Aaron Hernandez and Other Celebrities Above the Law?
Maybe there's something about success that breeds ruthlessness in some. The elevation into wealth, notability and all its diamond-encrusted perks may very well turn a certain type of celebrity utterly rotten.
While some actors, athletes and musicians see their new-found celebrity as a platform to do good and branch into philanthropy, others see it as an opportunity to flaunt power, display violence and get away with murder.
R&B singer Chris Brown battered singer Rihanna, and followed that assault with a series of other incidents, including the most recent assault of a man outside of hotel in Washington, D.C., which potentially guarantees him incarceration, as he was on parole - though he may not serve a day.
Aaron Hernandez, 24, football tight end - formally of the Patriots, is a prime example of when being a celebrity acts as exoneration. Backtrack six years, Hernandez took part of a bar fight after refusing to pay his bill, and then proceeded to brawl, rupturing another man's ear drum. He received deferred prosecution.
During the summer of 2012, Hernandez was investigated in connection with a double murder in Boston. Two men were shot to death, but his involvement wasn't proven. The following summer, Hernandez was accused of shooting his friend, Alexander S. Bradley, following an altercation at a strip club, which resulted in the man losing an eye. Bradley's suit was dismissed because he filed incorrect paperwork. Also in June of 2013, Hernandez was investigated in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, another friend, who was found a mile away from Hernandez's home in an industrial park with gunshot wounds in his back and chest. Hernandez is also being investigated trafficking guns across state lines, and is facing five weapon charges atop of pending murder charges, and is currently being held at Bristol County jail without bail.
Hernandez has suffered...financially, as a result. He's potentially lost millions in salary, endorsement deals and merchandising; it's doubtful he'll lose his freedom, even if he does face life in prison.
The charges against him are slaps on the wrist, considering the accusations. Much like the mere four game suspension that the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger endured after he was accused of rape in 2012. A rap kit was administered, but there wasn't a "sufficient" amount of male DNA collected, and the incident could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
So, a question of guilt/blame arises. Would Hernandez be in his current position if someone paddled him years ago and persecuted him for smaller crimes, instead of showing him the leniency that is granted to people of influence - undoubtedly encouraging this behavior? Would celebrities be less inclined to commit violent or illegal acts if there weren't pre-existing examples of other celebrities doing similar things and getting away with it scot-free? Or only serving jail time that's a meager fragment of the time that is given to regular citizens?
Yes, there are a handful of celebrities who spent an extended period of time in prison for their actions or violations, but those individuals are the exception to the rule. The system, as a whole, works on behalf of the rich and continues to ignore or downplay the criminal activity of celebrities.
And, if the judicial system working on behalf of celebrities isn't enough, blind fanfare seems to make these people believe their innocence, even when they are not. There are celebrities who've been jailed for years, after pleading guilty, and then demand "retribution" in press releases simply because they still receive fan mail. And, there are other celebrities who call the system corrupt, when the system gave them probation after a hit-and-run.
Perhaps there's an unsaid desire that all celebrities be innocent, because they are chosen, and supported by the American audience. Our athletes, musicians and actors are supposed to be representative of our nation and our talent - and to assume that these people are guilty would be un-American.
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