A Netflix docuseries dropping this week alleges that former NFL star and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was gay, and that repression of his sexuality was a key factor in his crimes.
“Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez,” which debuts on January 15, is a three-part expansion by director Geno McDermott of his 2018 documentary, “My Perfect World: The Aaron Hernandez Story.” In it, McDermott contends that the former New England Patriots tight end experienced an irreconcilable inner conflict over his sexuality, nurtured by an unstable and homophobic family background and exacerbated by a shady social life coupled with an aggressively heteronormative work environment. According to Daily Beast, Hernandez’ increasingly violent behavior was the result of this conflict.
In addition, the documentary alleges that Hernandez’ spiral into violence may have been tied to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a neurodegenerative disorder resulting from repeated head trauma. With a long history of players dying from CTE, the NFL has been accused of covering up and downplaying its significance, and the organization only acknowledged the connection between CTE and football in 2016. A postmortem examination revealed that Hernandez’ brain had been more damaged by CTE than any 27-year-old to date.
McDermott ultimately implies, through extensive trial and news footage, recorded conversations, and interviews with subjects like Dennis SanSoucie (Hernandez’ high school quarterback with whom he allegedly had a sexual relationship) and former Patriots offensive tackle Ryan O’Callaghan (who was closeted throughout his own NFL career), that the NFL was at least partly complicit in Hernandez’ downfall, and therefore in his crimes as well.
In 2015, Hernandez was convicted for the murder of Odin Lloyd, who was the boyfriend of his then-fiancée’s sister. Sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole, he was also tried in a 2012 shooting of two men over a spilled drink. He was acquitted of those murders in 2017; but days later, he was found hanging from bedsheets in his prison cell. The death was officially ruled a suicide.
You can watch a the trailer for “Killer Inside” below.