Biglaw, Crime, Football, Murder, O.J. Simpson, Sports

Law and Order Foxborough: Cue Music, Lights Up On The Ropes & Gray Bike Messenger

Ed. note: This post was written before this morning’s arrest warrant was issued for Aaron Hernandez on charges of obstruction of justice. If he ends up in an SUV being tailed by helicopters, again, we’ll have more Patriots jokes.

“The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

— Karl Marx

What was I doing on June 17, 1994? I don’t really know. I was fifteen years old and I can assure you that a great deal of my day revolved around sex and the fact that I wasn’t having it. At fifteen, the mere thought of a breast could send great paroxysms of excitement through me. You have to understand, dear reader, that a boy of fifteen is less a human being than a walking, talking priapic trainwreck. Add to this lovely vision the fact that the Internet did not arrive in my small Kansas town until years later and I can guarantee you that I was probably staring at a catalog of some sort. Future generations will know neither our pain nor our ingenuity, will they? Anyway, I had not meant to go all Alexander Portnoy on you in this opening paragraph, but honesty’s cost in this case is a foul peek into a hormone-addled mind. Oh, I’m sure I went outside for at least a little bit on that fateful day. Being summer and all, I might have gone to the pool. Maybe played some basketball. Perhaps hatched a scheme to score alcohol. It’s possibly I did any number of things. The only thing I can guarantee is that for most of that day, I thought about sex. And the fact that I wasn’t having it.

On June 20, 2013, a television news copter hovered high above Boston, chasing a white SUV that didn’t appear to be in much of a hurry. Inside that SUV was a man who is currently famous for playing professional football. It is unclear whether yesterday marked a sort of tipping point like it did back in 1994. When a man famous for playing professional football instead became famous for murder.

Either way, let’s talk Aaron Hernandez….


For those of you who rely exclusively on my semi-weekly sports posts for your news, let me catch you up to speed. Aaron Hernandez is a Pro Bowl tight end for the New England Patriots. This week, a dead body was found by a jogger near Hernandez’s home. Can you see where this is going yet? The dead body, belonging to a man who used to go by Odin Lloyd, has been identified by police as an “associate” of Hernandez’s. This is just a real-world example of a fate those in large law firms already know: associates always end up dead. Or, worse yet, as non-equity partners.

So anyway, these facts are indisputable. A dead guy was found near Aaron Hernandez’s house. Additional facts suggest that the dead guy was last seen riding in a car driven by Hernandez, that Hernandez destroyed his cell phone and surveillance system, that police have searched his home, that a rental car found near the body had been rented by Hernandez, and that Rob Gronkowski is now considered the conservative New England tight end. All these things may or may not be true. As always, reports tend to outpace actual facts in a sensational story such as this one. But no matter which of these facts prove true, there has been nothing exculpatory reported in the last several days. Whether officially declared by police or not, it certainly appears that Aaron Hernandez is a suspect in a homicide.

Now that we’re all caught up, let’s discuss the real bombshell that was dropped as part of this unfolding drama. On Tuesday, it was first reported that Hernandez had hired attorneys at the august Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray. This news came as an odd bit of reporting in the midst of wild speculation. To wit:

Police spent several hours Tuesday night inside the Attleborough, Mass., home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, 23, grilling the football star about a body found nearby on Monday. It’s unclear if Hernandez is suspected of committing a crime.

Hernandez was initially uncooperative, two law enforcement sources told ABC News, and during questioning, a courier for the Ropes and Gray law firm walked past reporters camped outside the residence to deliver a sealed message to “Mr. Hernandez himself.”

So Hernandez is being questioned by police when a courier (bike messenger?) blows up the detectives’ spot to give Hernandez a package.

“Sign here and… here.”

Of all the bizarre facts that have already come out about this case and of all the bizarre facts yet to come, this one fascinates me. So, since this is a website devoted to law firms and the lawyers who lawyer at them, let’s take a few seconds to speculate about what was in the box that was hand-delivered to Hernandez from his attorneys at Ropes & Gray.

My guesses, in no particular order:

1. Gwyneth Paltrow’s head.

2. An offer.

3. Ropey, the Ropes & Gray mascot.

4. Marsellus Wallace’s soul.

5. Marcel Marceau.

6. A note reading, simply, “My name is AC. You know who I am, G-d damn it. Call me!”

7. Dick?

Those are just my guesses. In the comments, feel free to hazard one of your own. Or just tell us what your favorite catalog was when you were fifteen.


The Aaron Hernandez story promises to get bigger and bigger as events, characters, and background snowball out of control. But in this prelude to significant legal machinations, another thing that stands out about Hernandez’s plight is that he is simultaneously being sued by another “associate.” A lawsuit filed this week claims that Hernandez shot a man in the face. At this point in the story, you probably want to boo. But don’t get too cocky. Here are the deets:

The federal lawsuit filed in Florida late Wednesday by 30-year-old Alexander Bradley is seeking at least $100,000 in damages. Bradley claims he and Hernandez were with a group in at Tootsie’s club in Miami when the two got into an argument. Later, as they were driving to Palm Beach County, Bradley claims Hernandez shot him with a handgun, causing him to lose his right eye.

If you’re anything like me, your first reaction to a story like this is to make a really bad porno joke three sentences before you insert a block quote. But your second reaction is to wonder how a man who gets shot in the face ends up merely filing a civil suit. Well, here’s how that happens:

Bradley did not mention Hernandez in a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office report at the time. Bradley, found shot and bleeding Feb. 13 in an alley behind a John Deere store, initially told investigators he did not know who shot him and gave only a vague description of possible assailants. A store employee found Bradley after hearing a shot outside, but the store’s video surveillance system wasn’t working.

Bleeding out behind a Palm Beach John Deere store. To die in a place that makes no sense…

So that’s Aaron Hernandez’s world, in a nutshell. He may be arrested for murder by the time this is posted. He may be exonerated. At any rate, the next few months are likely to shed light on what would have happened had the internet been in full flower back when O.J. Simpson was being tried for murder. It’s a safe bet I would have cared less about catalogs.


* We got next? Chamique Holdsclaw pleaded guilty to aggravated assault after allegedly firing rounds into her girlfriend’s car.

* University of Kansas defensive lineman Chris Martin was dismissed from the football team after being arrested for armed robbery. Kansas fans were overwhelmingly okay with this news. Because Andrew Wiggins.

* Sure to bring a nostalgic tear to Aaron Hernandez’s eye, a Florida linebacker was arrested for allegedly punching a bouncer in the head over the weekend. Where have you gone, Tim Tebow?

Home of Patriots’ Aaron Hernandez Raided by Police Investigating Apparent Murder [U.S. News and World Report]
Aaron Hernandez Update: NFL player shot man in face in Fla. earlier this year, lawsuit alleges [CBS News]

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