Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 20th 2017 Contents sports A39
Thursday, April 20, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Ex-NFL star Aaron
himself in prison cell
BOSTON---Hours before his for-
mer New England Patriots team-
mates were due to visit the White
House to celebrate their Super
Bowl victory, prison officials say,
Aaron Hernandez tied one end of
his bedsheet to a window and the
other around his neck and hanged
In a maximum-security prison
outside Boston, about an hour from
the stadium where he played along-
side stars like Tom Brady and Rob
Gronkowsi, Hernandez jammed the
door to his one-man cell lest guards
try to stop him, and put an early end
to the life-without-parole sentence
he received for a 2013 murder.
He was 27.
It was the last act in the downfall of
an athlete who once seemed to have
everything --- including a five-year
$40 million contract extension --- and
threw it all away.
The former NFL star's death left
friends, family and his legal team
shocked and in disbelief, searching
for an explanation. Just last Friday,
Hernandez was acquitted in a sepa-
rate murder case.
"There were no conversations or
correspondence from Aaron to his
family or legal team that would have
indicated anything like this was pos-
sible," said his attorney, Jose Baez.
"Aaron was looking forward to an
opportunity for a second chance to
prove his innocence. Those who love
and care about him are heartbroken
and determined to find the truth sur-
rounding his untimely death."
Guards found Hernandez shortly
after 3 am. Yesterday at the state pris-
on in Shirley, Correction Department
spokesman Christopher Fallon said.
The former tight end was taken to a
hospital and pronounced dead about
an hour later.
Fallon said he was not aware of
any suicide note and officials had
no reason to believe Hernandez was
suicidal. Otherwise, he would have
been transferred to a mental health
unit, Fallon said.
The Worcester County district
attorney's office and the Correction
Department are investigating.
The Patriots had no immediate
comment. At the White House event
in the afternoon, President Donald
Trump congratulated the Super Bowl
champions but made no mention of
A star tight end for the Universi-
ty of Florida when it won the 2008
NCAA title, Hernandez dropped to the
fourth round of the NFL draft because
of trouble in college that included a
failed drug test and a bar fight. His
name had also come up in an inves-
tigation into a shooting.
Still, he was a productive tight end
for the Patriots for three seasons. After
catching 79 passes for 910 yards and
seven touchdowns in his second year
to help the team reach the Super Bowl.
But the Patriots released him in
2013, shortly after he was arrested in
the killing of semi-pro football player
Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister
of Hernandez's fiancee. Hernandez
was convicted and sentenced to life
Last week, Hernandez was acquit-
ted in the 2012 drive-by shootings of
two men in Boston. As the jury was
deliberating, cameras spied Her-
nandez blowing kisses to the young
daughter he fathered with fiancée
Prosecutors said he gunned the
two men down after one accidental-
ly spilled a drink on him in a night-
club. Hernandez then got a tattoo of
a handgun and the words "God For-
gives" to commemorate the crime,
according to prosecutors.
Investigators suggested Hernandez
shot Lloyd to keep him quiet about the
two earlier killings.
In the Dorchester neighbourhood
where Lloyd grew up, a family friend
of the victim wondered if Hernandez
could no longer bear the weight of his
crime and his squandered potential.
"I just think it got to him --- the
guilt," Mixson Philip said. "Each man
has to live with himself. You can put
on an act like nothing happened, but
you've got a soul. You've got a heart.
You can't say you don't think about
these things. There's no going around
Miami Dolphins centre Mike
Pouncey said on Instagram that he
spoke with his former college team-
mate a day earlier.
"Today my heart hurts as I got the
worse news I could have imagined,"
he said. "I will forever miss you and
love you bro."
Friends were also grieving in
Connecticut, where Hernandez was
"Especially after him getting ac-
quitted of the double murder. That
was a positive thing in our minds,"
said Alex Cugno, who grew up with
Hernandez in Bristol.
"I don't believe that he would have
killed himself. It just doesn't add up.
It's fishy. It makes you wonder what
really went on behind those walls in
Russians banned for doping
at Olympics, track worlds
MOSCOW---Five Russian ath-
letes have been given two-year
doping bans for offenses at the
2012 Olympics and 2013 track
and field world championships,
the All-Russian Athletics Feder-
ation said yesterday.
The five include Antonina
Krivoshapka, who won silver with
the Russian 4x400 relay team at the
Olympics, and Yevgenia Kolodko,
who was the 2012 Olympic shot put
Both had previously been stripped
of those medals by the International
Krivoshapka's ban means she is
likely to be stripped of 4x400 gold
and individual 400 bronze medals
from the 2013 world championships,
though the IAAF did not immedi-
ately confirm this.
