Legal Process Halts Coverage of Aaron Hernandez

BY STEVE KUBITZA

Aaron Hernandez was charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd on June 26 of this year. He had been connected to the murder since June 18th, but it took that amount of time for him to be formally arrested and charged.

From the moment he was first attached to the murder up until his arrest, one could not turn on ESPN or go on any sporting news web sites without seeing headlines about Aaron Hernandez. This is not a complaint, as it was certainly a major news story, but rather an acknowledgement of the story’s significance. 

After his arrest, it was a daily topic of conversation on sports talk shows and news programs. The talk first surrounded his alleged involvement, but once evidence began to surface it focused on his troubled past. 

The talk has died down recently, with the only mention of his case being the legal process itself, such as the prosecutor and judge involved. The latest news had to do with the prosecutor asking the judge to recuse herself, which does not mean for sports fans.

This is not a call for more Hernandez coverage, as it is indeed monotonous to watch legal proceedings that are not even the trial when sports coverage is the desired viewing material.

The issue is that the legal process itself does not allow for proper coverage for an event with such magnitude. It is easily the biggest legal-based story of any athlete since the OJ Simpson trial back in 1994. 

The legal process creates a major gap in time between the arrest itself and a trial. The trial will not take place for months, and by then people may have forgotten that it was set to take place in the first place. 

Once the trial begins it will be a major news story, but his situation is still of major significance in the current moment, and it is not being talked about in such a way. That is not the fault of the media, as there is little to talk about, but it further points out how the legal system in this country is extremely delayed in its proceedings.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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