Commentary: Aaron Hernandez is Another Statistic But I’m Not

Aaron Hernandez is done. Whether or not the former New England Patriot tight end is found guilty of the murder charges he’s facing, his life is over. Just another statistic. Since he was arrested on June 26th, the 23-year-old’s troubled past has taken the spotlight—more murder charges and an alleged affiliation to the notorious Bloods gang. The latter is an epidemic, which has long plagued Latinos and African Americans in this country. In the ‘hood it’s a way of life. Growing up in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, NY, I witnessed firsthand the dark influence gangs have over youth.

I was 12 when I met Rene. He was a transfer student from one of the surrounding public schools in the neighborhood. We hit it off instantly—we loved hip-hop and liked girls with curly hair. During the weekends we started doing graffiti on subway cars and park benches. My tag name was Gee Cue, a name derived from my favorite movie, Juice. It was all innocent fun until it was time to “prove myself.” What I didn’t know about Rene, was his and his older brother’s gang affiliations. He wasn’t a transfer student by choice—he was kicked out.