I just don't get it.
When the New England Patriots announced they would be accepting trade-ins on all Aaron Hernandez jerseys, I thought that was a classy thing to do. I mean, who would want to wear his jersey in public ever again? For that matter, in private, too?
Apparently a lot of people.
Aaron Hernandez gear is selling out online. Those who can't make it to Patriots headquarters this weekend are unloading their No. 81 Patriots jerseys on eBay (http://bit.ly/13sH7cQ) for more than what they paid for it. In some cases, a lot more.
Did I miss something? He is charged with murder, right?
RELATED STORY: Hernandez pleads not guilty to murder, gun charges (http://bit.ly/aaronhernandez)
Don't give me this innocent-until-proven-guilty line either. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" does not come into play when you are walking around in public with a jersey on. When you wear someone's jersey, you are showing approval of that player.
The team he played for couldn't distance itself from him fast enough. The college coach that recruited him (Urban Meyer) doesn't want to even talk about him. Yet you are proud to wear the jersey of a man accused of murder?
So far, only one killing, but, wait, there allegedly could be two more. He's quite the guy.
When you wear a jersey, you reveal a little about yourself. What kind of person wears an Aaron Hernandez jersey in public? I thought the only people who would ever wear a Patriots No. 81 would be someone who, somehow, some way, relates to a person who takes a "friend" to an industrial park and puts a bullet in his head. Allegedly.
Perhaps the best quality you can come up with for a person who would wear an Aaron Hernandez jersey is that they are an attention seeker. They are all about "Hey, look at me."
Oh, we're looking at you all right and we're thinking, "What a piece of human garbage you are."
One of these scenarios is likely to play out at some point this football season. You are at a sports bar, and someone walks in and sits near you with a Patriots No. 81 jersey on. You are attending the Patriots-Dolphins game in Miami or the Pats-Buccaneers game in Tampa this year, and right in front of you is some yahoo wearing a Hernandez jersey loud and proud. Better yet, when a group of you are meeting up to go to the game, much to your shock, one of your buddies is the person who is wearing the No. 81.
How many misguided teens will show up at school next month with a Hernandez jersey on?
What are you going to do?
What are any of us going to do?
I'd like to think the NFL might ban any and all fans who wear a Hernandez jersey from its stadiums.
I'd like to think that every owner/manager of every sports bar would not allow a customer wearing a Pats No. 81 jersey into their place.
I'd like to think that when the driver sees their "buddy" come out of the house wearing Hernandez gear, they'd drive off and leave him at the curb.
I hope every principal sends every one of those kids back to where they came from.
No one is taking away anyone's rights by doing any of this. In fact, these people admire Aaron Hernandez so much we should make them feel just what he's feeling today.
(Contact David Moulton at firstname.lastname@example.org.)