There is a fine line between sports and reality.
Nothing that happens on the field of play in any sport can truly compare to the raw emotions and real events that occur in the everyday activities of modern-day society. Still, those daily activities of the superstars in sports have repercussions on and off of the field. Just because a person has a spotlight on them, does not mean that they are above the law. What a person does (or doesn’t do) affects everyone and everything around them. The homicide charges filed against NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez has seemed to affect and capture the interest of nearly as many people as the O.J. Simpson murder trial, 20 years ago.
To a lesser extent, the fact that the New England Patriots released Hernandez 90 minutes after his early morning arrest on Wednesday, shows the short leash that this franchise had on the troubled star player. Hernandez had the confidence from his team last season, signing a five-year extension, which has consequently been wasted. The money that went to Hernandez could have been used to keep wide receiver Wes Welker. These issues, coupled with injury concerns to tight end Rob Gronkowski, have left the Patriots with more questions than answers.
Even though the Hernandez situation is much more important than anything that occurs on the field, his absence will no doubt have an effect on his team. In turn, if the Patriots are reeling, then that leaves an open spot for many other teams in the AFC. In fact, the Indianapolis Colts could find themselves benefiting from the crumbling structure of the Patriots, just as many other NFC teams benefited from the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal from last season.
For the first time in a long time, the Colts will not play the Patriots in the regular season. Still, if this scandal seems to shake the foundation of New England’s usually sturdy franchise, then the Colts might be ready to sneak up and snatch that open spot.