The Aaron Hernandez case was "only a matter of time," writes Jason Whitlock on Fox Sports. The former NFL tight end, accused of orchestrating a murder, is the natural byproduct of a society that glamorizes gangsters and the drug and prison culture. We used to idolize Joe Montana, Babe Ruth, and Muhammad Ali. Now we idolize Tony Soprano and Jay-Z. "Hernandez saw his athletic gifts as a platform to represent where he was from, not where he hoped to go," Whitlock writes. "He repped the 860. He kept it real. He stayed true to his boyz from the 'hood. He mimicked the mindset of the pop-culture icons we celebrate today."
Today's athletes "covet the rebellious and marketable gangster persona," so they tote guns and do drugs. Hernandez is not accused of a crime of passion, but one of simple, volatile street violence. Athletes of the past had no need to get street cred; they were already on top of the world. Now, though, they're flocking to a sports agency run by none other than Jay-Z—"an unrepentant, flamboyant former drug dealer [who] has the White House, President Obama-stamped seal of approval." Click for Whitlock's full column. (Read more Aaron Hernandez stories.)