Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. Education & Advocacy, Investigative

Hosted By: Bob Hohler

Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. is a six-part podcast from Wondery and the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team. The podcast tells the story of Aaron Hernandez, a star NFL tight end who went from the bright lights of the Super Bowl to a convicted murderer in just a few years. Through interviews with Hernandez’s family, friends, teammates, coaches, and lawyers, the podcast explores the many factors that contributed to Hernandez’s downfall, including a brain badly damaged by football, a secret life of violence, and the culture of violence and secrecy in the NFL.

Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. Podcast Host:

Bob Hohler is a sports reporter for the Boston Globe. He was part of the Spotlight Team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its investigation of the sexual abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church. Hohler has also written extensively about Aaron Hernandez’s case.

Praise from Listeners*:

  • Social and Cultural Relevance: Beyond the individual story, Gladiator serves as a commentary on broader social and cultural issues, sparking conversations about the intersection of fame, fortune, and personal struggles.
  • Thought-Provoking Themes: Gladiator explores the impact of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) on football players and the darker side of sports culture, prompting critical discussions about these issues.
  • Emotional Depth: Gladiator delves into the emotional complexities surrounding Aaron Hernandez, painting a nuanced and empathetic portrait of the troubled athlete. It allows listeners to explore the human side of a controversial figure.

Criticisms from Listeners*:

  • Privacy and Consent Concerns: Given the sensitive nature of the events and the involvement of living individuals, some listeners question whether everyone involved in the podcast provided informed consent and if certain aspects might have been handled with more sensitivity.
  • Biased Narrative: Despite its investigative nature, some listeners and critics believe that the podcast has a biased narrative that paints Aaron Hernandez in a certain light, either overly vilifying him or sympathizing with him, rather than presenting a fully impartial perspective.
  • Neglecting CTE Impact: Though the podcast explores the impact of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) on football players, some critics argue that it could have delved even deeper into this issue, considering its potential role in Aaron Hernandez’s behavior.

* The True Crime Connection teams aims to keep this as an unbiased search database. In order to do this, we curate what people love the most and the least about a podcast by analysing ApplePodcast reviews.

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Both show and individual episode descriptions for listings on the TCC website have been submitted directly from the podcast featured or found online. We do our best to make sure all information is accurate, however; if there are any corrections to be made, please let us know here.