If you, like me, have to binge-watch every new True Crime documentary on Netflix, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Killer Inside: The Mind Of Aron Hernandez which dropped on the streaming service in January 2020. Fascinated by the case, I dove into some more research, which then lead me to the podcast that I’d like to introduce you to this month. A Wondery production, Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. is a podcast by the Boston Globe that covers the case, as well as the connection to one of America’s favorite sports.
Hosted by sports journalist Bob Hohler, the podcast uncovers the case of a young football star with an array of dark secrets. Although convicted of one, Hernandez was accused of killing three people, all while his star on the football horizon was rising. The podcast not only explores Hernandez’s past, his troubled upbringing and his relationship with his family, it also dives into the fact that injuries acquired during his football career might have been one of the causes of his poor anger management and irrational decisions. What I particularly enjoyed is that the podcast not only offered an in-depth discussion of the case itself, it also shed light on a lot of the problematic procedures and processes from Football. There were interviews with former players, medical experts and also a refreshingly critical reflection by host Hohler himself, who shared his journey of questioning the importance and the significance of the sport in American society.
What made the podcast especially convincing for me was the usage of primary material as well as media coverage, and an insight of how members of the sport and the media experienced the case unfolding at the time. While the Netflix documentary did a great job covering the case, I think this podcast gave the extra insight and a more thorough understanding of the things going on behind the scenes, not only with Hernandez but also with how the New England Patriots operate. As someone who isn’t involved much in the National Football League it was fascinating to learn of this multi-billion dollar industry as well as its connection to such a fascinating crime case.
Whether you have watched the Netflix documentary or not, I highly recommend Gladiator because it is a well-researched, well-produced podcast. You can stream episodes on all the usual streaming services such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.