AARON-HERNANDEZ

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MLB’s new media coordinator compared an Muslim NFL rookie to a murder suspect, just because he’s of Palestinian heritage

In what might be one of the more ugh-worthy stories of the week, Jonathan Mael, an employee of Major League Baseball in charge of the league’s new media program, compared Oday Aboushi, a recently-drafted New York Jets player whose parents are Palestinian and who is a Muslim, to Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots tight end who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd. (It’s only one in a series of controversial racially-tinged attacks on Aboushi, the recent subject of an attack piece on Freedom Center, a site owned by noted anti-Muslim critic David Horowitz.) When Mael’s tweet was noticed by the public, a number of critics spoke up, notably at The Nation, The Electronic Intifada and The Daily Beast. Mael is a former intern for AIPAC, a lobbying group that supports pro-Israel policies; he apologized for his comment a short while ago, but it’s unclear if he will face further discipline.

Somehow, Tim Tebow Has Been Dragged Into The Public Examining of Aaron Hernandez

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had a rough-and-tumble past littered with tough customers and a police report or two before he ever faced charges for murder. But now that Hernandez is under extreme public and police scrutiny for allegedly arranging the execution of Odin Lloyd, every last skeleton is coming out of the closet. And — heavens to Belichick! — not even Tim Tebow will be spared.

Stunning and occasionally hilarious new details emerged from an old tale of Hernandez’s time at the University of Florida on Tuesday. Before he even turned 18, Hernandez got into a fight with a bouncer. This much we knew. But there is so, so much more to the story. Monday morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hernandez, in 2007, had ordered two “alcoholic drinks” from The Swamp, a just-off-campus bar popular for its proximity to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, but he refused to pay for them once he was hit with a bill. (Maybe he didn’t know alcohol costs money. He was 17, after all, and a freshman on the football team.)

Hernandez had a friendly conversation with Michael Taphorn, the bar’s security guard and ostensible ID-checker, wherein the two failed to come to a friendly resolution over whether or not he would be paying for those drinks. Hernandez was escorted from the premises. Then this happened: 

After stepping outside, according to the report, Hernandez told police Taphorn “got in his face” and began yelling at him. As Taphorn turned to walk away, Hernandez punched him in the side of the head—a fact Hernandez did not dispute.

Yeah, the tiny tight end (ahem, 6'1", 245 pounds) sucker-punched a bouncer. But wait! This story gets even better. Not to be outdone on their own turf, The Orlando Sentinel followed up later in the day with an important detail that was (somehow) missed (and subsequently updated) by the Journal: someone rushed over to try and “resolve the dispute” between Hernandez and the bouncer, and that person was none other than Tim Tebow. Yes, the Jesus-freak and then-sophomore starting quarterback of the Gators tried to break up his teammate’s bar fight:

Well, THAT makes sense. RT @EvanWhaley pic.twitter.com/5W3vqVtVWN

— SC_DougFarrar (@SC_DougFarrar)

July 2, 2013

Looks like Hernandez isn’t the only one with skeletons:

“Tebow was concerned his name would get out into the media as having been involved in the incident.” http://t.co/PNLMhQDLzb #hernandez

— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery)

July 2, 2013

Hernandez was never formally arrested or charged in the incident, though reports were filed and felony assault charges were recommended by police. And while college football reporters will ask the appropriate questions about how Hernandez escaped the law at the time, and what role then-Florida football coach Urban Meyer played in the issue, this new story shows us the public vetting of Hernandez’s past has officially begun. Every instance of bad behavior — bar fights, failed drug tests, shootings — will be looked at for signs that the future NFL-er was had the capacity to kill a man. Everything that was overlooked will be re-examined. And Hernandez does have some things that maybe deserve another once-over. The Sentinel reported Hernandez was questioned about a shooting in 2007 while playing for Florida. On the quieter end of the spectrum, though reefer-madness idiots like ESPN’s Skip Bayless will trump it up as if it matters, Hernandez also reportedly smoked a whole lotta weed while he was in college. 

That’s what we know. If there’s more, surely, it’ll come out soon. The skeletons are rattling and the closet’s unlocked.