So this cat Noah Feldman who works at Harvard and has a very impressive resume if you’re into people who have never spent a single day in the real world wrote an awful article in Bloomberg comparing Hernandez to terrorist #2. He’s basically trying to tell the people of Boston that we care too much about sports so we have some type of responsibility for murder and terrorism? I don’t know. You try to figure out what he’s trying to say. Bold is him, not bold is me.
The big murder trial that’s been obsessing Bostonians has ended with a guilty verdict. No, you’re not having déjà vu. Today’s jury decision came in the case of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star tight end. Hernandez was convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was also dating Hernandez’s fiancée’s sister. Although the motive remains shady, it seems possible that the 2013 murder was connected to the still unresolved criminal charge that Hernandez killed two other people the year before — strangers who accidentally insulted him in a nightclub.
Ok, starting out fine so far reviewing the Hernandez case. But I don’t believe for a second the people Hernandez murdered outside of Cure were “strangers”. He may not have known them personally but they were absolutely associated in some way. I doubt the insult they threw at Hernandez was accidental either. Doesn’t mean they needed to die, but neither side was innocent.
If that charge also turns out to be true, then Hernandez killed almost as many people as the Tsarnaev brothers who perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago today. Because the Tsarnaevs’ crime was terrorism, they also permanently injured many more people, and their subsequent actions led to a multicity lockdown that involved hundreds of thousands. The crimes therefore aren’t precisely analogous.
Um actually they’re not analogous at all. Like literally not even in the same universe. No regular citizen of Boston was ever in danger of being hurt/killed by Aaron Hernandez. He didn’t randomly kill people. The Tsarnaevs’ intent was to kill and maim random innocent people in the name of a cause.
Yet there is an uncomfortable and complicated relationship between the two cases and their chronologically twinned trials. Both in different ways forced Bostonians to think the unthinkable: that homegrown terrorists could be nurtured in our midst, and that the athletic heroes whom we worship could actually be sociopathic killers. Both of these unthinkable thoughts go to the core of what gives Boston its distinctive identity in the early 21st century.
The only “relationship” between these two trials is that they happened simultaneously. The Tsarnaevs’ were not homegrown. The older brother who organized it grew up in Chechnya and it’s pretty clear that’s where his guidance came from. “Athletic heroes whome we worship” being sociopathic killers is (unfortunately) not even close to unthinkable. You may be familiar with Ray Lewis, OJ Simpson, Marvin Harrison and Rae Carruth. Sports fans are well aware of the athletes checkered past. And this is not distinctive to Boston either. New York had a pretty big terrorist attack you may have heard of Noah. You failed to point out any “uncomfortable and complicated relationship” between the two cases in this paragraph.
The lurid details of Hernandez’s murder of Lloyd are almost beside the point — what matters is the scale of Hernandez’s apparent appetite and capacity to shoot people. From the trial we know that Hernandez was out with Lloyd, and apparently on friendly terms, only a few days before the killing. Something caused him to turn on Lloyd and arrange to murder him. That something was never explained during the trial, but the most logical explanation would seem to be that he thought Lloyd knew something or might be prepared to say something about the double murder with which Hernandez is separately charged.
Thanks for the summarization of every gang related shooting in America that happens literally daily.
In that other episode, prosecutors allege, Hernandez became enraged after a man in a nightclub accidentally bumped into him and caused him to spill a drink. Hernandez then lay in wait outside the club. From his SUV he shot two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, immigrants from Cape Verde who worked as house cleaners, killing them both.
House cleaners that drove a BMW and got bottle service at Cure. Listen, obviously those guys didn’t deserve to be murdered. But there is WAY more to what happened there. Hernandez may be a nut job but there’s 0 chance he waited outside to shoot these guys because they spilt his drink.
In yet one further incident between the two slayings, Hernandez apparently shot an acquaintance in the face in Florida, injuring but not killing the man. The acquaintance testified at Hernandez’s trial for the Lloyd murder.
This is the third paragraph in a row rehashing details that everyone knows and trying to make his point that Hernandez is a bad dude. We get it. Where we going with this Noah?
This conduct seems more like it would come from Whitey Bulger than an admired athlete. And this is where things get symbolically complicated. Hernandez played a season for the Patriots between the nightclub killings and the Lloyd murder. Unaware of his crimes, we, or at least I, happily cheered for him on the field. Robert Kraft, the Patriots’ owner, who also testified at the trial, used to kiss Hernandez when he would run into him socially.
