“I am a former professional athlete, and I dreamt of days that I was going to be able to leave the environment in which I was in and I was going to be able to provide for my family and my grandmother in specific. And she would never have to worry again, and I wouldn’t have to worry again, and I wouldn’t have to do the things I did to survive my upbringing.
So once you realize you have a talent, and this talent can take you away from where you are, the environment that you’re in, he’s like ‘OK, I got a way out now. Now I don’t have to engage in activities like some guys do.’ A lot of professional athletes come from very impoverished backgrounds, hard backgrounds, and they do things out of necessity. ‘I need to be able to survive. I need to be able to provide for my family.’
But once you reach a certain level, once you reach a professional athlete status, a lot of guys leave that behind. Aaron Hernandez could not. He could not. He was not a studio gangster. He was a for-real gang member, and that was a part of him. That was equally as important to him as playing in the National Football League for the New England Patriots. He had it tatted on his neck, I think he had ‘Lifetime Loyalty’ tatted on his neck while he was incarcerated, serving the life sentence.”