Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found dead in a Massachusetts prison on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old former NFL star killed himself while serving a life sentence. He was convicted in 2013 of killing Odin Lloyd.
Speaking on “SportsCenter” on Wednesday, ESPN’s Dan Le Batard succinctly and brutally described the tragedy of Hernandez.
“I can summon empathy and understanding for just about anybody,” Le Batard said. “And in this instance, what I was looking at is, man, if that guy can be so flippant about other lives, then it would make sense that after ruining his life, his solution to the pain that he had caused everybody was to take his own life.”
Hernandez played three years for the Patriots, collecting 175 total catches for 1,956 yards and 18 touchdowns. He signed a five-year, $40 million contract in 2012.
Le Batard said that on the surface, Hernandez was the type of athlete who “had everything,” but he spoiled it by trying “to be a gangster.”
“I found myself surprised because usually, I can find explanations, not excuses, for how it is someone became who they became. But this guy doesn’t have a lot of precedent in the history of sports, where you’ve got a guy who has everything and wastes it this overtly because he preferred to be a gangster.
“He had everything. Everyone would look at him and say, man – anyone who loved sports would look at him and say those are the things that people crave in sports, and he decided instead that he was gonna be somebody who was a thug, who was flippant about life.
“For him to choose – because he knew what was ahead of him the rest of his life – for him to choose to end his own pain that way, for him to choose suicide as a solution tells you just how dark a place he was in and how dark a place he lived in, a dark place of his own choosing.”
Watch Le Batard’s comments: