Aaron Hernandez lived a rough life in the months and years leading up to his death last month.
Speaking Wednesday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich,” Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports shared story after story of how “miserable” the former New England Patriots tight end’s experience was at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, where he was serving a life sentence for murder.
In Wetzel’s words, it “absolutely stunk.”
“He talked openly and bragged to guards, ‘I’m going to run this place and this place is nothing,’ ” Wetzel said. “It’s clear he was not running anything. His life was as miserable in prison as you would expect and perhaps want it to be for this guy. This was not the movies where he was cutting up garlic slices and getting fast food delivered or anything like that.
“Prisoners were fighting him, he was a target, they were trying to extort him for money, they were putting pressure on him. He was stressed out, he was both arguing all the time with guards and then seeking out their friendship, I think, because they were a little bit more of a peer group.”
Wetzel, who combed through the 300 pages of reports released in the wake of Hernandez’s suicide, said the former NFL star was involved in more than 100 incidents while incarcerated, including physical altercations with fellow inmates.
“These were vicious fights,” Wetzel said. “One, they had guards trying to pull him and another inmate apart, and they had to mace them, basically, to get them to stop fighting. There’s another weird or interesting scene where he gets in a fight and he goes back to his cell, and a guard comes in and sees him, and he’s kind of sitting on the bed, his hands are all red from punching somebody, he’s got some marks on him, and he’s kind of breathing heavy and is just sort of despondent that he had to get in this fight.
“I just think that … if you read it all, the picture I got was not somebody who was doing well with this at all. He was surviving, but it was pretty miserable.”
Thumbnail photo via Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via USA TODAY Sports Images