If you didn’t read Rolling Stone’s fascinating feature on Aaron Hernandez yesterday, you should do so immediately.
And now the writer of the piece, Rolling Stones contributing editor Paul Solotaroff, is saying that he thinks there’s a good chance Hernandez will get off (relatively) easy, and be back in the NFL in four years.
“I think (the case) is not only beatable, (but) I think he will be back in the NFL within three or four years,” Rolling Stones contributing editor Paul Solotaroff said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I think they’ve grossly overcharged him based on the case they’re building – no direct eye witness, no murder weapon (and) no plausible motive.”
“His principle nemesis at this point is likely to be the five gun charges levied against him; I think they got him dead to right on most of those,” Solotaroff said. “But as crazy as it sounds, this is a guy with no priors. So asking a judge to sentence Hernandez to consecutive prison bids – rather than contemporary ones – is going to be a very hard sell for the prosecution. And if in fact he winds up doing three years behind (bars for) those gun charges – which would be a lot in this case – he’s 26, 27, with very low mileage on those legs of his and a lot of time to heal up. My sources tell me there will be more than one NFL team pursuing him hotly when he walks out of jail in four years.”
The legal conjecture definitely seems reasonable, though Solotaroff seems to be a little overconfident in his guessing skills.
But the NFL stuff? I don’t know. Yes, it’s true that NFL teams will sign players despite “red flags” or prior arrests or even accidental killings, but there’s no precedent that I’m aware of (unless we’re counting Ray Lewis) where a team signed a strongly-suspected murderer convicted of a serious, albeit lesser crime. Right now, justified or not, the public is pretty sure Hernandez murdered Odin Lloyd. I tend to think that unless that public opinion is swayed, teams will be very reluctant to sign a guy who virtually everyone thinks got away with murder. Yes, he’ll be young, and yes, he’s really good, but I don’t know. I’m skeptical, even of these money and win-hungry franchises. And just because “sources” say something now doesn’t mean that teams will actually act in the future.
Then again, they used the word “hotly.” That sounds confident. So maybe I’m just being optimistic.