him.It’s contained to only the fact that he killed himself and that he only killed himself due to brain damage caused by CTE. Baez is in a win win situation. He again put himself in the public eye, even if they never get a dime this will be in the press, ergo so will he, for years. His hopes are that there is a settlement with no disclosure of the terms (defendants pay extra for this). He will use the child and the hype of CTE to drive this out. The question is, how much is the NFL and the Pats willing to go to protect the brand?

  31. Here’s the thing. Since this is a civil suit, his lawyer won’t be able to get a lot of evidence dismissed like he was able to do in the criminal case. All the NFL and the Patriots need to do is show how much of a dirtbag was BEFORE he ever got to the NFL. If they can prove he started showing similar behavior at a young age, there’s no chance he’s going to win that lawsuit. I can’t believe he’s even wasting his time. The defendants in this lawsuit are going to bring up EVERYTHING in his past that showed he was a problem child and use that to show that CTE didn’t cause his behavior–he had it before he (supposedly) showed any signs of CTE.

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