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Football star Aaron Hernandez went from the bright lights of the Super Bowl to a convicted murderer in a few years. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, best known for its investigation of the sexual abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, takes a hard look at the crisis facing football through the lens of Aaron Hernandez’s life and terrible crimes.
From Wondery, the podcast team that brought you Dr. Death, Spotlight asks: Did a brain badly damaged by football contribute to Hernandez’s violent behavior? Did he keep secrets about his sexuality that collided with a hyper-masculine football culture? Did elite coaches and teams look the other way as Hernandez was spiraling out of control?
Spotlight uncovered new documents, audio, and interviews to go deep into the story of what happened to Aaron Hernandez, and what it means for those of us who cheer on a violent game.
When Aaron Hernandez was found hanging from a bedsheet in a maximum security prison cell in Massachusetts, he joined a growing number of former football players who’d taken their own lives. But he was the only one who left a trail of bodies in his wake. Spotlight investigates how Hernandez’s personal life spiralled out of control even as he rocketed to NFL stardom. His teammates on the Patriots were never sure whether he was a goofball who took a special kind of thrill in unnerving them, or whether he was truly dangerous.
For more information on issues raised by this series, including suicide prevention, mental health, LGBTQ+ support, and concussion and sports safety, here is a list of support groups and educational organizations.
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