To football fans, Aaron Hernandez was a superstar in the making. A standout at the University of Florida, he helped the Gators win the national title in 2008. Drafted by the New England Patriots, in his second full season with the team he and fellow Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski set records for touchdowns and yardage, and with Tom Brady, led New England to Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. But Aaron’s NFL career ended as quickly as it began. On June 26, 2013, he was arrested at his North Attleboro home, charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd, and released by the Patriots. Convicted of first-degree murder, Aaron was sentenced to life in prison without parole. On May 15, 2014, while on trial for Lloyd's murder, Aaron was indicted for two more murders. Five days after being acquitted for those double murders, he committed suicide in his jail cell. Aaron Hernandez was twenty-seven years old.
In this clear-eyed, emotionally devastating biography—a family memoir combining football and true crime—Jonathan (formerly known by his nickname DJ) Hernandez speaks out fully for the first time about the brother he knew. Jonathan draws on his own recollections as well as thousands of pages of prison letters and other sources to give us a full portrait of a star athlete and troubled young man who would become a murderer, and the darkness that consumed him. Jonathan does not portray Aaron as a victim; he does not lay the blame for his crimes on his illness. He speaks openly about Aaron’s talent, his sexuality, his crimes and incarceration, and the CTE that ravaged him—scientists found that upon his death, Aaron had the brain of a sixty-seven-year old suffering from the same condition. Filled with headline-making revelations, The Truth About Aaron is a shocking and moving account of promise, tragedy, and loss—of one man’s descent into rage and violence, as told by the person who knew him more closely than anyone else.
Jonathan Hernandez was a starting quarterback at Bristol Central High School, where he was named the Connecticut’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2003. He went on to play at the University of Connecticut, where he became a 2x team captain and earned his Master’s degree in educational psychology. He later had coaching stints at Brown University (2011), The University of Miami (2012) and The University of Iowa (2013-14). He is currently the head coach at Ledyard High School in Ledyard, Connecticut.
The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room.
It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster.
The famed quarterback decided to bare all.
And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets.
No. The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question. On camera.
The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby—screwing with me.
When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me, to wanting to screw me.
But I don’t date players.
And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football.
I’d date an athlete.
It’s the other kind of player I don’t date.
You know the type. Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.
Brody Easton was the ultimate player.
Every woman wanted to be the one to change him.
But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for.
Turned out, I was that girl.
Let’s face it. It never is.
There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…
And this one is ours.
Author's note - The Baller is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18
Looking back on how he went from being a homeless child in Memphis to playing in the NFL, Michael talks about the goals he had to break out of the cycle of poverty, addiction, and hopelessness that trapped his family. Eventually he grasped onto football as his ticket out and worked hard to make his dream into a reality. With his adoptive family, the Touhys, and other influential people in mind, he describes the absolute necessity of seeking out positive role models and good friends who share the same values to achieve one's dreams. Sharing untold stories of heartache, determination, courage, and love, I Beat the Odds is an incredibly rousing tale of one young man's quest to achieve the American dream.