I cheered for him too. You know why? Because nobody assumes someone is a murderer! Maybe I should start cheering against Harvard because Noah could be a murderer and they employee him. This doesn’t make things “symbolically complicated” at all. Go talk to the people of Baltimore who knowingly cheered for a murderer.
It would be easy to say that we Bostonians aren’t implicated in Hernandez’s crimes, because we were ignorant of them. But that seems much too easy. The problem isn’t just that Hernandez had a modestly checkered past as a college player at the University of Florida, where he was questioned in connection with a shooting and got a deferred prosecution after a bar brawl. The Patriots under Bill Belichick have a well-known record of hiring formerly troubled players who then play well and live as good citizens.
Ok Noah, you’ve gone off the rails. So because Bill has taken players with checkered past’s (who then behaved themselves here) we’re not totally innocent in rooting for Hernandez. We should have held back our cheers just in case Hernandez turned out to be a murderer. I don’t even understand his second sentence; But that seems much too easy. No it is that easy. No normal person assumes somebody on the Patriots participated in a double murder the summer before. Boom, that easy.
No, the problem lies in the depth of identification that a true Bostonian feels with his or her athletic heroes. In Boston, perhaps more even than in other American cities, our sports teams provide the social glue that holds a diverse city together. Our admiration has become a crucial component of our civic identity.
Maybe children identify that much with their athletic heroes but not adults. Flip on sports radio for once for me Noah. And there’s nothing wrong with a city’s sports teams providing the social glue. Seems like a pretty good way to bring people together no? Better than race, religion or politics. All of which cause far more divisiveness and violence than the unilateral support of an athletic club.
This more-than-adulation of our athletes was on view after the marathon attacks. The “Boston Strong” motif was worn and recited by citizens proudly wearing Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots gear — literally the uniforms of our civic belonging. By far the most effective public spokesman for Boston in that post-marathon moment was Red Sox great David Ortiz, who memorably announced in front of a full Fenway crowd that “this is our [expletive] city.”
It is not “more-than-adulation of our athletes”. You ever hear the term “we root for laundry” Noah? The local team’s gear worn by people in this instance was a way to show off support for the city in general. It’s more representative of being a fan of the city than any particular team. Oh and an athlete who came to Boston has adopted it as his home, identifies with the citizens and actually cares about the city? What a fucking tragedy.
What if it had been Aaron Hernandez who had said that? My point isn’t to insult Ortiz, who seems to be a good guy, notwithstanding being mentioned in a New York Times article as having tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. My point, rather, is that we Bostonians confer leadership on our athletic heroes, not just admiration. The Hernandez conviction reminds us of the uncomfortable fact that this is an arbitrary, indeed somewhat childish thing to do. All we know about our sports heroes today that they are supremely excellent at what they do.
Literally laughed out loud at the mention of steroids. Nobody cares bro. But if it had been Hernandez who said that and nobody knew about anything he had done than so what? Again, nobody assumes somebody else is a murderer. I totally disagree with the inference that we “confer leadership” on our athletic heroes. The athletes have a platform normal citizens do not. Ortiz used that platform to express his love and support for the city – just like every other person. If anything he was being the exact opposite of assuming leadership, he was showing that he was a citizen of Boston just like everybody else. If “This is our fucking city!” confers leadership than we have a different definition of the term.
Let me be clear: I root for the home teams with the intensity of a Boston lifer. I love it when they win, as they now do with somewhat astonishing frequency, at least relative to my childhood.
There’s no chance you can throw a spiral Noah.
Yet the Hernandez conviction tells me that I blindly rooted for and identified with a murderer, maybe even a mass murder. And I did it as a Bostonian, in the exercise of my civic pride. This is, or should be, deeply discomfiting. A bit like knowing my city can produce jihadi terrorists. At some point, collective pride must generate some collective responsibility. To have one without the other is to be, well, a bit of a child.
Consider me a child because there is nothing discomforting now in knowing I rooted for a murderer. Literally nobody knew that. And that is absolutely NOTHING like a couple kids that lived in Cambridge becoming terrorists. Another thing that the citizens have absolutely no “collective responsibility” in. I don’t even know what point he’s trying to make. That our blind pride in the city’s sports teams leads us to turn a blind eye to murderers and terrorists so we should feel guilty about that? I think that’s his point right? Noah, you can feel guilt about the terrorists and Hernandez being a murderer because you watched the Patriots, I’ll be watching the Sox game tomorrow night.