BOSTON (CBS) — Whenever Aaron Hernandez got himself into any trouble — in high school, in college and as a professional athlete — he always managed to escape any real consequences.
In prison, though, life was very different.
“He talked openly and bragged to guards, ‘I’m going to run this place and this place is nothing,'” Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel shared on Toucher & Rich on Wednesday. “It’s clear, he was not running anything. His life was as miserable in prison as you would expect and perhaps want it to be for this guy. This was not the movies where he was cutting up garlic slices and getting fast food delivered or anything like that. Prisoners were fighting him, he was a target, they were trying to extort him for money, they were putting pressure on him. He was stressed out, he was both arguing all the time with guards and then seeking out their friendship, I think, because they were a little bit more of a peer group.”
Citing nearly 300 pages of recently released documents of Hernandez’s incident reports and information, Wetzel shared some of the more surprising portions.
Included in those stories was Hernandez’s efforts to befriend the guards, which got him in a bit of trouble. Wetzel speculated that Hernandez simply had more in common with the prison guards than the average fellow inmate.
“Aaron was a high-functioning guy. He went to college for three years. He survived with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and thrived. He could handle a lot of that. And I think he was just seeking guys to hang out and just chat about normal things with, not just straight prison,” Wetzel said. “I found that — it was a very minor offense, but a really interesting one. It’s like, why was he so interested in talking to the guards in his one hour outside of the cell each day?”
Wetzel — who wrote a column after reading the information — also shared some of Hernandez’s history of having “vicious fights” in prison. Hernandez attacked one inmate who was handcuffed, a fight which drew media attention. But he also described more.
“These were vicious fights. One, they had guards trying to pull him and and another inmate apart, and they had to mace them, basically, to get them to stop fighting,” Wetzel said. “There’s another weird or interesting scene where he gets in a fight and he goes back to his cell, and a guard comes in and sees him, and he’s kind of sitting on the bed, his hands are all red from punching somebody, he’s got some marks on him, and he’s kind of breathing heavy and is just sort of despondent that he had to get in this fight. I just think that … if you read it all, the picture I got was not somebody who was doing well with this at all. He was surviving, but it was pretty miserable.
“He was clearly a target for people to fight. He didn’t walk in and [have] everyone go, ‘Hey, that’s Aaron Hernandez. Don’t mess with him.’ It was like, ‘Let’s go see if we can take Aaron Hernandez.'”
Regarding the claims from fellow inmate Kyle Kennedy that he and Hernandez were lovers, Wetzel cautioned not to outright believe anything that a prisoner says.
“One thing, you can’t really take Kyle Kennedy’s word for anything, or any inmate’s word for anything. They’re all convicted felons. There’s a reason they’re there,” Wetzel said. “So you’ve got to take anything any of these people say with a grain of salt. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, it just also could not be true.”
Wetzel said there could have been a number of reasons why Hernandez requested specific cellmates.
Overall, the picture painted of Hernandez’s life in prison was one of misery.
“Life absolutely stunk for Aaron Hernandez — again, as it should when you’re in prison,” Wetzel said. “But he’s sitting there going, ‘I have 50 more years of this?'”
Wetzel also noted that Hernandez greatly enjoyed attending his trials, as he was able to wear a suit, leave his cell, and see people who weren’t felons.
“I think when that ended, it was very depressing for him. Whether he won or lost, it was just like, ‘It’s never going to be this good again, and I’m 27 years old, I’ve been in for four years, and I’m not getting out until I die.’ You’re looking at 50 or 60 years. I think there are multiple motivations on why someone [requests a specific cellmate], we have no idea, maybe his brother can tell us some day, maybe not, but I think that’s a huge factor that some people just aren’t looking at. It’s like, ‘I just want to get out of this situation.'”
Wetzel added: “It was just a lonely existence. There were other inmates who said he would just keep to himself and try to be spiritual; that’s not the Aaron Hernandez who lived on the outside. This is a very active and outgoing guy. I’m sure you guys saw him in the locker room. He’s just a very gregarious guy. He’s not someone who’s just going to sit by himself all day. He was not a quiet person; he was a very loud person. He’s a larger-than-life, command-the-room personality. And now you have all these prisoners saying, ‘I never talked to him. He just sat by himself in his room and prayed.'”
Wetzel noted that there were more than 100 incidents on Hernandez’s record between the two prisons where he was incarcerated.
“Some of them, he would just get angry with the guards because they would come in and mess up his room looking for stuff, or strip searches. Just demeaning stuff, particularly for a guy who lived such a high life. And there was this one time where they mistakenly delivered him his canteen order, and he got these 24 honey buns and he knows they’re going to come and say, ‘You’re not allowed to have the honey buns because you’re on discipline.’ And he sat there and ate 20 straight honey buns. He tried to eat the whole order. And they finally come and he goes, ‘See, I’m smart, I knew you were coming for it, and I ate it.’ And it’s like, I mean, what an absolute nut of a scene that must have been. I mean, how do you eat 20 straight honey buns? And then he was like, ‘Can I have the last four? I’m so hungry. You guys don’t feed me here.'”
Clearly, as Wetzel put it, “this guy was miserable. I mean, you’re miserable if you’re just stuffing honey bun after honey bun — prison-grade honey bun. That’s all he had. … It was a miserable experience.”
Listen to the interview below: