The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team — the same spotlight reporting department that was behind the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal that gave way to the eponymous Spotlight movie — decided to focus its latest reporting efforts on the origins, life and death of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
The newspaper’s first chapter of its story was released Sunday and included a number of interesting details about Hernandez’s youth in Bristol, Conn. and at Bristol (Conn.) Central High School. Most of those stories had been heard before in one place or another, but the Globe did reveal one rather audacious scoop: Hernandez’s quarterback and closest friend at Bristol Central, Dennis SanSoucie, now claims that the two had a homosexual relationship while they played together in high school.
For the first time publicly, SanSoucie also talked about a now-and-then sexual relationship he had with Aaron, which began in middle school and continued through high school.
“Me and him were very much into trying to hide what we were doing. We didn’t want people to know,” Dennis SanSoucie said in an interview.
SanSoucie said he and Hernandez worked hard to keep their relationship a secret. In their traditional community of Bristol, where Dennis was bound for the military and Aaron for big-time football, it was not something they wanted people to know about.
There’s no question that SanSoucie’s revelation shines a new light on the purported claims which emerged after Hernandez’s suicide that the former NFL tight end had a male prison lover.
That’s not relevant to his state record-setting high school career, but his relationship with SanSoucie is. And the impact it had on his later development and behavior, including his violent streak that evolved into multiple alleged manslaughter incidents, including the murder of Odin Lloyd for which he was convicted, sentenced and during which he eventually committed suicide.
The same report also noted that Hernandez had once wanted to be a cheerleader, leading to an altercation with his father, Dennis “King” Hernandez.
“I remember he wanted to be a cheerleader. My cousins were cheerleaders and amazing,” Jonathan (formerly D.J.) Hernandez told the Globe. “And I remember coming home and like my dad put an end to that really quick. And it was not OK. My dad made it clear that … he had his definition of a man.”
Both the alleged on-again, off-again homosexuality and desire to be a cheerleader speak to Hernandez’s complex identity issues, all of which may have contributed to the underlying currents that eventually resulted in stirring violence behind the scenes of almost immeasurable athletic talent, a caustic cocktail that launched his fame and also eventually led to his suicide.