Aaron Hernandez Support Ranges from Dumb to Disturbing

Stupid hats? Fine. Veiled threats in USA Today? That's just scary.

Aaron Hernandez picked up some interesting support this weekend. First, there were the pictures of his old Florida teammates, Maurkice and Mike Pouncey (currently of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins, respectively), out at a club wearing “FREE HERNANDEZ” hats. That’s just sort of dumb.

Much more chilling was the piece by Kevin Manahan in this morning’s USA TodayIt focuses on Carlos Ortiz, the Bristol, Conn., native who seems to have been riding in the car with Hernandez and Odin Lloyd at the time of the alleged murder. According to the story, now that Ortiz appears to be helping the prosecution, he may have a tough time back in his old neighborhood. Manahan writes:

So, if the case is headed where some legal experts believe and Ortiz is granted immunity to help prosecutors convict Hernandez of the execution-style murder of Odin Lloyd, Ortiz should think about staying out of the old neighborhood when and if he’s a free man again, his cousin [Jose Torres] said.

“He can come back here,” Torres said, “but if you come back to the streets where everybody thinks you’re hard but you’ve been snitching …” His voice trails off. He doesn’t want to say the words.

It’s not just that Ortiz apparently is cooperating with authorities, Torres said. He is flipping on Hernandez, the guy from Bristol who became an NFL star with a $40 million contract. Not many from Bristol made it as big as Hernandez did, and Ortiz is threatening to put him away for life. He’s violating the code.

The whole piece is worth a read, though that should give you the flavor of it. While it’s not at all shocking that the “stop snitching” culture still exists today, it’s a bit jarring to hear it talked about so brazenly in one of the nation’s biggest newspapers. How brazenly? “Everybody knows that Charlie told,” Torres said to Manahan. “He’s been labeled a rat. He’s done. He’s done. You’re going to have another breaking news (story) on TV.”