That would elevate the US team
of Jessica Beard, Natasha Hastings,
Ashley Spencer and Francena Mc-
Corory to relay gold, with silver for
Britain and bronze for France.
The Jamaican runner Steph-
anie McPherson would inher-
it Krivoshapka's individual 400
Kolodko could lose a silver med-
al from the 2013 European indoor
There are also two-year bans for
pole vaulter Dmitry Starodubtsev,
who was fourth at the Olympics and
discus thrower Vera Ganeyeva, who
was 23rd at the Olympics. Hammer
thrower Anna Bulgakova was given a
ban for failing a retest of the sample
she gave when finishing fifth at the
The All-Russian Athletics Fed-
eration said in a statement that all
five had "voluntarily admitted a vi-
olation of anti-doping rules" after
their failed retests had come to light.
All five had tested positive for the
banned steroid turinabol, which the
former Moscow laboratory director
Grigory Rodchenkov has said he gave
to Russian athletes as part of a ster-
oid cocktail in a wide-ranging dop-
ing operation. There was no verdict
on whether he was involved in the
five cases announced yesterday. (AP)
Nadal overcomes Edmund
to reach 3rd round
pion Rafael Nadal withstood
a determined comeback from
Britain's Kyle Edmund to win
6-0, 5-7, 6-3 in the second
round of the Monte Carlo Mas-
He was joined in the third round
by top-ranked Andy Murray, who
returned from an elbow injury to
beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg
Murray, the French Open final-
ist last year, has never won here,
while the fourth-seeded Nadal is
aiming for a 10th title in Monte
He looked to be coasting until
Edmund found his range with huge
forehands. The third set was in-
tense, with three straight breaks
of serve from 2-2, until the nine-
time French Open champion drew
on his vastly superior experience
The Spaniard's relief was evi-
dent when he secured victory on
his first match point.
After Edmund patted a return
into the net, Nadal tilted his head
back and raised his arms in the air.
"He hit so strong, a lot of big
forehands from everywhere. So
well done to him," Nadal said.
"When you play against a play-
er that wants to hits every ball,
sometimes you are in his hands.
He has all the possibilities to be-
come a top player."
Nadal's next match could be
tough, too. He faces 14th-seed-
ed Alexander Zverev, the 19-year-
old German who pushed him to
five sets in the third round at this
year's Australian Open.
"He's a complete player," Nadal
said. "I need to play very well."
Nadal is looking for his first ti-
tle of the year after losing in three
finals including defeats to Roger
Federer at the Australian Open and
the Miami Open. He will not be
able to get his revenge on Feder-
er here, since the 18-time Grand
Slam champion is skipping the
tournament. Federer is playing
very little on clay before his bid
for another Wimbledon title.
The 22-year-old Edmund, who
is ranked 45th, was happy with the
way he pushed Nadal in their first
"It's good I'm able to play like
that. Lots of positives to take and
things to work on," Edmund said.
"He's arguably the best player of
all time on clay. In the beginning
I was too timid, but by the end my
shots were really flowing."
Earlier, Murray looked a bit
sluggish early on, dropping serve
in the opening game. He saved two
set points in the ninth but then
broke and held to love to move
Murray's enforced absence at
least gave him the added bonus
of spending more time with his
wife and young daughter.
Murray took the first set on Mul-
ler's serve when, having done well
to retrieve two drop shots from his
opponent, Muller missed an easy
smash at the net. He whacked his
racket against his shoe in frustra-
tion and then smashed it on the
ground, buckling it in half.
Murray dropped serve again in
the opening game of the second
set but broke straight back. He set
up a match point with an excellent
backhand cross-court winner as
he retrieved a shot deep into the
court, and clinched victory when
Muller hit a forehand wide. He
next plays 15th-seeded Albert
Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.
Former champion Stan Wawrin-
ka, who won here in 2014, broke
Czech player Jiri Vesely's serve five
times in a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win, while
ninth-seeded Tomas Berdych, the
runner-up in 2015, rallied to beat
39-year-old German Tommy Haas
3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
There were a couple of upsets
as German Jan-Lennard Struff
knocked out eighth-seeded Grigor
Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and Ar-
gentine Diego Schwartzman beat
12th-seeded Roberto Bautista
Agut 6-3, 7-6 (3).
Elsewhere, there were wins for
No 5 Marin Cilic of Croatia; No
6 Dominic Thiem of Austria; No.
11 Lucas Pouille of France; No 13
Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain;
Zverev and Ramos-Vinolas. (AP)
Former New England Patriots tight
end Aaron Hernandez turns to look
in the direction of the jury as he
reacts to his double murder
acquittal at Suffolk Superior Court
in Boston on Friday. AP PHOTO
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