Aaron Hernandez: The Early Years. Last week we learned that Hernandez was questioned by police in connection with a shooting during his freshman year at the University of Florida. Now comes this: that same season, before Hernandez ever set foot on the football field at Florida, he was involved in a bar fight — and police at the time wanted to charge him with felony battery.
In was in 2007, Hernandez was 17, had just arrived in Gainseville for his freshman year, and went out to a restaurant near the Florida campus called The Swamp. According to the Wall Street Journal, that’s where this occurred:
According to the police report, here’s what took place: A waitress brought Hernandez two “alcoholic drinks.” After Hernandez finished the drinks, a restaurant employee named Michael Taphorn delivered a bill. Hernandez said he hadn’t ordered the drinks and refused to pay, at which point a “verbal altercation” began between the two men. Hernandez called a witness over to try to intervene, but a resolution couldn’t be reached. Hernandez was told to leave and escorted out by Taphorn.
After stepping outside, according to the report, Hernandez told police Taphorn “got in his face” and began yelling at him. As Taphorn turned to walk away, Hernandez punched him in the side of the head—a fact Hernandez did not dispute.
Taphorn complained of hearing loss in his ear but refused medical treatment on the scene, the report said. The next day, however, doctors discovered his right eardrum had burst, an injury he was told would take four to six weeks to heal, according to the police report.
Police did not arrest Hernandez, but a police spokesman told the Wall street Journal that they recommended a charge of felony battery, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison for adults. Whether it was because of Hernandez’s, or the victim’s willingness to testify, or another reason, the case did not go forward. But one can probably bet that this isn’t the last Hernandez brush with the law that we’re going to hear about.