National Football League
Hernandez's tattoos sign of gang?
National Football League

Hernandez's tattoos sign of gang?

Published Jun. 29, 2013 1:00 a.m. ET

Before law enforcement officials can figure out where to place Aaron Hernandez in jail, they have to get a read on him. Specifically, they have to read his tattoos.

“We’ll be looking at his tattoos to see if there are any symbols that affiliate with gangs,” Bristol County (Mass.) Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said, as reported by the Boston Herald. “We have to always be vigilant around security and not place him somewhere where there are rival gang members.”

Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end charged with the murder of Odin L. Lloyd in Massachusetts, has been housed in the Dartmouth jail’s medical area while officials try to figure out what, if any, gang affiliations he has.

There is a lot of chatter about his possible gang background, including a high school photo of Hernandez throwing gang signs while dressed in Bloods red, which either shows he was a gang member back then or was being a high school kid and posing for an inappropriate photo. Once arrested, close-ups of his cuffed hands show a tattoo that reads "BLOOD," leading to more suspicion.


A gang expert who spoke to the Herald said Hernandez could well have a target tattooed on him.

“Hernandez could be a very appealing target for someone who wants to make a reputation for himself,” said Jorja Leap, adjunct professor of social welfare at UCLA. “The sheriff needs to be extra careful with someone like Hernandez.”

Looking back, an old interview with Hernandez could prove to be prophetic. Asked about some of his ink, in particular one on his forearm that reads: “If it is to be it is up to me,” Hernandez said. “Whatever I want my life to be, it’s up to me. ... The life I want to live is all in my hands.”

Meanwhile, Geraldo Rivera, appearing on FOX News Channel on Friday, picked up the gang angle on Hernandez’s alleged crime.

That, in turn, led commentator Rush Limbaugh to pick up on Rivera’s comments on his radio show. Limbaugh recalled how he once said this about the league: “The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and Crips without any weapons.”


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