Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who went to jail for the murder of Odin Lloyd and then took his own life, was recently diagnosed with severe CTE.
However, despite that finding, the NFL wants to make sure that people don’t automatically start thinking of Hernandez as a victim. The role that CTE played in his life, they say, is not fully clear at this time.
“His personal story is complex, it doesn’t lend itself to simple answers,” said NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart, per Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk. “He was convicted of a homicide and his well-documented behavioral issues began long before he played in the National Football League. The real victims are the friends and family of those he killed, along with his young daughter.”
It is worth noting that, though he may have had issues before he joined the NFL, that doesn’t necessarily mean that brain trauma didn’t begin until he became a pro. Hernandez played college football at Florida and played lower levels of football as a child. It’s hard to track concussions and other such incidents that far back.
Lockhart did sound interested in learning more. He just didn’t want to jump on the narrative that Hernandez was a victim so quickly, he claimed.
“It’s a very complicated puzzle,” he said. “Every piece is important. There are a lot of dots here, and science just hasn’t been able to connect them.”
Also worth noting is that the NFL is now being sued over the issue. In that, it’s hard not to imagine that Lockhart has a direction he’d like to guide these conversations.
“We intend to contest the claim vigorously,” he added.
This article was written by All22.com’s Jon Schlosser and originally appeared here.