With apologies to my friend, mentor, and all around esteemed colleague Scott Greenfield for the last gaffe in snagging his “But For Video” gimmick. The “Snap Shot” will be my “Short Take” on an issue.
Aaron Hernandez, a former Tight End for the New England Patriots, was recently found not guilty of a double murder by a jury of his peers. His detractors on social media were quick to point out that he’s already serving life plus cancer for another murder, and that he’s not coming back to the NFL. Gleefully celebrating in a healthy dose of righteous indignation, someone made the mistake of asking me what I thought of Hernandez’s win in court.
Here’s the answer. I’m happy Aaron Hernandez got the coveted NG.
Not because I think he’s going to get into the Patriots’ good graces again anytime soon. Having married into a Patriots fan family, I’ve got experience knowing how forgiving Pats fans are for indiscretions. I also don’t see Hernandez getting into the NFL’s good graces either. A return to football would be the comeback story of a lifetime for a guy like Aaron Hernandez.
I’m happy because the Hernandez verdict represents a rarity in our criminal justice system. The state threw everything they had at Aaron Hernandez and a jury of his peers said “sorry, we’re not buying it.” That’s a rarity in our society, one so quick to condemn and label someone a criminal.
“Innocent until proven guilty” is just an empty platitude in a society based on feelings.
Here the state didn’t have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt Aaron Hernandez was part of a double murder. The jury, usually ready to hang a defendant at first sight, said “no” in this case. That’s a win for Hernandez and his defense team, even if he still has life in prison now that the trial is finished.
People who don’t work in the system daily don’t understand the majority of what we do is deal with failure, shrug, and move on. Far too often the State or the Feds have enough before we go to trial to secure a prison stay for our clients. So when situations like Aaron Hernandez’s come along we all celebrate, because we know victories like this are rarer than a Super Bowl ring.