The tragic tale of Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end who died by suicide while serving a life sentence for murder is the subject of a new Boston Globe podcast. It is called Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez & Football, Inc.
The podcast is an unprecedented six-episode deep-dive that is the result of work by the Spotlight investigative team, a special branch of journalists within the Boston Globe who are best known for their work uncovering child sex-abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. They came to prominence after the Academy Award-winning movie 'Spotlight.'
The podcast has been hugely praised in America. Joanna Weiss of Experience Magazine described it as "really powerful." Tom Fielder of the Boston University praised the trove of material and said: "I wouldn't be surprised to see a movie come out of this" while Dan Lothian of CNN explained that the podcast audience was "eating it up."
— Shanel Pratap (@shanelpratap) November 20, 2018
StudyBreaks praised the podcast's pacing and use of sources.
Their ability to condense such a wide web of information into a cohesive reflection is astounding. There is not a moment in the podcast where the subject matter feels stagnant. Because there are so many aspects of Hernandez’s situation to speculate on, “Gladiator” is swift-paced and therefore remains enticing throughout.
While it starts as a narrative arch fixated on the life of Hernandez, the podcast soon veers into grand, difficult themes such as sexuality, child abuse and the physical toll of football on young American brains. It accesses prison phone call recordings allowing the listener to hear from Hernandez himself whilst also utilising interviews with his family and former colleagues.
The podcast demands no prior knowledge of the subject as host Bob Hohler charts each controversy in detail. Yet its competency is not in giving the listener the prevailing view but several different ones. There is no extensive conclusion or windup because the implications of the controversy still reside in America's game and society.
The meticulousness of the team's research makes it a comprehensive and compelling show that leaves you with more questions than answers. In the end, it was revealed that the former All-American had the most severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy ever discovered in a person his age, an issue the sport continues to grapple with.
It is well worth your time and available here or on various podcast platforms.