No big news Tuesday so no blog Wednesday morning. That is not the case today. The sports world was rocked with huge news yesterday that New England Patriots tight end, excuse me, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested in connection with the death of 27-year old Odin Lloyd. The Stack is here with so much more on that and the other top stories in the sports world so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Thursday, June 27:
The saga that is Aaron Hernandez
Where to begin? It all started this morning at about 8:45 AM ET when police showed up at Aaron Hernandez's house and led him out in handcuffs. To that point the police did not say what they were arresting Hernandez for.
About 90 minutes later, Aaron Hernandez, one of the best tight ends in the NFL became unemployed. The New England Patriots released the tight end calling it, "the right thing to do." Give the Patriots a ton of credit for doing what they did and as fast as they did. Hernandez is a great tight end, one of the best in the NFL today. He was such a weapon on offense for the Patriots. Teaming up with Rob Gronkowski, the dynamic duo made the Patriots offense one of, if not thee most difficult offense in the NFL to defend. But there is no defending someone who is being charged with first degree murder. Sure the Baltimore Ravens stood by Ray Lewis back in 2000, but times change and the Patriots felt this was the best course of action to take. Don't think too many people in the NFL look at what the Patriots did and say they made a bad decision. More on what the move means for the Patriots shortly.
Hernandez was arraigned in court in the afternoon and several sources familiar with the situation said to expect the worst. The obstruction of justice penalty had been thrown out there for several days, but there was nothing definitive to say that would be the charge. Based on how the days events unfolded and with what the cops did this morning, you had to think authorities had something on him. Turns out they did. Prosecutors brought the book against Hernandez, saying they have enough evidence to prove that Hernadez murdered Lloyd and as a reslt, Hernandez was charged with first degree murder. Five other gun related charges have also been brought against Hernandez. Hernandez currently sits in Bristol County jail held without bail though a hearing could be held to try and let him out with a bond posting later this week.
Plenty has been made in recent days of Hernandez's past and some of the issues he had during college. Now is not the time to look back at that. Wednesday proved that authorities will not look past as hanious a crime as murder even though it was an athlete that committed the crime. They are taking the matter very seriously as they should. A young man's life was taken from him in brutal fashion. As the case heads toward trial and in the days and weeks and months follow from now on, nobody should forget that Odin Lloyd's family will never see him again. We should not forget about Lloyd. Sadly, it is bound to happen, but we will remember that Hernandez, if convicted, murdered someone. That's sad. Hopefully justice is served.
On a far more unimportant matter in terms of the murder case, the Hernandez situation is huge to the New England Patriots and their upcoming season. With Gronk's injuries and multiples surgeries this offseason, the Patriots could be in a pretty big pickle on offense. Tom Brady is great and the team will make no excuses, but this is a devastating blow to the team and their hopes of having a successful campaing. Given what the Miami Dolphins did this offseason, they could be looked at as favorites right now to win the AFC East. Then again, we should never count against a Bill Belichick coached team. Having said that, some of the team's decisions in recent years (Albert Haynesworth, Chad Johnson, drafting Hernandez) are all adding up and making people question the decision making of this team.
Still further down on the rung on the ladder of importance is the fantasy impact that this could have on Brady and company. Fantasy drafts are coming up and Brady's stock is sure to take a hit. Given what he lost this offseason in Wes Welker (Danny Amendola is no Welker) and other moves, the Patriots offense is in real trouble. Brady now could be a third round pick in fantasy drafts, maybe even lower. However today, it shouldn't be of any concern what happens in fantasy football. The seriousness of the situation is what we should be focused on. Hernandez is in jail on first degree murder charges and young man's life was taken. There will be more to ocme in the coming days on this situation.
Top seeds upset at Wimbledon
The top tennis players are exiting quickly from tennis' third major, a site that can't be met with that much excitement to the thousands of spectators in London and to the millions watching on TV. One top seed from each the women's and men's side fell Wednesday. The first shocking upset came when Maria Sharapova, the three seed lost in straight sets to Michelle Larcher De Brito 6-3, 6-4. Sharapova just never had it going for her Wednesday. Whether she was distracted by her fued with Serena Williams or not, who knows. Have to think that it wasn't, but what else can you say when the number three player in the world loses like Sharapova did? It just wasn't meant to be for Sharapova. The two seed Victoria Azarenka also didn't advance, though hers was by walkover.
On the men's side, the second icon of the trio of tennis stars went down. Rafael Nadal lost in the first round. Roger Federer lost in four sets to Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6. Federer is getting up there in age. Have to wonder how much he has left in the tank in terms of effective tennis. Will he come back and dominate and win majors? I tend to lean towards saying no, but it wouldn't be inconceivable to see Federer win one more. He's had so much success at Wimbledon though. He's a seven-time champion at Wimbledon. An eighth title will have to wait. The six seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also lost in the second round. What is the next big upset to come? Is there one?
NBA Draft is tonight
A week after the NBA Finals concluded and the Miami Heat were crowned NBA champions, the next group of young stars hungry to be eventual NBA champions will find out where they are headed. The NBA Draft takes place tonight from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, at 7 PM ET on ESPN. The Cleveland Cavaliers own the number one overall pick in the draft, but who will they take? Most seem to think that it will be Nerlens Noel from Kentucky. Noel doesn't have a ton of size, but is very athletic. However, he is also coming off of a torn ACL he suffered against Florida earlier this year. If the Cavs really want a big man, Alex Len from Maryland may be the right guy for them. That's the other pick that other people seem to really like. The lottery picks are going to be interesting. There is so much fluxuation and the situation is very fluid. I'm not going to try to throw out a mock draft. Sorry, can't do it. But it is going to be a very interesting to see how it all unfolds.
And of course, being an alumn of South Dakota State, I am particularly interested in seeing where point guard Nate Wolters goes. I'm thinking a team like San Antonio or maybe the Los Angeles Lakers, maybe even Miami. However someplace like Cleveland is far more likely in the second round. A sleeper could be the Chicago Bulls though. Wouldn't shock me if they let Nate Robertson go get paid millions and draft Wolters to back up Rose. Highly unlikely, but it could happen. The fun all starts tonight at 7 PM ET. Can't wait.
Coming up Friday: NBA Draft thoughts plus other top sports headlines from Thursday