The Patriots wrap up the preseason Thursday night by hosting the Giants, and second-round bust Ras-I Dowling was finally released Wednesday, but those stories were overshadowed by the Aaron Hernandez saga after Rolling Stone magazine released a supposed bombshell of an expose Wednesday titled, “Gangster in the Huddle.”
The piece, written by Paul Solotaroff with Herald columnist Ron Borges, does a thorough job of recounting Hernandez’s sordid past, and provides several interesting revelations about Hernandez, Bill Belichick, and some of the events surrounding Odin Lloyd’s murder. The piece doesn’t hold back — not with the cover illustration of a blood-splattered Hernandez, or with the finger-pointing at Robert Kraft and Belichick for turning a blind eye toward Hernandez’s behavior.
But the story also is filled with sensationalism, hearsay, convenient fact-bending, and even one blatant falsity. The authors go to great lengths to portray Hernandez’s friends and family as thugs and losers, then expect the reader to fully believe these same unnamed sources who provide many of the lurid details.
The revelation that Hernandez was a heavy PCP user is interesting and believable; his alleged accomplice, Carlos Ortiz, did tell his probation officer in May that he used PCP and several other drugs on a daily basis.
Hernandez could easily get away with a drug habit. Per NFL rules, players are tested for street drugs (cocaine, marijuana, total morphine and codeine, opioids, hydrocodone, oxycodone, PCP, MDMA) just once a year, between April 20 and Aug. 9. However, it’s hard to imagine Hernandez being a heavy PCP user during the season — you’d think his teammates and coaching staff would notice something.
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