Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dollars & Sense - Business Fallout For Aaron Hernandez

"You should probably lay low for a while because you're probably wanted for murder." - Anchorman

Alright, so maybe Ron Burgundy was talking to Brick Tamland and not Aaron Hernandez, but at this rate he may as well have been.  The troubled New England Patriots tight end seems closer and closer to finding himself with a murder charge on his record sheet after his Wednesday morning arrest, something that does not look so nice next to his 175 receptions, nearly 2,000 yards receiving, and 18 touchdowns.
Of course, nothing is official yet.  Hernandez could be hit with just the original obstruction of justice since breaking a security system and busting a cell phone are not exactly aiding justice, per se.  Then again, maybe Hernandez gets off with nothing at all.  Some may cry professional athlete with that, but who knows, maybe all of the evidence that is piling up against Hernandez like the winter snow in Foxborough is just a big inconvenient coincidence.

In addition to feeling the heat from the authorities, Hernandez is beginning to feel the heat on the business end as well.  Cytosport, a sports nutrition company best known as the makers of Muscle Milk, has dropped Hernandez from their athlete portfolio.  Other athletes that endorse Cytosport are Clay Matthews (Green Bay Packers), Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers), and most recently Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) among others.

Upon hearing the news of Hernandez's arrest, the Patriots promptly released the 23-year-old.  As for his contract with the Patriots, Hernandez signed a 5-year, $40 million extension in 2012 that included $16 million guaranteed.  He is represented by Athletes First.  It remains to be seen if the Patriots could recover some of the guaranteed money that they owe Hernandez, although that will likely be contingent on the legal proceedings.

The Patriots had already asked Hernandez to stay away from Gillette Stadium and all team facilities.  Owner Robert Kraft said that he did not want the Patriots' facilities to become a media stakeout like Hernandez's North Attleboro home has become.
Many will try to breakdown Hernandez's involvement (or lack thereof) in the murder of Odin Lloyd and pin it on a certain piece of character that may look questionable.  Is it because Hernandez has tattoos?  His alleged gang involvement?  The jock culture sense of entitlement?

Circumstantially, you could make an argument in favor of any of the three.  That is the easy way out, though. Read Charles Pierce's piece about Aaron Hernandez and the American Way because he puts my thoughts in much more eloquent writing.  You will enjoy it, trust me. But even if there are guns in the world, just don't shoot people.  Is that too much to ask?  Professional athlete or not, I don't think we are asking for anything too outlandish.

Now Hernandez is arrested and in the hands of the police.  If Hernandez is charged in connection to Lloyd's murder, he will become just another athlete that threw it all away.  Then again, he already lost his endorsement and his contract, so maybe he already has.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

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