Welcome to my new weekly column called “Second Take with Brad Gelber.” If it wasn’t painstakingly obvious from the name, I’m Brad Gelber and the premise of this column will be to give you my take on controversial topics surrounding the world of sports. You may have heard of a rather large sports network that consists of four letters and likes to give their take on similar issues. Since they’re a lot bigger than me I’ll let them continue to go first hence choosing the name “Second Take.” If you’re still not catching on, this column is probably not for you. Ready? Lez goooo.
Hernandez Today Gone Tomorrow-
This past week many football fans were caught completely off-guard when Aaron Hernandez was taken into custody for murder (not to mention the five additional gun counts.) Despite being half of the New England Patriots tight end super duo, when it came to the media, Hernandez was typically shunned to the corner in favor of the more boisterous, limelight seeking Gronk. If there was a story unrelated to football involving one of Bill Belichick’s disciples, chances are Rob Gronkowski was your guy. Not anymore. Murder has a funny way of turning things upside down…
There has been plenty written and discussed about the actual incident so I’m not here to regurgitate more of the same. There’s only so much one can write about a player being accused of murder, especially when incidents involving violence & crime are sadly not rare among professional athletes. No, I’m here instead to discuss why Aaron Hernandez “potentially” killing someone instead made me realize how bad of a person I am.
Often times during impactful moments in history one can recall where they were and what they were thinking/doing during that said moment. While I won’t go as far as to say Aaron Hernandez being arrested is a history changing moment, it was a big deal for those of us who follow the NFL. I wish ten, or twenty years from now I could look back on that moment, while I’m flipping through my 5D, big screen TV and my android maid is making me a sandwich on the moon and think that I was concerned with the victim of the Hernandez murder.
Or perhaps I was worried about the family of the victim, or whether Hernandez had in fact committed any additional volatile crimes. Unfortunately that isn’t the reality of the situation. No my first thought was what caused me to realize, that at least in that moment, the sports fan in me outweighed the righteous do-gooder. What was my first thought you ask? If and when Aaron Hernandez ever strapped back on his shoulder pads and made his way onto a professional football field, could he be doing so with a Buffalo Bills jersey on?
There it is. I was more concerned with Hernandez’s potential to help my football team encounter success than I was with the fact that he quite possibly killed someone. However, as grimy as this realization made me feel, it also helped open my eyes to a rather simple fact. As sports fans, we tend to leave the rest of the world behind when it comes to anything involving sports. Being a release for many of us, it’s only natural to check our typical selves at the door and become solely concerned with seeing our favorite teams succeed. In any other circumstance, I know that murder is bad and I should not want to see the person who committed that act continue on in a normal fashion, let alone doing so for an organization in my hometown… but sports is different.
If you can help a team win, nine out of ten times you’re given a second, third and maybe even fourth chance. Michael Vick not only allowed, but furthermore enabled innocent dogs to kill one another. He was given another chance. Former Buffalo Bills’ RB Travis Henry was busted for drug trafficking and served two and a half years in jail, but ultimately made his comeback. Donte Stallworth was hit with DUI Manslaughter and was incarcerated for 30 days before being released to house arrest for an additional two years, but ended up making it back to the show. Then there’s Ray Lewis, which is a whole nother debate for another day & I don’t think I need to even mention OJ Simpson. The bottom line is the list goes on and on and on.
I get it though, people deserve second chances and even if they don’t they make teams lots & lots of money. At the end of the day sports are a business and you make more money when you win than you do when you lose. I guess I just never realized how far reaching that principle extended itself into the fan’s psyche, or at least my own anyways. Do I think of myself as a good person? Yes, generally speaking. However when it comes to sports I seem to throw reason and rational thinking to the wind, but then again isn’t that what passion is all about? Michael Jordan once said, “Love is playing every game as if it’s your last.” I guess one should be a bit more careful throwing around words like that when you’re playing with guys like Aaron Hernandez.
Tweet of the Week:
No matter how dark a situation is, there’s always time for a good Tebow joke:
Can’t Tebow talk to Jesus or someone to help this Aaron Hernandez situation? We really need him next season…
— Rachael MacFarlane (@GirlMacFarlane) June 23, 2013
Have your own opinion on this week’s column or a topic you want featured in next week’s column? Get at me on Twitter: @BradleyGelber